1.         Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 137)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1980

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1997-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Benchmarks have yet to be set. Discussions are underway with the State Party.

Corrective measures identified

Following corrective measures were recommended by the 2006 UNESCO mission and approved by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006):

a) Develop a strategy to evacuate all armed groups from the property. The strategy will also need to take into account the closing of all illegal mining operations inside the property;

b) Substantially strengthen the presence of the Park authority (ICCN) guards in the lowland sector of the Park;

c) Reclaim as soon as the security situation allows the farms in the ecologically important corridor between the lowland and highland and delimitate it;

d) Strengthen the cooperation between ICCN and its partners by developing a joint planning for all interventions in the Park;

e) Conduct as soon as the security situation allows a survey of flagship species present in the lowland sector of the Park, in particular gorilla and other primates;

f) Strengthen the law enforcement in the property, thereby gradually increasing the amount of the Park that is covered by guard patrols;

g) Establish a trust fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties.

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 119,270
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: First phase of the UNF and Belgium funded programme for the Conservation of the DRC World Heritage properties (“DRC programme”). (2001–2005): approximately USD 300,000 for staff allowances, equipment, community conservation, monitoring and training activities. Current phase (2005-2008): USD 300,000 for the implementation of the emergency action plan with funding from Belgium complemented by funding for the inventory and monitoring component by UNF.

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO missions in 1996 and 2006. Several UNESCO missions in the framework of the project. 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Armed conflict, insecurity and political instability;

b) Poaching by military and armed groups;

c) Encroachment in particular in the corridor between high- and lowland;

d) Illegal mining and deforestation.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

On 12 February 2007, a succinct report of the state of conservation of the five DRC World Heritage properties was submitted by the State Party. The report provides a short overview of on-going park management activities, but unfortunately does not provide detailed information on the implementation of the corrective measures.

During the 2006 monitoring mission, an emergency action plan was developed by ICCN and its conservation partners to support the implementation of certain recommendations of the mission. A 3 year budget of USD 300,000 is made available through the second phase of DRC programme. The objective is to extend the management and surveillance of the property towards the low altitude sector and the corridor between lowland and highland. Main activities are sensitisation of local communities in the target areas, political and military authorities, an inventory of large mammals and flagship species, efforts to strengthen law enforcement and surveillance through the materialisation of park limits, guard training and equipment and developing a collaboration with the local communities through the establishment of local conservation committees and the development of micro-projects.

The main obstacle for the implementation of the corrective measures and the emergency action plan remains the prevailing insecurity in the region. Rwandese militias, Mai-mai rebels and uncontrolled units of the Congolese army (FARDC) continue to be present in the park and the adjacent villages. In 2006, both the lowland stations of Nzovu and Itebero and the Madirhiri patrol post in the highland have been attacked by Rwandese militiamen and dissident factions of the FARDC, resulting in several casualties and one guard killed.

As explained in the Virunga report, the implementation of the corrective measures has been hampered by the organisation of the first multiparty elections in DRC. So far, following progress could be noted:

a) Develop a strategy to evacuate all armed groups from the property

The development of such a strategy will need to involve both political and military authorities. With the new government at national and provincial level only in place recently, no systematic strategy could be developed as yet. An important element will be how the new government decides to deal with the continued presence of Rwandese militia in the region. Their evacuation seems an important condition to restore security in the region and secure the park. In the mean time, some progress was made in controlling some of the dissident FARDC factions. However the presence of armed groups remains the major obstacle for the management of the park.

b) Substantially strengthen the presence of ICCN Park guards in the lowland sector of the Park. Strengthen the law enforcement in the property, thereby gradually increasing the amount of the Park that is covered by guard patrols.

All three park stations in the lowland sector (Itebero, Nzovu and Lulingu) are now manned by ICCN guards, and mixed patrols are being organised, in cooperation with the FARDC and in some cases even with Rwandese militia. Whilst the (re-)opening of the park stations is extremely positive, the possibilities of the stationed guards to patrol the areas remains limited as result of the insecurity. It will also be important to accompany the reinstallation of park staff in these areas with the development of community conservation committees and accompanying measures to install a climate of trust with the local people.

c) Reclaim the farms occupying the corridor and materialise the limits of the corridor.

To achieve this, strong support from the political authorities, in particular at provincial level will be needed. It will be extremely important for ICCN and its partners to sensitise the new provincial government for this issue. So far, ICCN already organised several patrols in the corridor and started sensitising the local communities and developing some community conservation activities. The development of a strong cooperation with the local communities is a prerequisite to successfully deal with this difficult question.

d) Strengthen the cooperation between ICCN and its partners by developing a joint planning for all interventions in the Park, with clear responsibilities and benchmarks;

Through the local Site Coordination Committees (CoCoSi), ICCN and its conservation partners are establishing joint operational plans for all activities in the park. MOUs to define the role of each partner are also being developed.

e) Conduct as soon as the security situation allows a survey of flagship species present in the lowland sector of the Park, in particular gorilla and other primates;

In the framework of the DRC programme, a survey is currently implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). A preliminary and cursory exploration of the lowland was completed in December 2006. The presence of gorillas and chimpanzees was confirmed in the two areas visited, but no signs of elephants were seen. Despite the persistent pockets of insecurity, it is hoped that a full survey can be completed during the coming months.

f) Establish a trust fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties.

See report Virunga National Park.

So far no benchmarks or timeframe were established. UNESCO in cooperation with IUCN is currently discussing with ICCN the development of benchmarks. It is currently proposed that benchmarks will be developed at a workshop at the park by the end of 2007, at the time of the evaluation of the emergency action plan.

In addition two other major developments with potentially important impacts on the park need to be mentioned here.

A UNESCO mission in October 2006 was informed that the service of the Ministry of Mines responsible for the mapping of mining concessions published a new map of attributed exploration and exploitation concessions. The maps showed several concessions inside the protected areas, including exploitation concessions in Kahuzi-Biega (PNKB) and Okapi Wildlife Reserve and a prospecting concession in Virunga National Park. After consultations with UNESCO, ICCN sent a letter in protest to the Minister of Mines on 6 November 2006 with a detailed file of explanations prepared with the assistance of the DRC programme. On 1 December, the Minister of Mines instructed the mapping office to verify the information presented by ICCN and amend the maps if necessary. A mixed technical working group was set up which is currently studying the issue.

The mission was also informed that the European Union in the framework of a multi-donor road rehabilitation programme, was planning the rehabilitation of the RN3 Kisangani-Bukavu. This road is crossing the highland sector of the park. It needs to be recalled that already in 1990, the rehabilitation of the road was underway with support from the German development bank (KfW) and that the planned rehabilitation of the stretch going through the park led to major discussions. An Environmental Impact study done by IUCN at the time recommended that the road be re-routed around the northern boundaries of the park. This issue was discussed by the World Heritage Committee at its 15th session (Carthage, 1991). However, with the start of the war, the road rehabilitation was never completed. For the current project, the EU contracted GTZ for a technical and socio-economical and environmental impact study, which was conducted in February/March 2007. As soon as the report of this study is available, it will be transmitted to UNESCO and IUCN.

In relation to the mobilisation of funding, Germany is planning to support conservation activities in PNKB through a five year support programme for ICCN funded by the German development bank (KfW). The PNKB component has a budget of 3 Million Euros.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7A.32

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having evaluated the state of conservation reports of the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) presented in Documents WHC-07/31.COM/7A and WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add,

2. Calls upon the Director-General of UNESCO and the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee to convene a meeting with the DRC authorities, together with representatives of the African Union and appropriate sub-regional organizations and the President of IUCN, to discuss progress in addressing the deteriorating state of conservation of the DRC World Heritage properties with the assistance of the World Heritage Fund. In this context, the future role of the UN for preserving the natural and cultural World Heritage properties and Biosphere Reserves of the DRC will be reviewed , including the future role of UNESCO in the "One UN" exercise in the DRC;

3. Requests that a comprehensive approach for all the DRC properties in Danger be adopted by the State Party to take the necessary corrective measures, supported by a phased programme, with the active assistance of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

4. Calls upon the international community to support the above mentioned initiative;

5. Decides to recommend the application of the reinforced monitoring mechanism subject to the procedures in Document WHC-07/31.COM/5.2 and Decision 31 COM 5.2 in monitoring the state of conservation of the 5 properties in DRC to assist the State Party in achieving these goals.

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7A.5

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.6, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),
  3. Expresses its sincerest condolences to the families of guards who were killed during operations related to the protection of the property;
  4. Regrets that the continuing insecurity in particular in the lowland sector continues to hamper conservation activities, including the implementation of the corrective measures set by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);
  5. Urges the State Party, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization Mission in DRC (MONUC), to urgently take measures to disarm and evacuate the armed groups present in and around the park, in particular of the Rwandese militia and uncontrolled units of the DRC army (FARDC);
  6. Notes that some progress was made in the implementation of the corrective measures, in particular the re-installation of park staff in the lowland sector, the organization of mixed patrols with the army and the start of survey work on key animals in the lowland;
  7. Requests the State Party and the protected area agency ICCN to implement as soon as possible the corrective measures, in close cooperation with the local communities around the park;
  8. Notes the draft report on the Environmental Impact Assessment undertaken for the planned rehabilitation of the RN3, which documents the potential direct impacts of the road crossing the property on the gorilla populations with a significant increase in the traffic as well as other potential indirect impacts on the property, in particular increased deforestation, bush meat trafficking and illegal mineral exploitation in the property;
  9. Recommends that the stretch of road crossing the property will only be rehabilitated as a local road and that the rehabilitation programme includes a continual monitoring component to determine the effect of the road on gorilla populations, habitat and their behaviour as well as other measures to limit the indirect impacts mentioned above;
  10. Also urges the State Party and the European Union to include in the final report clear recommendations on the measures proposed to limit the indirect impacts on the property as well as a detailed evaluation of expected increase in traffic volume and set clear indicators as to what traffic volume should trigger the construction of an alternative route which avoids crossing the property;
  11. Expresses its concern about the map produced by the Ministry of Mines, showing that mining concessions were granted inside the property, calls on the holders of any concessions to respect international standards with respect to mining in World Heritage properties, as outlined in the International Council on Mining and Metals Position Statement on Mining and Protected Areas (2003), and also urges the State Party to immediately revoke any concessions that might have been granted, as mining operations are incompatible with the World Heritage status of the property;
  12. Also requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property, including the conditions of integrity, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
  13. Further requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a draft statement of the desired state of conservation for the property based on its Outstanding Universal Value;
  14. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2008 on the state of conservation of the property, including an update on the road rehabilitation project and the issue of the mining concessions and on progress with the implementation of the corrective measures set by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
  15. Decides to retain Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1.Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-07/31.COM/7A and WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.3),

2.Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: