Committee Decisions

30 COM 7A.7

Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 63)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7A.4, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the State Party, in particular the Park authority ICCN and its conservation partners for the efforts to improve the state of conservation of the property;

4. Urges the State Party to implement immediately the following recommendations of the UNESCO monitoring mission which could constitute possible benchmarks in order to safeguard the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property, and in the interest of conservation:

a) Establish a "Committee to Save Virunga" (CSV), comprised of ICCN and its conservation partners and representatives of the provincial authorities, the regular army, the United Nations Organization's Mission to the DRC (MONUC) and the agencies of the United Nations present in Goma, which will help address the threats to the property;

b) Reduce significantly the number of military positions inside the property, in particular in the central sector and ensure a close follow up at the level of CSV on cases of illegal activity by military personnel;

c) Immediate closure and removal of the Nyaleke army reunification and training camp, as decided by the Minister of Defence;

d) Continue the efforts to evacuate in a peaceful and integrated way all illegal occupants in the property, accompanied by appropriate measures to assist the reintegration of the populations in their regions of origin;

e) Strengthen cooperation between ICCN and its partners by developing a joint plan for all interventions in the Park, with clear responsibilities and an implementation plan;

f) Develop a strategy to share any profits, such as from tourism related to gorillas, with the local communities, in order to improve relations;

g) Strengthen law enforcement in the property, concentrating on priority areas, in particular where the illegal occupants were evacuated and by organizing joint missions with MONUC and the army. At the same time, it is also important to reinvigorate Park staff and improve their efficiency through specialized training;

h) Establish a trust fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties, to which the Government of the DRC committed to contribute at the 2004 UNESCO conference on Heritage in Danger in DRC;

5. Requests MONUC to continue and strengthen its cooperation with ICCN and its conservation partners for the conservation of the property;

6. Further requests the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), other UN agencies and humanitarian organisations working in the region, as well as donor agencies, to support the planned peaceful evacuation of the illegal occupants in the property, in particular in Kirolirwe with the necessary accompanying measures;

7. Calls on international donors to support the efforts of the State Party for the conservation of the property;

8. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property and progress with the implementation of recommendations of the UNESCO monitoring mission, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007 ;

9. Decides to retain Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Documents
PDF Original Decision Document
Context of Decision
PDF WHC-06/30.COM/7A
Themes: Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
Focal Point: AFR
Properties: Virunga National Park
Session: 30COM