Committee Decisions

29 COM 7A.4

World Heritage Properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29COM/7A and the Draft Decision 29COM 7A.4.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15A.3 adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Reiterates its serious concern about the continuing threats to the five World Heritage properties in DRC, especially encroachment and extraction of natural resources, including mining, poaching and ivory trafficking by armed groups, inter alia, elements of the regular army, the national police and former rebel, elements of the regular army, the national police and former rebel troops that are awaiting demobilization or integration into the national army;

4. Expresses its utmost concern about the continued poaching in the Garamba National Park, that will lead to the imminent extinction of the northern white rhino in the wild and jeopardize the outstanding universal value for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List;

5. Commends the DRC management authority, the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and especially its dedicated field staff, UNESCO and its partners in the project “Biodiversity Conservation in Regions of Armed Conflict”, as well as other organizations cooperating with ICCN, for their on-going efforts to protect the integrity and the World Heritage values of the five properties;

6. Thanks the World Heritage Centre for the organization of the international conference on the conservation of the DRC World Heritage properties in September 2004 and the Governments of Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the United States of America, the European Union, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Foundation for their support announced for the conservation of the DRC World Heritage properties, announced at such international conference;

7. Urges the State Party of the Democratic Republic of Congo to respect the clear commitment it made during the international conference on the conservation of the DRC World Heritage properties, and which was followed by the installation of an inter-ministerial follow up committee under the presidency of the Vice President;

8. Also urges the State Party to implement immediately the measures announced at the international conference to guarantee the integrity of the properties, in particular the evacuation of all armed troops from the properties;

9. Further urges the multilateral donor agencies and bilateral donor governments to honour their commitments, towards the conservation of the DRC World Heritage properties, pledged at the international conference;

10. Strongly urges the State Party to authorize the translocation of a limited number of specimens of northern white rhino to an appropriate safe location, as recommended by the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group;

11. Requests the cooperation of the State Party of Sudan to ensure, in accordance with Art. 6.3 of the Convention, that the State Party does its best to prevent transborder poaching activities and that no action will be taken that threatens the value or integrity of a property located on the territory of another States Party to the Convention;

12. Invites the Director-General of UNESCO to contact the President of DRC to express his serious concern over the situation in Garamba National Park and to contact the Government of Sudan to seek its cooperation in addressing the poaching threat originating from its territory;

13. Also invites the Director-General of UNESCO to use his good offices to sensitize all the parties concerned about the real risk to the outstanding universal value of Garamba National Park and to engage such parties in a dialogue leading to avoid the loss of such value;

14. Strongly urges the State Party to take all necessary measures to guarantee the in-situ conservation of the northern white rhino and to secure the Garamba conservation of the northern white rhino and to secure the Garamba National Park, in particular by reinforcing the guard staff with an army brigade, as announced by the Government, and by providing the necessary financial support and equipment for the ICCN anti-poaching operations;

15. Regrets that the monitoring missions to Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Virunga National Park, Okapi Wildlife Reserve and Garamba National Park could not take place due to the security situation in the region and reiterates its request for the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to undertake these joint missions as soon as the security situation allows;

16. Requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2006 an updated report on the state of conservation of the properties, the status of the northern white rhino in the Garamba National Park, mitigation measures taken to prevent its extinction and progress made in securing the integrity of the DRC World Heritage properties for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

17. Decides to retain the Garamba, Salonga, Kahuzi Biega and Virunga National Parks and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

18. Considers that, if by 1 February 2006 the presence of the northern white rhino in the Garamba National Park has not been established, the property is no longer of outstanding universal value and the Committee will consider deleting it from the World Heritage List.