Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 63)
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7A,
2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7A.4, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),
3. Expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the three guards killed during protection operations at the property since its previous session;
4. Welcomes the efforts of the management authority, following the improvement of the security situation, to re-start law enforcement activities in priority areas, rehabilitate and re-occupy the different park stations as well as the actions taken to start addressing the illegal charcoal production in the park;
5. Acknowledges the steps taken by the State Party, which lead to an increased population of gorillas in the park and the resuming of tourism;
6. Expresses its deep concern with regard to the reported increasing involvement of elements of the Congolese army in the illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the property, in particular poaching, illegal fisheries and charcoal production, and urges the State Party to take the necessary action to address this issue;
7. Reiterates its concern with regard to the envisaged oil prospecting projects overlapping the property, recalls its position regarding the incompatibility of oil exploration and exploitation in respect of World Heritage status, and also urges the State Party not to authorize any project of prospection or oil exploitation.
8. Takes note of the important challenges which remain to allow for the restoration of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and further urges the national and regional authorities to provide the necessary support to the management authority to address these challenges;
9. Requests the State Party to continue to implement the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee following the 2006 monitoring mission and the 2007 reinforced monitoring mission and calls upon the donor community to continue its financial support for these actions;
10. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures, for the establishment of a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, updating the necessary corrective measures and the timetable for their implementation;
11. Proposes that the High Level Meeting be held as soon as possible with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
12. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including information on proposed oil exploration and exploitation projects overlapping the property, on the reduction of military positions inside the property, on appropriate measures taken to facilitate the relocation of occupants to appropriate zones, and on the status of flagship species in the property as well as progress accomplished in the implementation of the corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;
13. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism to the property;
14. Also decides to maintain Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.