State of Conservation (SOC)
Okapi Wildlife Reserve (1997)
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:3,000USD
|1993||Preparatory assistance for the Okapi Wildlife Natural Reserve||3,000 USD|
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Current conservation issues
The Bureau, at its last session in June 1997, learnt with concern that the military conflict which spread throughout the eastern region of this country led to looting of the facilities in this site and the killing of several elephants. Fortunately the staff and the captive Okapis have escaped unharmed. Only a small number of staff have opted to remain in the site; they have no equipment and receive minimal salaries paid by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other international conservation agencies. Gold mining within the Reserve has been reported and the new Government's policy with regard to respecting the current boundary of the site remains unclear. IUCN has recommended setting aside US$ 50,000 as emergency assistance for the Okapi Faunal Reserve for purchase of equipment, to be undertaken as soon as security conditions permit.
Analysis and Conclusion
Link to the decision
VII.33 Okapi Faunal Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
At its last session in June 1997, the Bureau, noted that equipment and facilities in this site had been looted and wildlife poached. Fortunately, the staff in this site did not suffer any harm although they had not been receiving any salaries. The Bureau was informed by IUCN that recently a US-based conservation foundation has come forward with financial assistance to pay staff salaries. There are reports of illegal gold mining in the Park occupied by the militia, and the staff have neither facilities nor resources to manage the Park.
VII.34 Kahuzi Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
The Committee recalled the fact that this site has been significantly impacted by the influx of refugees. There are reports of a large presence of militia groups and illegal settlers in the Park which has led to fires, increased poaching, illegal removal and burning of timber. IUCN informed the Bureau at its twenty-first session that it has received several pleas from the staff of the Park for international aid for rebuilding Park infrastructure and staff morale. The Bureau noted that IUCN's monitoring report on this site included fifteen measures for implementation in and around the Park and eight actions for co-operation among international conservation organisations, which together could form a basis for the future rehabilitation of the Park.
In the light of the serious threats to the integrity of these two sites of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which have arisen as a consequence of armed conflict in the eastern parts of the country, the Bureau, at its twenty-first session in June 1997, recommended that the Committee include both Okapi and Kahuzi Biega in the List of World Heritage in Danger and requested UNESCO to undertake a high-level mission to the country. The Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has invited a high-level UNESCO mission to his country. UNESCO is intending to field such a mission as soon as the security conditions permit.
Furthermore, the Minister has submitted an emergency assistance request to the consideration of the Committee for purchasing one field vehicle for each of the four endangered sites of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: i.e. the Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Kahuzi Biega National Park and the other two sites of Virunga and Garamba National Parks, already included by the Committee in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee noted that IUCN's Regional Office for Central Africa is also planning site visits in 1998.
Preoccupied by the serious threats and dangers affecting these sites and the urgent measures required, the Committee included both Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Kahuzi Biega National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger, and invited the Director-General of UNESCO to write to the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, calling for his direct intervention to enable UNESCO to undertake the proposed high-level mission and plan rehabilitation measures for all World Heritage sites in Danger. The Committee requested UNESCO to field a mission, and invited the Chairperson to lead it, to the capital city of Kinshasa for meetings with the high-level authorities, even if visits to sites are deemed impossible due to the prevailing security situation in the eastern parts of the country. The Committee took note of the emergency assistance requests by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (see Section International Assistance of this Report) and requested the Centre to cooperate with international NGOs in rehabilitating the endangered World Heritage sites of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Link to the decision
VIII.4 The Committee examined the state of conservation reports contained in Working Document WHC-97/CONF.208/8BRev and decided to include the following natural properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Okapi Faunal Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park (Central African Republic)
The Bureau may wish to transmit the reports on Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Kahuzi Biega National Park to the Committee for examination and recommend the following for adoption:
"The Committee decides to include both Okapi Faunal Reserve and the Kahuzi Biega National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger and urges the Director-General of UNESCO to field the high-level mission to Kinshasa as soon as possible. The Committee set aside a sum of US$ 50,000 as emergency assistance for Okapi Faunal Reserve to enable the purchase of essential equipment as soon as security conditions allow safe transfer."
Democratic Republic of the Congo
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Inscription on the Danger ListYear: 1997
Threats to the Site:
The Committee inscribed the Okapi Wildlife Reserve on the List of World Heritage in Danger, one year after giving it World Heritage status, due to reports that the armed conflict, which spread to the eastern parts of the country in early 1997, had led to the looting of facilities and the killing of elephants in this site. Most of the staff have fled the Reserve. There have also been reports of gold mining.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).