Committee Decisions

38 COM 7A.42

General Decision on the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7A.9, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013) and reaffirming the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
  3. Notes that the security situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has improved since the last session but that it still remains unstable and commends the courage of the staff of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and its efforts to protect the World Heritage properties;
  4. Urges the State Party to guarantee the implementation of the commitments undertaken in the Kinshasa Declaration and to ensure the execution of the Strategic Plan of Action and requests the State Party to approve the decree to officialise the creation of an inter-ministerial committee and allocate the necessary technical and financial means to ensure adequate monitoring in the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration;
  5. Reiterates its utmost concern as regards the Hydrocarbons Code that could make possible oil exploitation activities in protected areas and also urges the State Party to ensure that the protection status of the World Heritage properties be maintained;
  6. Also requests the State Party to review the mining and oil exploration and exploitation titles to exclude the World Heritage properties and not to grant further titles within the boundaries of the properties of the DRC and recalls its position that mining and oil exploration is incompatible with World Heritage status;
  7. Congratulates the TOTAL Company for its commitment not to carry out oil or gas exploration and exploitation activities in properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, a principle to which the Shell Company has already subscribed;
  8. Takes note of the press statement of SOCO not to undertake or commission any exploratory or other drilling within Virunga National Park unless UNESCO and the DRC Government agree that such activities are not incompatible with its World Heritage status, not to conduct any operations in any other World Heritage site and to ensure that any current or future operations in buffer zones adjacent to World Heritage sites do not jeopardize the Outstanding Universal Value for which these sites are listed;
  9. Warmly welcomes the support of donor countries in the conservation of the five DRC properties, and calls on the international community to continue to provide support in the implementation of the corrective measures and the Strategic Action Plan to create the necessary conditions for the rehabilitation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the five DRC properties;
  10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, the situation regarding mining and oil exploration and exploitation titles that encroach World Heritage properties, and the Hydrocarbons Code, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.