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World Heritage Convention

Decision 33 COM 7A.4
Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 63)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7A.4, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the guards killed during protection operations at the property as well as its support for the guards and families who have lost homes following the attack and occupation of the Rumangabo Station in October 2008;

4. Regrets the breakdown in security that continues to hamper the implementation of conservation activities and threatens the Outstanding Universal Value of the property but expresses the hope that the new cooperation between the Congolese and Rwandan Governments will result in the restoration of security in and around the property;

5. Urges the State Party, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization Mission for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), to reinforce its efforts to disarm all the armed groups, national and foreign, operating in and around the property;

6. Expresses its deep concern with regard to the envisaged oil prospecting projects overlapping the property and also urges the State Party to exclude them from territory of the property;

7. Reiterates its position regarding the incompatibility of oil exploration and exploitation with the World Heritage status; 

8. Also regrets that the State Party has not yet undertaken the necessary measures to relocate, beyond the boundaries of the property, the training and reunification camp of the army based at Nyaleke; 

9. Reiterates its request to the State Party to implement the corrective measures adopted by the World Heritage Committee following the 2006 monitoring mission and the 2007 reinforced monitoring mission;

10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to develop in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies a draft statement of Outstanding Universal Value as well as a proposal for the desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the list of World Heritage in Danger for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;

11. Encourages the State Party's park management authority and other agencies to continue and strengthen their work to provide alternative energy sources as a way to alleviate deforestation pressures and calls on the international community to support these activities;

12. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including information on the progress of oil exploration and exploitation projects  overlapping the property, an update on the disarmament of armed groups within the park, and information on the situation of flagship species of the property, the extent of encroachment and deforestation in the region, the degree of poaching, as well as progress accomplished in the implementation of the corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;

13. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforce Monitoring Mechanism for one more year;

14. Also decides to retain Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Code
33 COM 7A.4
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2009 Virunga National Park
Final Decisions of the 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee (Seville, 2009)
Context of Decision