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World Heritage Convention

Decision 40 COM 7A.42
General Decision on the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/7A and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.9, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015) and reiterating the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
  3. Addresses its most sincere condolences to the families of the guards and soldiers killed during operations to protect the properties, and expresses its deep concern about the persistent in secure situation in most of the properties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC);
  4. Warmly welcomes the creation of the Corps established to strengthen security in the DRC National Parks (CorPPN) which demonstrates the commitment of the State Party to implement the Kinshasa Declaration, and requests the State Party to rapidly provide it with the human and financial resources to enable the deployment of troops in the sites;
  5. Commends the State Party for its efforts to secure sustainable funding, and warmly thanks the donors for their substantial support to the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  6. Notes with satisfaction United Nations Security Council Resolution 2277 of 30 March 2016 adopted during the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), which commits the DRC Government to continue its actions to preserve the protected natural areas and which allows MONUSCO to encourage the consolidation of an effective national civil structure that controls the main mining activities and manages in an equitable manner the extraction, transportation and trade of natural resources in the eastern DRC;
  7. Reiterates its utmost concern about the new Hydrocarbons Code which provides the possibility to declassify protected areas, including World Heritage properties, to conduct oil exploration and exploitation activities, and about the intention of the State Party to officially address the World Heritage Centre to request an Advisory Body mission to discuss the oil issue in the property;
  8. Reiterates with insistence its request to the State Party to ensure the maintenance of the protection status of World Heritage properties and to cancel any such concessions for oil exploration and mining exploration or exploitation encroaching on one of the five properties, and reiterates its position that oil and gas exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the commitments made by industry leaders such as Shell and Total not to undertake such activities within World Heritage properties ;
  9. Recalls that the modifications to the boundaries of World Heritage properties that are related to the extractive industries must follow the procedure for significant modifications of the boundaries in accordance with paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, taking into account the potential impact of such projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  10. Regrets that, despite several inter-ministerial meetings, no progress has been noted on the issue of mining concessions overlapping protected areas and urges the State Party to take the necessary steps to cancel all licenses granted for mining activities which encroach on the properties, in accordance with the law in force;
  11. Commends the progress made by the State Party to conduct complete inventories at several sites, also notes with significant concern the results of ecological inventories, notably of Kahuzi-Biega and Garamba National Parks, which show significant decline of flagship species of these properties, and also urges the State Party to continue these efforts to protect the properties, to implement corrective measures and combat heavy poaching of iconic species, which remains the major threat to the OUV of the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  12. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, a detailed report on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, on the security situation in the properties, on the status of the mining exploration and exploitation concessions encroaching on the World Heritage properties, and on the Hydrocarbons Code, for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Report of the Decisions adopted during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016)
Context of Decision