VII. 10 Virunga National Park (Zaire)
The Committee recalled that Virunga National Park was included on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the last session of the World Heritage Committee in December 1994, due to the tragic events in Rwanda and the subsequent massive influx of refugees from that country. It noted that the site is seriously threatened by the uncontrolled arrival of refugees, causing deforestation and poaching at the site.
The Committee took note of the reports provided both by the Secretariat and IUCN, as well as the responses received by the Ministry for the Environment of Zaire on the concerns raised by the Bureau at its nineteenth session. The Committee also took note that the European Union, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) and UNHCR are currently carrying out projects mainly to strengthen the management of the site.
The Committee, taking into account the presence of thousands of refugees in and adjacent to Virunga, expressed its serious concerns about the continuing degradation of the Park and decided to retain the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee requested the Centre to support the work of IGCP and other organizations and asked both the Centre and IUCN to continue to liaise with various donors and agencies. It requested the Centre to organize a mission to the site and asked that a report be provided to the twentieth session of the World Heritage Bureau.