Note: the following report on the World Heritage properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) needs to be read in conjunction with Item 52.
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.8, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
- Expresses its relief as regards the liberation of the agents of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) taken hostage by an armed group and commends the courage of the field staff of the property who exercise their functions under extremely difficult conditions and often at the risk of their lives;
- Also expresses its utmost concern as to the persistent insecurity prevailing in a large part of the lowlands and the decrease in surveillance coverage of the property over the period under consideration;
- Notes with satisfaction the recruitment and training of new guards and the infrastructures established to strengthen surveillance and encourages the State Party, when security permits, to deploy personnel to all the sectors of the property to ensure an effective surveillance;
- Warmly welcomes the identification, together with the South-Kivu Provincial Consultative Forestry Committee, of illegal farms installed in the ecological corridor, and requests the State Party to accelerate the cancellation process of the land titles in order to evacuate the illegal occupants, which is crucial in guaranteeing the ecological continuity between the lowlands and highlands of the property, and to submit to the World Heritage Centre the maps and all relevant information to evaluate the impact of the encroachment on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
- Urges the State Party to continue with the implementation of the corrective measures, as updated during the 2017 mission;
- Regrets that the security problems have delayed the global census of the property, which was begun in 2014, and reiterates that the results of these studies are crucial for the evaluation of the OUV of the property;
- Also requests the State Party to develop, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, indicators for the draft Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as soon as the final results of the wildlife inventory are available;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019;
- Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism;
- Also decides to retain Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.