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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7A.44
Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 280)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.10 adopted at its 43rd session, Baku, 2019),
  3. Takes note of the conclusion of the 2020 joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission, in particular the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures and the significant progress made towards the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) since the establishment of a functional co-management system for the property;
  4. Takes note of the clarification provided by the State Party that although the oil concessions awarded by presidential ordinance and straddling the property have not yet been cancelled, the rights to the oil blocks have now lapsed, as well as the assurance given that these blocks will be excluded from any tender, and reiterates its request to permanently cancel these oil concessions, while not authorizing new concessions within the property and its periphery which could have negative and irreversible impacts on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  5. Decides to no longer apply the reinforced monitoring mechanism for the property due to the progress made in the implementation of the corrective measures and the improvement of the security situation;
  6. Noting the clarification provided by the State Party on oil exploration or exploitation within the property, the significant progress towards the formalisation of the Co-management Agreement between the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the significant progress towards the achievement of all DSOCR indicators, also decides to remove Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  7. Takes note with concern of the reports of alleged human rights violations against local communities during law enforcement operations and calls upon the State Party to take urgent action to strengthen its efforts to resolve this issue in accordance with relevant international standards and the World Heritage Sustainable Development Policy, taking into account the results of the Independent Review and Decision 44 COM 7A.46;
  8. Further requests the State Party to implement the recommendations of the 2020 mission, as follows:
    1. Pursue current efforts and strengthen the human, technical and financial capacities dedicated to the fight against poaching, both in terms of staff and their training with a view to reaching a surveillance rate of 80% of the property,
    2. Increase the efforts undertaken with a view to a stronger involvement of communities in decision-making processes and raise their awareness of the fight against environmental crime,
    3. Finalize a framework for the peaceful management of conflicts with village communities, based on a successful mechanism for managing complaints and appeals to the co-managers of the property and including the establishment of precise protocols for community intervention,
    4. Prioritize finalizing the creation of an operational forestry continuum with a view to ensuring ecological functionalities between the two blocks of the property,
    5. Strengthen the fight against poaching linked to local corruption and public services,
    6. Improve the collection, management and processing of information and data obtained during surveillance operations, and stabilize the indicators used in this instance,
    7. Extend the sampling base for the annual monitoring of species in the corridor separating the two blocks which constitutes a favourable habitat for most of them, in particular the flagship species, the Congolese elephant, bonobo and peacock in order to document the follow-up of the reconstitution of fauna,
    8. Pursue current efforts to minimize the impacts of human activities on the outskirts of the property (e.g. fishing, itinerant slash-and-burn agriculture), on its OUV and on its integrity,
    9. Establish, as a priority, a sustainable development model adapted to the expectations of the communities residing in the periphery of the property, compatible with its environmental sensitivity,
    10. Pursue and accelerate the current process aimed at best preparing the relocation of families / communities established in the property, in accordance with the principal of prior, freely given and informed consent (PCPLC),
    11. Submit the findings of the ongoing study on the relocation of families / communities to the Committee, as soon as they are available, for opinion and comments,
    12. Finalise the Co-management Agreement between ICCN and WWF for the sustainable management of the property;
  9. Commends the State Party for improving the collaboration between the management team, the local communities and the political, administrative and military authorities, with a view to effective management of conflicts related to the use of natural resources and encourages it to:
    1. Pursue its efforts to empower communities,
    2. Undertake participatory finalization of the demarcation of the non-natural boundaries of the Park, of which 120 kilometres have already been demarcated, and the process of creating an ecological continuum between the two sectors of the Park by proposing a classification status and a simple management plan for this area,
    3. Ensure that the displacement of communities living within the Park is in accordance with the policies of the Convention and relevant international standards;
  10. Thanks all the donors who continue to support the conservation of the property, in particular the Governments of Germany and Norway, and the European Union through its funding to the World Heritage Fund, providing financial support for improving the state of conservation of the property;
  11. Also takes note of the limited funding aimed at ensuring in a sustainable manner the implementation of all the management functions of the property and further requests the State Party, with the support of its partners, to continue its efforts with a view to develop a sustainable financing system with a view to the improvement of the efficiency in the management of the property;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, an updated report on the implementation of the above, including the progress made aiming for the definitive cancellation of oil concessions straddling the property and the formalisation of the Co-management Agreement between ICCN and WWF, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session.
Decision Code
44 COM 7A.44
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Salonga National Park
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision