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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7A.6
Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 137)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 7A.48, 43 COM 7A.8, 44 COM 7A.43 and 44 COM 7A.46 adopted at its 42nd (Bahrain, 2018), 43rd (Baku, 2019) and extended 44th (Fuzhou/online, 2021) sessions respectively,
  3. Deplores the continued violence and further loss of life of protected area staff killed in the line of duty, and offers its most sincere condolences to their families and to all the staff of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN);
  4. Welcomes the continued improvement in the security situation and that the ongoing collaboration between the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN), the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and local population and authorities has resulted in the removal of the majority of armed groups operating within and in the vicinity of the property;
  5. Notes with significant concern the new and continuing allegations of serious human rights violations towards indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) linked to law enforcement operations and also takes note of the findings of the “Commission of Inquiry into alleged violations by ICCN staff at Kahuzi-Biega National Park” set up by the State Party to investigate the raised issues;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement all the recommendations of the report of the Commission of Inquiry, as well as any additional measures necessary to further ensure all conservation activities fully respect human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including by, but not limited to, establishing a national code of conduct for eco-guards and an effective and transparent grievance mechanism for human rights abuses, and by training all law enforcement staff on human rights issues, as well as ensuring an equitably governed consultative process with participation and decision making of all rightsholders and stakeholders, consistent with relevant international norms and the Policy on the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into World Heritage Processes(2015);
  7. Welcomes the reported progress on the implementation of the 2019 Bukavu Dialogue recommendations, and urges the State Party to accelerate the continued implementation of the Dialogue recommendations in full consultation with all relevant stakeholders;
  8. Notes with appreciation the continued progress towards achieving the corrective measures for the property including maintaining patrol coverage of the property and addressing artisanal mining and poaching, and requests the State Party to expeditiously implement all corrective measures as updated by the 2017 mission;
  9. Recalling its concern regarding the increased pressure of encroachment on the property, notes with appreciation that a rehabilitation plan for the ecological corridor has been developed and requests the State Party to submit further details of the plan, and to ensure its implementation takes into consideration any impacts of encroachment on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and actions required to ensure the recovery and regeneration of natural vegetation, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders;
  10. Recalling the importance of wildlife to the OUV of the property, remains concerned about the low populations of key wildlife species, in particular the population of Grauer’s gorilla, compared to the time of inscription and reiterates its requests to the State Party to submit the results of the 2018 or more recent wildlife inventory to the World Heritage Centre, and to finalize, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, indicators for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) based on the draft proposed by the 2017 mission and on the wildlife data;
  11. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, 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 46th session;
  12. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  13. Also decides to retain Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Context of Decision