UNESCO supports the protection of key species and lives of local communities in Garamba National Park
In recent decades, Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, has been a major target for poachers greedy for ivory and bushmeat. In response to these threats, UNESCO contributed to the management efforts undertaken in the Park by strengthening the ecological monitoring of key wild species (elephants and giraffes) and by contributing to the development of income-generating activities aimed at empowering neighboring communities.
With funding from the Norwegian government, UNESCO supported the teams of African Parks, a non-governmental organization in charge of managing the Park as part of a partnership with the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) , placing satellite collars on 15 elephants. These collars are essential for tracking elephant movements on a daily basis, spotting unusual behavior and protecting them from poaching.
To ensure the protection of the exceptional biodiversity of the Park, it is also essential to involve local communities in preservation efforts by promoting their role and improving their living conditions. Funding from the Norwegian government has made it possible to organize visits and fun environmental education sessions focused on the protection of biodiversity for nearly 700 children from surrounding primary schools for visits to the Park.
Mobile clinics have also been organized to provide free care and medicine to nearly 6,000 villagers who live in areas far from health centers. Thanks to the presence of these clinics, many cases of malaria have been detected and treated. In addition, these clinics were an opportunity to carry out information and awareness sessions on environmental conservation and protection, hygiene, prevention of malaria and COVID-19.
Finally, several training sessions on the legislative and judicial system as well as on the challenges of nature conservation in the DRC and in the Garamba National Park in particular, were organized for local administrative, customary and judicial authorities. In total, a thousand people were trained on the Congolese law for the conservation of nature and its challenges.
The Garamba National Park, created in 1938, is one of the oldest in Africa. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980 and on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 1996. The Park, located in the northeast of the DRC, covers an area of 5,133 km2. It is made up of immense savannahs, grassy or wooded, interspersed with gallery forests along the rivers and marshy depressions, and is home to large mammals such as the elephant, the giraffe and the hippopotamus.