1.         Garamba National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 136)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1980

Criteria  (vii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1984-1992, 1996-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1980-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 248,270
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: The property received substantial support through the United Nations Foundation and Belgium funded programme for the Conservation of the DRC World Heritage properties. In the first phase (2001–2005), approximately USD 600,000 was disbursed for staff allowances, equipment, community conservation, monitoring and training activities. Under the second phase (2005-2008) a substantial contribution is planned towards the emergency action plan (USD 300,000) and community conservation activities (USD 300,000) with funding from the Government of Italy.

Previous monitoring missions

No monitoring mission but several UNESCO missions in the framework of the UNF project.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Armed conflict and political instability ;

b) Poaching by local and Sudanese poachers ;

c) Inadequate management capacity. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

On 30 January 2006, an updated report on the State of Conservation of the five DRC World Heritage properties was submitted by the State Party, including information on the Garamba National Park.

At the 29th session (Durban, 2005), the World Heritage Centre gave an update on the situation in the Garamba National Park since the preparation of the working document. It confirmed that the Government had notified the Centre by letter dated 27 April, 2005 that it could not allow the translocation of part of the remaining population of Northern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) but announced the sending of an army brigade to help secure the property. The World Heritage Centre also reported that end of March 2005, all conservation NGO supporting Garamba National Park suspended their operations due to rising tensions in the region related to the proposed translocation and that the International Rhino Foundation announced halting their support to the conservation of the property.

Following the decision made by the Committee at its 29th session on the possible delisting of the property if the presence of the Northern White Rhino could not be confirmed by 1 February 2006, the World Heritage Centre in September 2005 send a mission to Kinshasa to notify the DRC authorities of this decision and to urge them to take urgent measures to secure the property, improve its management and save the Northern White Rhino from extinction. The mission met with Vice President Z’Ahidi Ngoma in the presence of the Deputy Permanent Delegate of DRC to UNESCO, the Director of Cabinet of the President, Mr. Kitundu, the Minister for Environment, Mr Anselme Enerunga and the newly appointed Director-General and senior staff of the protected area authority ICCN. Following this mission, the Government and ICCN concluded an agreement with Africa Parks Foundation (APF) to entrust the management of the property for a period of 5 years to the Foundation. APF is a Dutch foundation, which has a mission to manage protected areas in Africa, at the request of governments, in a public-private partnership and based on a business approach. The agreement defines the objective of the partnership between APF and ICCN as the rehabilitation of the Garamba National Park, a World Heritage site in danger, and the 3 adjacent hunting areas”. APF commenced operations in the Park in November 2005 and announced they were mobilizing substantial financial resources for the Park from a number of donors, including the European Union, the World Bank and the German Development Bank.

In January 2006, the security situation in and around the property deteriorated, as rebels from the Uganda Lord Resistance Army (LRA) infiltrated the Azande Hunting Area (DCAz) to the east of the Park. On 23 January, 8 Peacekeepers of MONUC (United Nations Organization Mission in DRC) were killed and 5 wounded in a clash with LRA rebels in DCAz), close to the border of the Park.

A comprehensive aerial survey of key mammal species in the property, particular northern white rhino, elephants and Congolese giraffe, was conducted from 16 to 31 March 2006 by ICCN, APF and the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, in close collaboration with the World Heritage Centre.

The UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission conducted to the property took place 30 March – April 7, 2006 including a 4 day field visit to the property. Preliminary results of the survey were studied and discussed with staff of ICCN, APF and AfRSG. During the survey, the presence of northern white rhino in the property was confirmed, but only 2 animals (1 male and 1 female) were sighted during the survey. The presence of rhino in the hunting area Gangala na Bodio (DCGnB), where rhino signs were reported at several occasions, could not be confirmed. However, no recent rhino carcasses (less that 1 year old) were found. Given the difficulty of viewing rhinos, especially in the densely wooded hunting area, it remains possible that certain animals were not sighted during the survey, and therefore there may be one or more additional animals surviving. According to the specialists of the AfRSG, there is a chance of recovery provided rhinos can be protected; although it must be recognized that the lower the number of animals actually surviving, the lower the chances of recovery being successful in the long run. The fact that some animals might have been missed by the survey was confirmed later, since on 23 April, the Centre and IUCN received information from APF that a third rhino (male) was sighted close to the Gangala Park station. Further surveys are required to clarify the exact number of rhinos within the Park.

The survey further counted 3839 elephants (Loxodonta africana), 8145 buffalo (Syncerus caffer), 2292 hippopothamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) and 70 Congolese giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis congoensis) inside the property and DCGnB. Whilst these figures show a net decline compared to the estimates based on a 2004 census, they are more positive than the results of the August 2005 aerial count and than was expected. It is also very important to note that during the 2006 survey no active poaching camps could be observed in the southern sector of the Park and only 3 recent elephant carcasses (less than 1 year old) were counted. This is a clear indication that poaching is currently under control and that the situation is improving. The mission was able to confirm this extremely positive development during its field visit. The mission recognised the importance of the agreement ICCN concluded with APF to stop the further degradation of the values of the property and the very important progress achieved in the conservation of the property since November 2005. Conservation activities have been strengthened, important investments have been made in infrastructure and equipment and a new anti-poaching strategy was introduced, consisting of the deployment of 4 well trained guard sections inside the vital rhino area under the command of an anti-poaching expert. Close cooperation has also been developed with the DRC army brigade that was sent by the government in July 2005 to assist in securing the Park following its refusal of the translocation. Nevertheless, the instability in the region, together with the presence of the LRA in DCAz, the on-going infiltration of armed groups from Sudan, the presence of well organized poachers in the area and the wide distribution of war graded weapons within the local population underline the critical situation faced by the Park and the essential need to further strengthen anti-poaching efforts within the Park.

With regard to the possible delisting of the property from the World Heritage List, the mission considers that further efforts are needed to clarify if a viable population of northern white rhino is still present in the property and adjacent hunting areas. In particular, it is necessary to undertake a detailed ground reconnaissance of DCGnB and to repeat the aerial survey of the property to evaluate the presence of other individuals in the Park before April 2007. Once the final results are available, it is recommended that ICCN and APF organise a workshop to discuss management options for the remaining population, inviting all relevant stakeholders, including the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and AfRSG. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN therefore recommend the 30th session of the World Heritage Committee defer any decision on the possible delisting of Garamba National Park from the World Heritage List until its 31st session in 2007. At the same time, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the property protects important populations of other key mammal species including African elephants and the endemic Congolese giraffe, which are explicitly mentioned in the nomination file. It is also important to note that together with Manovo Gounda St. Floris National Park in Central African Republic, Garamba National Park is probably the last important stronghold of a number of species or sub-species characteristic of the soudano-guinean ecoregion.

The UNESCO/IUCN mission felt that given the state of conservation of the property, the instability in the region and the rapidly changing situation in the field, it was unlikely that the property could be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger in the foreseeable future and therefore it was currently impossible to define benchmarks that will clearly lead to this removal. However the mission developed recommendations to the State Party which can be used by the Committee as benchmarks to support the efforts of the State Party to further improve the state of conservation of the property. These recommendations are included into the proposed draft Decision.

The mission also took note of the increased presence of United Nations Organisation Mission to DRC (MONUC) in the region. Whilst this can be extremely beneficial for the Park, it noted that cooperation between MONUC and Park authorities is insufficient and should be improved. The mission also noted that the region of the Park is extremely isolated and that very limited humanitarian assistance or development activities are taking place. There is therefore a need to request donor agencies to increase their investment in the region, not only for conservation activities but also by supporting development programmes that can help alleviate the extreme poverty of local communities.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7A.4

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7A.4, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Commends the State Party for having taken urgent measures to improve the state of conservation of the property and the in-situ conservation of the northern white rhino, in particular the conclusion of an agreement with African Parks Foundation for the management of the property;

4. Notes that the property still faces major threats, particularly as a result of armed insurgency in and around the Park;

5. Requests ICCN and APF, in cooperation with the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG), to conduct the necessary research to establish the viability of the remaining population of the Northern White Rhino in the property before 30 April 2007 and to organize a workshop on the management options for the population, involving all relevant stakeholders, including the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

6. Urges the State Party to implement immediately the recommendations of the UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission which could constitute possible benchmarks in order to safeguard the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property, and in the interest of conservation:

a) Ensure the protection of the border between DRC and Sudan within and adjacent to the property;

b) Improve the efficiency of the military brigade posted around the property to secure the Park and adjacent hunting areas by replacing the current brigade by a brigade that went through the reunification and retraining programme and by ensuring they are adequately equipped ;

c) Ensure that the ICCN guard force is properly equipped and, in particular, has adequate arms and ammunition;

d) Undertake in cooperation with the United Nations Organization Mission to DRC (MONUC) a disarmament campaign within the communities living around the property whilst at the same time improving the security situation in the region;

e) Reinforce cooperation with the Government of Sudan to better control incursions of armed groups into DRC and the property;

f) Continue and strengthen anti-poaching efforts, in particular in the southern sector of the Park where the presence of northern white rhino was confirmed by the 2006 survey;

g) Strengthen efforts to improve relations with the local communities surrounding the Park, particularly through developing and implementing a community conservation programme;

h) Take urgent measures to reinforce and reinvigorate the Garamba guard force;

i) Reinstate detailed monitoring of the rhino population in the property through a specialized monitoring team, building on the know-how available in ICCN and AfRSG;

j) Establish a trust fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties, to which the Government of the DRC committed to contribute at the 2004 UNESCO conference on Heritage in Danger in DRC;

7. Requests the Director General of UNESCO to ask the United Nations Organization Mission in DRC (MONUC) to increase its cooperation with ICCN and APF for the conservation of the property;

8. Requests also the World Heritage Centre to start as soon as possible the implementation of its projects to support the emergency action plan of the property and to set up a community conservation programme for the property as planned in the second phase of its DRC World Heritage biodiversity programme with funding of the Government of Italy;

9. Recommends the Director General of UNESCO to facilitate a high level meeting between the State Party and the Government of Sudan, to discuss the persistent problem of transborder poaching and resource exploitation in the region;

10. Further recommends the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to contact the CITES Secretariat, in order to investigate the trading networks and countries of destination of the rhino horn and ivory poached in Garamba National Park and other DRC World Heritage properties;

11. Calls on international donors to support the efforts of the State Party in order to conserve the property and save the Northern White Rhino from extinction, to promote the development of the concerned region so as to alleviate the extreme poverty of the local communities;

12. Urges the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report before 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property and progress with the implementation of recommendations of the UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007;

13. Decides to retain Garamba National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-06/30.COM/7A and WHC-06/30.COM/7A.Add.Rev),

2. Maintains the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

   • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 30 COM 7A.22)

   • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, (Decision 30 COM 7A.23)

   • Azerbaijan, Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Decision 30 COM 7A.29

   • Benin, Royal Palaces of Abomey (Decision 30 COM 7A.16)

   • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.1)

   • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 30 COM 7A.31)

   • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.2)

   • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.3)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.8)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.6)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Virunga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.7)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Garamba National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.4)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Salonga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.5)

   • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 30 COM 7A.19)

   • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.9)

   • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.15)

   • India, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Decision 30 COM 7A.13)

   • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 30 COM 7A.25)

   • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 30 COM 7A.20)

   • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 30 COM 7A.34)

   • Nepal, Kathmandu Valley (Decision 30 COM 7A.26)

   • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 30 COM 7A.10)

   • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 30 COM 7A.27)

   • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 30 COM 7A.32)

   • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 30 COM 7A.28)

   • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 28 COM 7A.17)

   • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.14)

   • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 30 COM 7A.33)

   • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 30 COM 7A.21)