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Virunga National Park

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Civil unrest
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Oil and gas
  • War
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Armed conflict, lack of security and political instability
  • Attribution of a petroleum exploration permit inside the property
  • Poaching by the army and armed groups
  • Encroachment
  • Extension of illegal fishing areas
  • Deforestation, charcoal production and cattle grazing
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Increased poaching of wildlife
  • Incapability of staff to patrol the 650 km long boundary of the Park
  • Massive influx of 1 million refugees occupying adjacent parts of the Park
  • Widespread depletion of forests in the lowlands.
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

Total amount granted: USD 1,731,000 from the United Nations Foundation and the Governments of: Italy, Belgium and Spain, and the French-speaking Community of Belgium as well as the Rapid Response Facility (RRF).

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 10 (from 1980-2005)
Total amount approved : 253,560 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 16 February 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/63/documents/ (pages 33 – 44). The report notes the following points:

  • It is recalled that the oil company SOCO announced in June 2014 that it would stop its activities in Virunga National Park unless the Congolese Government and UNESCO agree that these activities can be compatible with its World Heritage Status. No confirmation is provided on whether the Congolese Government has cancelled the oil exploration licenses covering the property, as was requested by the Committee;
  • Security in the site has been improving, following several military operations against rebel groups and efforts to demobilize rebel forces. Nevertheless, security remains problematic especially in the northern and central areas of the property where military operations are still underway. The total number of rebel groups operating in the property diminished from 13 to 8. As part of a new stabilization plan, 600 soldiers of the Congolese Army have been removed from the site, and a new contingent of 280 soldiers is placed under the command of the park authorities for joint operations. 107 new guards were recruited and trained, bringing the total number to 480. Consequently, the number of ranger patrols was increased by 54%, resulting in 75% of the site now covered by patrols;
  • Elephant poaching has diminished, with 13 cases recorded in 2014 compared to 25 in 2013;
  • Some progress was made on the critical issue of encroachment, with close to 50 km2 evacuated at Ndwali. It is planned to re-launch the process of peaceful evacuations this year;
  • Deforestation for charcoal production is a continued problem, involving mostly Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, which continue to occupy large areas on the western borders of the park. The park is continuing its efforts to provide alternatives through the Virunga Alliance, mainly through the development of hydropower on the rivers originating from the site, which is thought to potentially be an important factor to jumpstart development in the areas neighboring the park, which are characterized by high levels of poverty.
  • The Management Plan of the Park was validated and approved by the General Directorate of ICCN.

Further details on the implementation of the corrective measures are available in the report.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

While noting the commitment by SOCO, it needs to be pointed out that the company made it at a time when its seismic exploration activities in the property were being finalized. According to a statement of the company, it is expected that the results will be available by mid-2015. However, the main concern is that so far, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has not cancelled the oil exploration permits granted within the property, as requested by the World Heritage Committee. On 8 January 2015, the Delegation Heads of the European Union, World Bank, UNESCO and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ambassadors of Germany and Canada sent a joint letter to the Prime Minister expressing concern that the oil exploration permits covering the property have not yet been cancelled, recalling the commitments made by the State Party in the Kinshasa Declaration. In his reply, the Prime Minister pointed out that no decision has been made on authorizing oil exploitation in the park and that in the event DRC would want to go forward with oil exploitation, it would seek a minor boundary modification, citing the case of Selous Game Reserve (Tanzania). It should be recalled that the Committee approved the boundary modification of Selous Game Reserve in an “exceptional and unique” manner (Decision 36 COM 8B.43). UNESCO replied to the Prime Minister, in April 2015, to explain that the situation of both properties are not comparable, and recalled that in both cases the process of significant modifications of boundaries should be applied. 

It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its established position that oil exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the commitments made by industry leaders such as Shell and Total not to undertake such activities within World Heritage properties.  Furthermore, modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties that are related to extractive industry should be dealt with through the procedure for significant modifications of boundaries, in accordance with Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines given the potential impact of such projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The Committee is also recommended to recall that the Statement of OUV of the property refers on several occasions to the importance of Lake Edward and its floodplains and therefore removing this area from the property would significantly affect its OUV.

The improved security situation in the property reported by the State Party is noted, although at least 8 armed groups are still operating within its boundaries and military operations are continuing to affect parts of the property. It is especially encouraging that patrol coverage has increased to 75% of the park, and that park staff are now in control of all remaining important areas for large mammals in the property. Indicators show improving trends for gorillas and hippopotamus, and stabilization of the number of elephants.

It is hoped that these positive developments will expedite the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the Committee. In particular, it is hoped that progress can be made in addressing the crucial issue of encroachment. The 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission estimated the total encroachment at 8 to 9% of the surface of the park. Many areas have been occupied for more than 10 years now and it will become more and more complicated to evacuate them. It is therefore crucial that the improvement of security is used as an opportunity to re-launch the dialogue with the communities and to proceed with the evacuation process. It is important that the provincial and national authorities fully support this process.

It is recommended that the Committee express its encouragement to the work of the Virunga Alliance, which aims to support sustainable economic development around the park and that it encourages private, bilateral and multilateral donors to support this initiative.

It is also recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism.

General Decision on the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Current conservation issues

On 17 February 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the implementation of Decision 38 COM 7A.42, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/documents/ (pages 7– 9). The report notes the following progress in the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration:

  • In August 2014, the National Superior Defence Council, chaired by the President of the Republic, announced that instructions were given to reinforce security in the protected areas of the country and to strengthen the capacity of the park guards with assistance from the army;
  • In November 2014, the Vice Prime Minister reiterated the commitment of the Government to implement the Declaration;
  • A special anti-poaching brigade is being created in order to assist in protecting national parks. The Presidential Decree underway will formalize its creation;
  • The cooperation with the army has been greatly improved;
  • Efforts are underway to ensure that the mining cadastre includes updated information on the location of protected areas in order to ensure that there is no overlap between concessions and protected areas;
  • The Interministerial Committee has not yet been officially established, but several interministerial meetings were held to discuss issues related to protected areas. At provincial level, these issues are dealt with by the Provincial Consultative Councils on Forests;
  • The Strategic Plan of Action, which was adopted at the high level meeting of 2011, will be updated in 2015.

The report further notes that the new Hydrocarbons Code was adopted by both the Parliament and the Senate, but will still be discussed in the mixed Committee of the two Chambers, allowing for further discussion on Article 160, which foresees the possibility of degazetment of protected areas to allow for oil exploitation.

In relation to the oil exploration in Virunga, it is noted that the Government is planning to submit to the World Heritage Centre a proposal with “options for exception mechanisms for further negotiation”. This seems to be in line with the reply by the Prime Minister to the letter of 8 January by the Delegation Heads of the European Union, World Bank, UNESCO and United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ambassadors of Germany and Canada, where he pointed out that in the event the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would want to go forward with oil exploitation, it would seek a minor boundary modification (see also report on Virunga National Park, item 4 of Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A).

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The statement by the Vice Prime Minister of DRC reiterating the commitment of the Government to implement the Kinshasa Declaration should be welcomed. In particular, it is encouraging that concrete measures have been taken to implement one of the most important elements of the Declaration, namely to create the conditions for implementation of the corrective measures by securing the sites.

The intention to create a special anti-poaching brigade is also noted. Widespread poaching is without doubt the single most important threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of all five properties. Results of the different inventories clearly show that since the start of the conflict, the biodiversity values of the properties have been seriously affected and their populations of emblematic species, such as Northern White Rhino, Okapi, Grauer’s Gorilla, Bonobo and Elephant, were severely reduced. Decisive action is needed to turn the tide. Recently, the increasing demand for ivory has in particular further increased pressure on the remaining Elephant populations. It is estimated that the DRC Elephant population, most of which is living in the World Heritage properties, has dwindled by over 90%, from more than 100 000 at the start of the 1980s to less than 10 000 today. Securing the sites and strengthening anti-poaching efforts are important, but additional efforts will be needed in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to identify and take legal action against the criminal networks involved in the illegal traffic. Efforts to reduce demand in consumer countries are also needed.

The reported efforts to ensure that the mining cadastre uses accurate mapping information of the properties to avoid the attribution of mining concessions overlapping with the properties also responds to a long standing demand of the Committee. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its requests to the State Party to annul all existing permits, which overlap with any of the properties.

It is also recommended that the Committee express its utmost concern about Article 160 of the new Code for Hydrocarbons, which foresees the possibility of degazetting protected areas, including World Heritage properties, as well as the statement made by the Prime Minister of DRC that the State Party might seek a boundary modification of Virunga National Park to allow for oil exploration activities to proceed. These are in clear contradiction to the Kinshasa Declaration, which committed to uphold the protection status of the properties. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its position on this issue, as expressed in previous decisions.

 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7A.4
Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 63)
The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.37 and 38 COM 7A.42, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes with appreciation the continued efforts deployed by the park staff to continue to ensure the conservation of the property despite life threatening conditions, and expresses its most sincere condolences to the families of the guards killed in operations for the protection of the property;
  4. Welcomes the improvement of the security situation and the fact that park surveillance coverage has increased to 75% and that all critical areas for large mammals are under control of the park management;
  5. Reiterates its significant concern about the fact that the State Party has not cancelled the petroleum licenses in the Park, as requested in its previous decisions, and strongly urges the State Party to cancel all the oil exploitation permits granted within the property without further delay and to make a clear commitment not to authorize further oil exploration or oil exploitation within the established boundaries of the property as it was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979;
  6. Also reiterates its position that oil, gas and mineral exploration or exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status;
  7. Notes with concern that the Prime Minister in its letter dated 26 January 2015, while affirming that the Government so far has not approved oil exploitation in Virunga National Park, acknowledges that the State Party might seek a minor boundary modification to enable exploitation to go ahead;
  8. Further reiterates its position that oil exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the commitments made by industry leaders such as Shell and Total not to undertake such activities within World Heritage properties and underlines that modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties that are related to extractive industry should be dealt with through the procedure for significant modifications of boundaries, in accordance with Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines given the potential impact of such projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  9. Recalls that the Statement of OUV of the property refers on several occasions to the importance of Lake Edward and its floodplains for its OUV and therefore, considers that removing this area from the property would have a significant negative impact on its OUV;
  10. Expresses its continued concern about the serious threats to the OUV of the property, in particular the encroachment of close to 10% of its surface by illegal settlements and uncontrolled agriculture and the limited support park staff is receiving from the Government to address these threats, and further reiterates its request to the State Party to implement the commitments made by the Congolese Government in the Kinshasa Declaration of January 2011;
  11. Encourages the work of the Virunga Alliance, which aims to support sustainable economic development around the park, and also encourages private, bilateral and multilateral donors to support this initiative;
  12. Also urges the State Party to expedite implementation of the corrective measures, as updated by the 2014 joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission;
  13. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  14. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism of the property;
  15. Also decides to retain the Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
39 COM 7A.9
General Decision on the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.42, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014) and reaffirming the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
  3. Welcomes the statement by the Vice Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reiterating the commitment of the State Party to implement the Kinshasa Declaration, as well as the decision by the National Superior Defence Council to instruct the army to strengthen security in the properties;
  4. Notes with appreciation the efforts to ensure that the mining cadastre uses accurate mapping information of the properties to avoid that mining concessions attributed overlap with the properties, and reiterates its requests to the State Party to cancel all existing permits, which overlap with any of the five properties;
  5. Considers that widespread poaching is the single most significant threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of all five properties, also welcomes the intention to create a special anti-poaching brigade, but notes that additional efforts will be needed, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to identify and take legal action against the criminal networks involved in the illegal traffic of species of fauna and their products, in particular ivory;
  6. Calls upon the States Parties which are transit and destination countries for ivory and rhino horn, to support the State Party to halt the illegal trade in ivory and other illegal wildlife products, in particular through the implementation of the CITES;
  7. Reiterates its utmost concern about the Hydrocarbons Code that would make oil exploitation activities in protected areas possible, and about the statement by the Prime Minster of DRC that the State Party might seek a boundary modification of Virunga National Park to allow for oil exploration activities to proceed;
  8. Also reiterates its requests to the State Party to ensure that the protection status of the World Heritage properties be maintained and to annul all oil exploration concessions overlapping with any of the five properties, and reiterates its position that mining, oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status;
  9. Urges the State Party to continue its efforts to implement the commitments made in the Kinshasa Declaration and to ensure the execution of the Strategic Plan of Action, and further reiterates its request to the State Party to approve the decree to formalize the creation of an inter-ministerial committee and allocate the necessary technical and financial means to ensure adequate monitoring in the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration;
  10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, the situation regarding mining, oil and gas exploration and exploitation titles that overlap with World Heritage properties, and the Hydrocarbons Code, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
39 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of the World Heritage in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-15/39.COM/7A and WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 39 COM 7A.38)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 39 COM 7A.39)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 39 COM 7A.18)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosi (Decision 39 COM 7A.44)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 39 COM 7A.45)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 39 COM 7A.24)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.10)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 39 COM 7A.40)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 39 COM 7A.41)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.20)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 39 COM 7A.15)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 39 COM 7A.25)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 39 COM 7A.26)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 39 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 39 COM 7A.11)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 39 COM 7A.21)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 39 COM 7A.22)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 39 COM 7A.12)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 39 COM 7A.28)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 39 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 39 COM 7A.46)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 39 COM 7A.47)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.13)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 39 COM 7A.42)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 39 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 39 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 39 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 39 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 39 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 39 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 39 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 39 COM 7A.23)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 39 COM 7A.43)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.14)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.17)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 39 COM 7A.48)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 39 COM 7A.37)
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7A.4

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.37 and 38 COM 7A.42, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes with appreciation the continued efforts deployed by the park staff to continue to ensure the conservation of the property despite life threatening conditions, and expresses its most sincere condolences to the families of the guards killed in operations for the protection of the property;
  4. Welcomes the improvement of the security situation and the fact that park surveillance coverage has increased to 75% and that all critical areas for large mammals are under control of the park management;
  5. Reiterates its significant concern about the fact that the State Party has not cancelled the petroleum licenses in the Park, as requested in its previous decisions, and strongly urges the State Party to cancel all the oil exploitation permits granted within the property without further delay and to make a clear commitment not to authorize further oil exploration or oil exploitation within the established boundaries of the property as it was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979;
  6. Also reiterates its position that oil, gas and mineral exploration or exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status;
  7. Notes with concern that the Prime Minister in its letter dated 26 January 2015, while affirming that the Government so far has not approved oil exploitation in Virunga National Park, acknowledges that the State Party might seek a minor boundary modification to enable exploitation to go ahead;
  8. Reiterates its position that oil exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the commitments made by industry leaders such as Shell and Total not to undertake such activities within World Heritage properties and underlines that modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties that are related to extractive industry should be dealt with through the procedure for significant modifications of boundaries, in accordance with Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines given the potential impact of such projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  9. Recalls that the Statement of OUV of the property refers on several occasions to the importance of Lake Edward and its floodplains for its OUV and therefore, considers that removing this area from the property would have a significant negative impact on its OUV;
  10. Expresses its continued concern about the serious threats to the OUV of the property, in particular the encroachment of close to 10% of its surface by illegal settlements and uncontrolled agriculture and the limited support park staff is receiving from the Government to address these threats, and further reiterates its request to the State Party to implement the commitments made by the Congolese Government in the Kinshasa Declaration of January 2011;
  11. Encourages the work of the Virunga Alliance, which aims to support sustainable economic development around the park, and also encourages private, bilateral and multilateral donors to support this initiative;
  12. Also urges the State Party to expedite implementation of the corrective measures, as updated by the 2014 joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission;
  13. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  14. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring mechanism of the property;
  15. Also decides to retain the Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

 

Draft Decision: 39 COM 7A.9

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision38 COM 7A.42, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014) and reaffirming the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
  3. Welcomes the statement by the Vice Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reiterating the commitment of the State Party to implement the Kinshasa Declaration, as well as the decision by the National Superior Defence Council to instruct the army to strengthen security in the properties;
  4. Notes with appreciation the efforts to ensure that the mining cadastre uses accurate mapping information of the properties to avoid that mining concessions attributed overlap with the properties, and reiterates its requests to the State Party to cancel all existing permits, which overlap with any of the five properties;
  5. Considers that widespread poaching is the single most significant threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of all five properties, also welcomes the intention to create a special anti-poaching brigade, but notes that additional efforts will be needed, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to identify and take legal action against the criminal networks involved in the illegal traffic of species of fauna and their products, in particular ivory;
  6. Calls upon the States Parties which are transit and destination countries for ivory and rhino horn, to support the State Party to halt the illegal trade in ivory and other illegal wildlife products, in particular through the implementation of the CITES;
  7. Reiterates its utmost concern about the Hydrocarbons Code that would make oil exploitation activities in protected areas possible, and about the statement by the Prime Minster of DRC that the State Party might seek a boundary modification of Virunga National Park to allow for oil exploration activities to proceed;
  8. Also reiterates its requests to the State Party to ensure that the protection status of the World Heritage properties be maintained and to annul all oil exploration concessions overlapping with any of the five properties, and reiterates its position that mining, oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status;
  9. Urges the State Party to continue its efforts to implement the commitments made in the Kinshasa Declaration and to ensure the execution of the Strategic Plan of Action, and further reiterates its request to the State Party to approve the decree to formalize the creation of an inter-ministerial committee and allocate the necessary technical and financial means to ensure adequate monitoring in the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration;
  10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, the situation regarding mining, oil and gas exploration and exploitation titles that overlap with World Heritage properties, and the Hydrocarbons Code, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
Report year: 2015
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1994-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 39COM (2015)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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