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Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Civil unrest
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Mining
  • War
  • Other Threats:

    Villages in the ecological corridor between the highland and lowland sectors of the park

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Presence of armed groups, lack of security and political instability rendering a large part of the property inaccessible to the guards
  • Attribution of mining permits inside the property
  • Poaching by armed military groups
  • Villages in the ecological corridor between the highland and lowland sectors of the park
  • Illegal mining and deforestation
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Adverse refugee impact
  • Irregular presence of armed militias and settlers at the property
  • Increased poaching
  • Deforestation 
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

A draft has been developed during the 2009 Reactive Monitoring mission (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents), but the indicators still need to be quantified based on the results of a census of large mammals

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4081

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet established
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount granted: USD 1,003,900 from the United Nations Foundation (UNF), and the Governments of Italy and Belgium and by the Rapid Response Facility (RRF)  

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 7 (from 1980-2000)
Total amount approved : 119,270 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 5 February 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/137/documents/ and indicates a further improvement in the security situation, though insecurity remains in the Lulingu sector. The State Party reports the following updates:

  • Evacuation of armed groups started in October 2015, which has allowed wildlife inventories to be resumed in Kasese and Nzovu East;
  • Surveillance coverage area decreased to 34% of the property in 2015 (43% in 2014) due to the late release of funds, which delayed the implementation of the operational plan, and aerial surveys could not be conducted;
  • Recruitment and training of 110 park guards is underway to help strengthen the surveillance mechanism;
  • Surveillance posts and infrastructures for guards are planned to be built in 2016 with funding from the World Bank and KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau - German Development Bank);
  • There are no current mining concessions overlapping with the property. Of the 34 recorded illegal mining quarries in the property, 20 have been closed and 14 are active. Efforts to evacuate these 14 mining sites will be undertaken;
  • A “National Forum on Governance and Enhancement of the Property” held in April 2015, identified four short-term priorities, and as a result, destructive activities linked to illegal farms in the ecological corridor between the highland and lowland sectors of the property are reported to have stabilized. Vegetation has started to recover in the land reclaimed in previous years and a number of arrests have been made;
  • The socio-economic study is nearing completion to develop a zoning plan to propose a solution for the issue of villages located in the property;
  • Inventories on large mammals were conducted by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in four out of the seven sectors of the property in 2015 to determine the current state of conservation of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The preliminary results for gorillas indicate a significant decrease in abundance in Nzovu East and West, a slow increase in Tshivanga, and a stabilisation in Kasese. Very few signs of elephants were found in the lowlands.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The further improvement of security conditions and the ongoing efforts to evacuate armed groups from formerly occupied sectors is welcomed. The killing of a park guard in an ambush on 31 March 2016 shows however that security remains fragile. The limitation of park surveillance coverage to one third of the property in 2015 due to delay in releasing funds is of concern, with even the better secured highland sector of Tshivanga recording a coverage of 56%. Further efforts are evidently needed to increase the patrol coverage, and it is hoped that the planned recruitment and training of additional guards will make this possible.

The progress achieved in conducting the inventory on large mammals is welcome as it directly relates to the state of conservation of the property’s OUV. IUCN notes that in March 2016, a WCS/FFI/ICCN report on the status of Grauer’s gorilla and eastern chimpanzee was released. This comprehensive report concludes that the population of Grauer’s gorilla has fallen dramatically by 77% since 1996 (from 17,000 to 3,800 individuals), and that this species should be considered as Critically Endangered according to IUCN Red List of Threated Species criteria. In the lowland sectors of the property, formerly considered as the main stronghold of the species, the decline is estimated at 87%. Only the small population in the highland sector of the property, estimated at 180 animals is currently considered to be effectively protected. The report notes that if urgent action is not taken, Grauer’s gorilla may be lost from much of its range in the next two to five years. Mining poses a particular threat to gorilla habitats, and bushmeat hunting especially around mining concessions is considered to be the most critical threat to both species. It is considered that closing and evacuating the remaining mines inside the property is of utmost importance, combined with an awareness raising campaign among local communities to stop the consumption and trade of bushmeat.

It is noted that no mining concessions are active within the property. However, recalling past reports by the State Party that several exploratory concessions had been given by the Mining Cadastre, it would be important to receive confirmation that these titles have been cancelled. The continued efforts to close illegal artisanal mines jointly by ICCN and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) are appreciated. However, in its report for the 39th session of the Committee, the State Party confirmed that only four mining sites remained active in the property, whilst the current report confirms 14 active sites, in spite of the closure of 20, implying levels of illegal mining are higher than previously reported.

The results of the “National Forum on Governance and Enhancement of the Property” and the reported stabilisation of destructive activities linked to illegal farms in the ecological corridor between the highland and lowland sectors of the property are noted and the reported recovery of some vegetation is welcome. More details on the status of the corridor with maps showing which areas have been cleared of damaging use and encroachment, are regenerating and which areas are still encroached are considered important. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to accelerate the actions to address encroachment of and damage to the ecological corridor between the lowland and highland sectors, and to restore the vegetation of the property in order to retain its OUV, including the conditions of integrity.

It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property, update the corrective measures, establish a timeframe for their implementation and finalize the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) as soon as the final results of the inventory are available.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism.

 

42.    General Decision on the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
  • Current conservation issues

On 5 February 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of implementation of the General Decision that is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/280/documents/ and provides the following updates:

  • On 15 June 2015, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) published decree No. 15/012 on the establishment of a Corps established to strengthen security in the DRC National Parks (CorPPN) and related nature reserves. This decision falls within the framework of the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration. The institution is placed under the authority of the Ministry of National Defense, Environment and Tourism and coordinated by the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN). CorPPN staff members will be recruited from the national army, police, specialized security services, conservators and ICCN guards;
  • Collaboration between ICCN and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) has improved. Military contingents are deployed in all the sites where joint patrols are working to strengthen security;
  • The Hydrocarbons Code was promulgated in August 2015 by the President of the Republic;
  • Two inter-ministerial meetings were held in October and December 2015 to try to resolve the issue of mining concessions overlapping protected areas. These meetings have not yielded significant results;
  • No oil exploration activity was observed in 2015 in Virunga National Park. However, the report notes that the State Party "retains the option to formally contact the World Heritage Centre to solicit a mission of the Advisory Bodies to discuss the oil issue in the property" (see report on Virunga National Park in WHC/16/40.COM/7A);
  • Substantial resources have been mobilized for the sustainable financing of the properties. These contributions from the European Commission, the World Bank and the German Development Bank (KfW - Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) are allocated either to the Okapi Trust Fund for Nature Conservation, or invested directly in the conservation of the properties concerned. For example, the support programme of the 11th EDF (European Development Fund) will support the Virunga, Garamba and Salonga National Parks.
    • Analysis and conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The establishment of a Corps to strengthen security in the National Parks (CorPPN), which reaffirms the government's commitment to implement the Kinshasa Declaration, should be welcomed.

The State Party's efforts to secure the sites are commendable, however insecurity in and around the properties remains a persistent problem. The ICCN staff sustained heavy casualties and many wounded in the last twelve months: since April 2015, nine ICCN guards and three FARDC soldiers were killed in the line of duty in Garamba National Park. In March 2016, a guard was killed in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, two guards killed in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and two more in the Virunga National Park. It is recommended that the Committee expresses its condolences to the families of guards and soldiers killed in protection operations for the property.

It is regrettable that although the Hydrocarbons Code was adopted in August 2015, Article 155 of the new Code (formerly Article 160), which provides for the possibility of declassifying protected areas including World Heritage properties in order to conduct oil exploration activities, has been maintained despite the requests of the World Heritage Committee. In addition, the State Party indicates that it may also solicit an advisory mission to study the possibility of amending the boundaries of Virunga National Park. It is recommended that the Committee expresses its deep concern about Article 155 of the new Hydrocarbons Code and reiterates its request to the State Party to cancel the oil exploration concessions in the properties of the National Parks of Virunga and Salonga. It is also recommended that the Committee reiterates its position that oil exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status. It is regrettable that despite several inter-ministerial meetings, no progress was noted on the issue of mining concessions overlapping protected areas. It is recommended that the Committee requests the State Party to take the necessary measures for the cancellation of all licenses granted for mining activities that encroach on the territories of the properties in accordance with the law in force.

The efforts made towards the census of large mammals are welcomed, however, the preliminary analysis of the first sectors in Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) indicate  that the populations of Grauer gorillas and chimpanzees might be considered critically endangered according to the criteria of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Mining is one of the major threats to their habitats (see the report on the KBNP in Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A).

In several properties inventories have shown that the biological indicators of populations of iconic species such as the northern white rhino, Kordofan giraffe, gorilla, chimpanzee and elephant, have decreased considerably. Decisive action is needed to reverse these trends.  Notably, the pressure on populations of elephants and giraffes in Garamba National Park remains very strong. It is recommended that the Committee recalls the importance of intensifying anti-poaching efforts and expresses its deep concern about the biological trends in the decline of some key species.

The UN Security Council, during  renewal of the MONUSCO Mandate (Mission of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) in March 2016, included a paragraph in the preamble to its Resolution 2277 (2016): "Expressing concern at the illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources by armed groups, and the negative impact of armed conflict on protected natural areas, which undermines lasting peace and development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and encouraging the Government of the DRC to continue efforts to safeguard those areas”.  In addition, the Security Council authorizes MONUSCO "to encourage the consolidation of an effective national civilian structure that controls key mining activities and manages in an equitable manner the extraction, transport and trade of natural resources in eastern DRC”.

The efforts made to mobilize funding for the properties of the DRC are considerable, in particular for the Virunga, Salonga and Garamba National Parks which will receive funding under the 11th European Development Fund, with a budget of 120 million Euros for the DRC. Other important financial support from Germany and the World Bank is also available to implement corrective actions and community conservation programmes.

 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7A.38
Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 137)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.5, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Expresses its sincere condolences to the family of the guard killed during the execution of operations carried out for the protection of the property;
  4. Welcomes the continued efforts by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) with assistance from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) in securing the property, strengthening surveillance and closing illegal mines but expresses its concern that surveillance coverage area decreased to 34% of the property in 2015 due to the late release of funds;
  5. Expresses its utmost concern about the conclusions presented in the 2016 WCS/FFI/ICCN (Wildlife Conservation International/Fauna and Flora International/ICCN) report on the status of Grauer’s gorilla and eastern chimpanzee, which demonstrate that population of Grauer’s gorilla is estimated to have declined by 77% across its range and by 87% in the lowland sectors of the property, making it now critically endangered, and emphasizes the crucial importance of increasing efforts to protect Grauer’s gorilla in the property to safeguard its continued survival;
  6. Also notes with significant concern that mining and the associated bushmeat hunting are identified in the WCS/FFI/ICCN report as the most critical threat to Grauer’s gorilla and eastern chimpanzee across their range, including in the property;
  7. Strongly urges the State Party to close fully all remaining mines in the property as a matter of utmost priority and ensure that they are not re-occupied and to take stronger measures to stop the consumption and trade of bushmeat, and ensure a focus on stopping the illegal trade of great apes;
  8. Takes note of the State Party’s confirmation that no mining concessions are active within the property and requests the State Party to confirm that all exploratory mining concessions given by the Mining Cadastre have been cancelled;
  9. Further notes that the “National Forum on Governance and Enhancement of the Property” reportedly resulted in the stabilization of destructive activities linked to illegal farms in the ecological corridor between the lowland and highland sectors of the property and that some recovery of vegetation has been observed in the areas where encroachment was previously addressed, and also requests the State Party to accelerate the actions to prevent damage to and encroachment of the ecological corridor, which is crucial to ensure the ecological continuity between the highland and lowland sectors of the property, and to submit more details on the status of the corridor with maps showing areas where encroachment has been removed, and which are regenerating, and which areas are still encroached;
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission as soon as the final results of the inventory are available, to assess the state of conservation of the property, update the corrective measures, and establish a timeframe for their implementation as well as the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  11. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, 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 41st session in 2017;
  12. Decides to continue to apply 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.
40 COM 7A.42
General Decision on the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/7A and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.9, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015) and reiterating the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
  3. Addresses its most sincere condolences to the families of the guards and soldiers killed during operations to protect the properties, and expresses its deep concern about the persistent in secure situation in most of the properties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC);
  4. Warmly welcomes the creation of the Corps established to strengthen security in the DRC National Parks (CorPPN) which demonstrates the commitment of the State Party to implement the Kinshasa Declaration, and requests the State Party to rapidly provide it with the human and financial resources to enable the deployment of troops in the sites;
  5. Commends the State Party for its efforts to secure sustainable funding, and warmly thanks the donors for their substantial support to the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  6. Notes with satisfaction United Nations Security Council Resolution 2277 of 30 March 2016 adopted during the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), which commits the DRC Government to continue its actions to preserve the protected natural areas and which allows MONUSCO to encourage the consolidation of an effective national civil structure that controls the main mining activities and manages in an equitable manner the extraction, transportation and trade of natural resources in the eastern DRC;
  7. Reiterates its utmost concern about the new Hydrocarbons Code which provides the possibility to declassify protected areas, including World Heritage properties, to conduct oil exploration and exploitation activities, and about the intention of the State Party to officially address the World Heritage Centre to request an Advisory Body mission to discuss the oil issue in the property;
  8. Reiterates with insistence its request to the State Party to ensure the maintenance of the protection status of World Heritage properties and to cancel any such concessions for oil exploration and mining exploration or exploitation encroaching on one of the five properties, and reiterates its position that oil and gas 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 ;
  9. Recalls that the modifications to the boundaries of World Heritage properties that are related to the extractive industries must follow the procedure for significant modifications of the boundaries in accordance with paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, taking into account the potential impact of such projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  10. Regrets that, despite several inter-ministerial meetings, no progress has been noted on the issue of mining concessions overlapping protected areas and urges the State Party to take the necessary steps to cancel all licenses granted for mining activities which encroach on the properties, in accordance with the law in force;
  11. Commends the progress made by the State Party to conduct complete inventories at several sites, also notes with significant concern the results of ecological inventories, notably of Kahuzi-Biega and Garamba National Parks, which show significant decline of flagship species of these properties, and also urges the State Party to continue these efforts to protect the properties, to implement corrective measures and combat heavy poaching of iconic species, which remains the major threat to the OUV of the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  12. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, a detailed report on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, on the security situation in the properties, on the status of the mining exploration and exploitation concessions encroaching on the World Heritage properties, and on the Hydrocarbons Code, for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
40 COM 8C.2
Update of the list of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 40 COM 7A.26)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 40 COM 7A.27)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 40 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 40 COM 7A.1)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 40 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 40 COM 7A.9)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 40 COM 7A.28)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.48)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 40 COM 7A.10)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.11)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 40 COM 7A.12)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 40 COM 7A.13)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 40 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 40 COM 7A.6)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 40 COM 7A.7)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 40 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 40 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 40 COM 7A.15)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 40 COM 7A.3)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 40 COM 7A.4)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 40 COM 7A. 30)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 40 COM 7A.49)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 40 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 40 COM 7A.17)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 40 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 40 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 40 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 40 COM 7A.21)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 40 COM 7A.8)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 40 COM 7A.31)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.47)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.50)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 40 COM 7A.5)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 40 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 40 COM 7A.24)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 40 COM 7A.25).
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7A.38

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.5, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Expresses its sincere condolences to the family of the guard killed during the execution of operations carried out for the protection of the property;
  4. Welcomes the continued efforts by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) with assistance from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) in securing the property, strengthening surveillance and closing illegal mines but expresses its concern that surveillance coverage area decreased to 34% of the property in 2015 due to the late release of funds;
  5. Expresses its utmost concern about the conclusions presented in the 2016 WCS/FFI/ICCN (Wildlife Conservation International/Fauna and Flora International/ICCN) report on the status of Grauer’s gorilla and eastern chimpanzee, which demonstrate that population of Grauer’s gorilla is estimated to have declined by 77% across its range and by 87% in the lowland sectors of the property, making it now critically endangered, and emphasizes the crucial importance of increasing efforts to protect Grauer’s gorilla in the property to safeguard its continued survival;
  6. Also notes with significant concern that mining and the associated bushmeat hunting are identified in the WCS/FFI/ICCN report as the most critical threat to Grauer’s gorilla and eastern chimpanzee across their range, including in the property;
  7. Strongly urges the State Party to close fully all remaining mines in the property as a matter of utmost priority and ensure that they are not re-occupied and to take stronger measures to stop the consumption and trade of bushmeat, and ensure a focus on stopping the illegal trade of great apes;
  8. Takes note of the State Party’s confirmation that no mining concessions are active within the property and requests the State Party to confirm that all exploratory mining concessions given by the Mining Cadastre have been cancelled;
  9. Further notes that the “National Forum on Governance and Enhancement of the Property” reportedly resulted in the stabilization of destructive activities linked to illegal farms in the ecological corridor between the lowland and highland sectors of the property and that some recovery of vegetation has been observed in the areas where encroachment was previously addressed, and also requests the State Party to accelerate the actions to prevent damage to and encroachment of the ecological corridor, which is crucial to ensure the ecological continuity between the highland and lowland sectors of the property, and to submit more details on the status of the corridor with maps showing areas where encroachment has been removed, and which are regenerating, and which areas are still encroached;
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission as soon as the final results of the inventory are available, to assess the state of conservation of the property, update the corrective measures, and establish a timeframe for their implementation as well as the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  11. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, 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 41st session in 2017;
  12. Decides to continue to apply 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.

Draft Decision: 40 COM 7A.42

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/7A and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.9, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015) and reiterating the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
  3. Addresses its most sincere condolences to the families of the guards and soldiers killed during operations to protect the properties, and expresses its deep concern about the persistent in secure situation in most of the properties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC);
  4. Warmly welcomes the creation of the Corps established to strengthen security in the DRC National Parks (CorPPN) which demonstrates the commitment of the State Party to implement the Kinshasa Declaration, and requests the State Party to rapidly provide it with the human and financial resources to enable the deployment of troops in the sites;
  5. Commends the State Party for its efforts to secure sustainable funding, and warmly thanks the donors for their substantial support to the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  6. Notes with satisfaction United Nations Security Council Resolution 2277 of 30 March 2016 adopted during the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), which commits the DRC Government to continue its actions to preserve the protected natural areas and which allows MONUSCO to encourage the consolidation of an effective national civil structure that controls the main mining activities and manages in an equitable manner the extraction, transportation and trade of natural resources in the eastern DRC;
  7. Reiterates its utmost concern about the new Hydrocarbons Code which provides the possibility to declassify protected areas, including World Heritage properties, to conduct oil exploration and exploitation activities, and about the intention of the State Party to officially address the World Heritage Centre to request an Advisory Body mission to discuss the oil issue in the property;
  8. Reiterates with insistence its request to the State Party to ensure the maintenance of the protection status of World Heritage properties and to cancel any such concessions for oil exploration and mining exploration or exploitation encroaching on one of the five properties, and reiterates its position that oil and gas 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 ;
  9. Recalls that the modifications to the boundaries of World Heritage properties that are related to the extractive industries must follow the procedure for significant modifications of the boundaries in accordance with paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, taking into account the potential impact of such projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  10. Regrets that, despite several inter-ministerial meetings, no progress has been noted on the issue of mining concessions overlapping protected areas and urges the State Party to take the necessary steps to cancel all licenses granted for mining activities which encroach on the properties, in accordance with the law in force;
  11. Commends the progress made by the State Party to conduct complete inventories at several sites, also notes with significant concern the results of ecological inventories, notably of Kahuzi-Biega and Garamba National Parks, which show significant decline of flagship species of these properties, and also urges the State Party to continue these efforts to protect the properties, to implement corrective measures and combat heavy poaching of iconic species, which remains the major threat to the OUV of the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
  12. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, a detailed report on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, on the security situation in the properties, on the status of the mining exploration and exploitation concessions encroaching on the World Heritage properties, and on the Hydrocarbons Code, for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Report year: 2016
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Date of Inscription: 1980
Category: Natural
Criteria: (x)
Danger List (dates): 1997-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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