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Okapi Wildlife Reserve

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Mining
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Extensive poaching of large mammals, in particular elephants
  • Mining activities inside the property
  • Uncontrolled migration into the villages located within the property
  • Illegal timber exploitation in the Ituri Forest, which might affect the property in the near future
  • Planned rehabilitation of the National Road RN4 crossing the property, for which no proper Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted 

 

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Impact of the conflict : looting of the infrastructures, poaching of elephants
  • Presence of gold mining sites inside the property
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted in 2009 and revised in 2014, see page  https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/5983

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted in 2009 and revised in 2014, see page  https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/5983   

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount granted: USD 1,450,000, from the United Nations Foundation (UNF), Government of Belgium, the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UNPF).

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 4 (from 1993-2012)
Total amount approved : 103,400 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

1996 and May 2006: UNESCO World Heritage Centre monitoring missions; 2009 and 2014: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission. 

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, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/718/documents/, and which reports the following:

  • Deployment of 150 soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) to support park rangers, and launch of joint operations in targeted areas to address problems concerning military involved in illegal activities;
  • 50 new guards were recruited and trained, and new equipment was acquired for ongoing monitoring of the property, resulting in a surveillance coverage area of 37% of the property. The recruitment of an additional 50 guards is foreseen. In 2015, three aerial surveys covered 31% of the property;
  • One of the mining permits awarded to KiloGold has been cancelled, and artisanal mining quarries in three regions of the property have been closed by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature - ICCN) and FARDC after their voluntary evacuation in March 2015. Some quarries have been re-occupied since the third trimester of 2015;
  • Financial constraints have limited progress to mitigate the impacts related to increased traffic in the property. The road remains closed for night-time traffic through the property;
  • It is foreseen that during the first trimester of 2016, a definitive agreement between ICCN and four communities in the Mambasa Territory will be signed regarding the establishment of an integral conservation zone inside the property;
  • A population census of five villages along the RN4 revealed a 29% increase during the period 2010–2015, compared to 1% during 2003–2009. Population growth is also observed in large settlements to the west of the property, mainly linked to illegal gold and diamond mining inside the property;
  • Efforts to sustainably manage the natural resources through community forestry in the areas bordering the property are continuing. Zoning of the northwest of the property led to delineation of 30 agricultural zones and 29 hunting zones, with the exercise now underway in some other areas;
  • Plans are ongoing to establish the permanent consultation framework recommended by the Mambasa Round Table (11-12 May 2013);
  • In spite of efforts to strengthen anti-poaching, they remain insufficient due to pressure from illegal mining and ongoing security challenges;
  • Financial constraints continue to limit the implementation of the corrective measures.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The State Party’s ongoing efforts to implement the corrective measures are welcomed. In particular, the cancellation of one of the mining permits awarded to KiloGold and the addition of 50 trained eco-guards for the ongoing surveillance of the property demonstrate important steps in addressing key threats. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue its efforts to cancel all remaining mining permits that encroach on the property.

Whilst the evacuation from some mining quarries is welcomed, it is unclear how many illegal mining sites are active within the property. The re-occupation of some of these quarries since late 2015 has further impacted on the security within the property, and demonstrates that continued efforts to combat illegal mining and evacuate illegal occupants remain crucial and urgent. Sincere condolences are extended to the family of the guard who was killed by rebel groups in November 2015.

It is of great concern that anti-poaching efforts remain too limited to address the important threats faced. The State Party’s intentions to recruit 50 more forest guards is appreciated in that regard, and the launch of the joint operations between ICCN and FARDC to continue efforts to resolve illegal activities by the military marks an important step. Nevertheless, the number of guards in the property remains low to ensure proper surveillance and to tackle heavily armed poachers, while efforts are focused on halting illegal mining activities.

It should be noted that the reported surveillance coverage of 37% appears to be lower than the figure reported to the Committee at its 39th session (48%) but slightly higher than the revised 2014 figure that is presented by the State Party in its current report (36%). It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to prioritise efforts to further expand the patrol coverage in order to regain control of the site to halt poaching and the deterioration of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

The significant increase in population size of the five villages along RN4 is also of significant concern and might be an indirect result of the rehabilitation of the road. No information is provided on the impact of the increase on the land use in the property. The increase questions the effectiveness of the system which was established to control immigration into the property, which would need to be evaluated and improved.

The development of a roadmap for the signing of an agreement between ICCN and the four communities in the Mambasa Territory in order to establish an integral conservation zone in the property is welcomed, as are the steps taken to inform the zoning plan for forest areas adjacent to the property.

It is regrettable that financial constraints are continuing to limit the implementation of many of the corrective measures and it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its call upon donors to provide necessary financial and technical support to the site’s managers to fully implement the corrective measures.

Finally, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and that it continues to apply 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.39
Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 718)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.41, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Expresses its most sincere condolences to the family of the guard killed in operations for the protection of the property;
  4. Welcomes the cancellation of one of the mining permits awarded to KiloGold Society inside the property and urges the State Party to provide information on the remaining mining permits overlapping with the property and to ensure their cancellation;
  5. Takes note of the actions taken by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) to close some artisanal mines and reiterates its request to the State Party to evacuate and close all illegal artisanal mines within the property;
  6. Expresses its concern at the continued deterioration of the security situation in the property, increased poaching and the reopening of artisanal mining sites encouraged by rebel groups;
  7. Notes with appreciation the development of a roadmap towards the signing of an agreement between ICCN and the four communities in the Mambasa Territory in order to establish an integral conservation zone in the property, and the steps taken to inform the zoning plan for forest areas adjacent to the property;
  8. Acknowledges the addition of 50 trained guards for the ongoing surveillance of the property, but notes with concern that the reported surveillance coverage is significantly lower than what was reported to the Committee at its 39th session and therefore, also reiterates its request to the State Party to prioritize efforts to further expand the patrol coverage and regain control of the site to halt poaching and the deterioration of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including through the recruitment of additional guards and the adequate provision of financial and material resources;
  9. Also notes with concern the significant increase in the number of inhabitants in the five villages along the RN4 which questions the effectiveness of the system established to control immigration into the property, and requests the State Party to evaluate and improve this system in order to make it more effective, and to evaluate the impacts of the increased population on land use around the villages;
  10. Also urges the State Party to continue its efforts to implement the corrective measures and to resume operations suspended due to a lack of security, and reiterates its call upon donors to provide necessary financial and technical support for these efforts;
  11. Also 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 corrective measures, 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 the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (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.39

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.41, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Expresses its most sincere condolences to the family of the guard killed in operations for the protection of the property;
  4. Welcomes the cancellation of one of the mining permits awarded to KiloGold Society inside the property and urges the State Party to provide information on the remaining mining permits overlapping with the property and to ensure their cancellation;
  5. Takes note of the actions taken by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) to close some artisanal mines and reiterates its request to the State Party to evacuate and close all illegal artisanal mines within the property;
  6. Expresses its concern at the continued deterioration of the security situation in the property, increased poaching and the reopening of artisanal mining sites encouraged by rebel groups;
  7. Notes with appreciation the development of a roadmap towards the signing of an agreement between ICCN and the four communities in the Mambasa Territory in order to establish an integral conservation zone in the property, and the steps taken to inform the zoning plan for forest areas adjacent to the property;
  8. Acknowledges the addition of 50 trained guards for the ongoing surveillance of the property, but notes with concern that the reported surveillance coverage is significantly lower than what was reported to the Committee at its 39th session and therefore, also reiterates its request to the State Party to prioritize efforts to further expand the patrol coverage and regain control of the site to halt poaching and the deterioration of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including through the recruitment of additional guards and the adequate provision of financial and material resources;
  9. Also notes with concern the significant increase in the number of inhabitants in the five villages along the RN4 which questions the effectiveness of the system established to control immigration into the property, and requests the State Party to evaluate and improve this system in order to make it more effective, and to evaluate the impacts of the increased population on land use around the villages;
  10. Also urges the State Party to continue its efforts to implement the corrective measures and to resume operations suspended due to a lack of security, and reiterates its call upon donors to provide necessary financial and technical support for these efforts;
  11. Also 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 corrective measures, 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 the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (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: 1996
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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