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Salonga National Park

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
  • Civil unrest
  • Illegal activities
  • Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Oil and gas
  • War
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Armed conflict, lack of security and political instability
  • Poaching by the army and armed groups
  • Conflicts with local communities concerning Park boundaries
  • Impact of villages located within the property
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Impact due to conflict
  • Increased poaching and illegal encroachment affecting the integrity of the site
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Proposed in the 2012 mission report. However, core indicators of the results of the inventory of flagship species still needs to be quantified in view of the adoption of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) by the Committee
Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4575 

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
In progress
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2017

Total amount granted: USD 320,000 from the United Nations Foundation and the Governments of Italy and Belgium 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 9 (from 1985-2000)
Total amount approved : 149,900 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 13 February 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/280/documents/. Progress in implementing the corrective measures is provided as follows:

  • A ‘Rapid Intervention Force’, comprising of 40 elite guards of the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) has been established and operationalized to undertake long patrols in areas of high poaching pressure;
  • A Surveillance Strategy will be finalized in the first part of 2017;
  • Two meetings of the Site Coordination Committee (CoCoSi) were held in 2016 to evaluate and prepare the 2017 Operational Plan. Regional, national deputies and provincial governor attended these meetings where the matter of the livelihood of the local communities was discussed;
  • Coordination of activities and communication between ICCN and its technical partners has significantly improved, leading to the establishment of a Rapid Response Team, and resulting in 60% surveillance coverage in 2016;
  • The property was divided in 6 sectors including one base in each sector and several patrolling posts. Bases are equipped with SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) where data are collected and centralized at the park’s headquarters;
  • Park infrastructures have been improved through, inter alia, rehabilitation of the park’s headquarters and purchase of equipment (vehicle and boat) to support surveillance. Additional supplies and equipment for park guards have been acquired and deployed;
  • Extrapolation of ecological monitoring surveys of Lokofa, Lomela and Watsikengo blocks, covering 42% of the property, have produced a total estimated population of 18,419 bonobos and 1,738 elephants within the property;
  • Demarcation of the park boundaries in the Lomela area between the sources of Emania and Bombilo Rivers was initiated through a stakeholders meeting;
  • A biological inventory is expected in 2017 to assess the ecological continuity between the north and south components of the property;
  • A study to assess the management options of the property in relation to the Yaelima and Kitawala communities was conducted between June and August 2016;
  • A ‘demographic explosion along the park corridor’ is noted as a current threat that is affecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

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

On 13 February 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the progress made in the implementation of Decision 40 COM 7A.42. This report is available at the following address https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/41com/documents/#state_of_conservation_reports and contains the information below:

  • The Corps responsible for the security of the National Parks (CorPPN) and related natural reserves, created in June 2015, is not operational due to lack of human and financial resources. Nevertheless, in 2016, the State Party made available to the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) arms and ammunitions that has benefitted the National Parks of Garamba and Virunga ;
  • No activity linked to petroleum was observed, in 2016, at the Virunga National Park. However, the State Party notes that it wishes to officially request an IUCN advisory mission to discuss the petroleum issue at the property;
  • The support programme of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) of the European Union continues to provide financial and technical support to the National Parks of Virunga, Garamba and Salonga. Through the German Development Bank (KfW - Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau), Germany supports the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, and the National Parks of Salonga and Kahuzi-Biega ;
  • The Trust Fund « Okapi Fund for Conservation - FOCON » for a sustainable funding of the protected areas of the DRC now has the status of a charitable organization and an Administrative Council. The World Bank and the KfW have funded the FOCON to the amount of 30 million US dollars. Nevertheless, the report underlines that the decree for the establishment of the FOCON Headquarters in the DRC has not yet been signed by the national authorities. Without the decree, this Fund cannot be operational
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017

The establishment of a new Rapid Intervention Force and a Rapid Response Team is welcomed to further strengthen the State Party’s efforts to effectively tackle poaching. It is noted that the Surveillance Strategy to prioritize activities is near finalization. Furthermore, the reported increase in patrol coverage from 50% to 60% in the reporting period is a welcome achievement.

No update is provided on the State Party’s intention to consider further options to improve connectivity between the ‘sustainable conservation zones’ proposed in the ecological corridor to link the two components of the property, as requested by the Committee. However, the biological inventory would generate valuable information in order to inform the possible options on managing this corridor, and it is therefore considered that the plan for the Multiple Use Zone should be reviewed once the inventory is completed.

The meaning of the ‘demographic explosion’ in the corridor, as reported by the State Party, remains unclear and it is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide more information, comprising of the potential causes and the impact of this demographic explosion on the OUV of the property, including its conditions of integrity. Noting that an influx of immigrants can be driven by, or result in, illegal activities such as mining and poaching, careful monitoring and management action is required without delay in particular to address the root causes that have led to this problem.

The preliminary findings of the inventory of bonobos and elephants from the survey of three blocks are noted, as is the collection of ungulate data along these transects. Comprehensive global population data on bonobos, which are endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are currently lacking but estimates have previously suggested a minimum of 15,000-20,000 individuals in total. Considering the extrapolated population estimate, the property therefore appears to be a critical habitat for bonobos.

The study to weigh out options for the Yaelima and Kitawala communities either to remain in the property or to be relocated is noted. However, as requested by the Committee (Decision 40 COM 7A.40), it is crucial to initiate an effective dialogue with the communities to identify possible solutions and to also assess the socio-economic situation of the Yaelima community to inform the strategy on how to address their residence in the property. Information on progress in achieving either of these has not been provided.

Regarding the status of oil exploration and exploitation projects, it is recommended that the Committee regret that the State Party did not provide any information on this matter, as requested since 2012, following the comments made by the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission, concerning its interest in oil exploration and exploitation in the Central Basin, which encompasses the property.

Efforts are pursued by the State Party to continue the implementation of the corrective measures with the aim to achieve the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

General Decision on the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
  • Analysis and conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the IUCN

The allocation of arms and ammunitions for the two properties, Garamba and Virunga National Parks, is an important effort on the part of the State Party; however, insecurity persists and is becoming more serious in the four properties located in the eastern part of the DRC. Technical and financial means must be made available to the ICCN to secure all the World Heritage properties and their surroundings.

The years 2016 and 2017 were dramatic for the ICCN staff and FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Eleven guards lost their lives and many others were seriously injured during attacks carried out against the National Parks of Garamba (2 victims), Virunga (5 victims) and Kahuzi Biega (3 victims). A guard was also killed at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in May 2017. It is recommended that the Committee condemn this violence and address its condolences to the families of the guards and the soldiers killed during operations for the protection of the properties.

The delay incurred in the deployment of the CorPPN contingent is unfortunate. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to provide human and financial means to the CorPPN to render it operational and that it also requests the State Party to do its utmost to implement, in conformity with the Kinshasa Declaration (January 2011), and restore security conditions to enable the ICCN staff to carry out their mission.

With regard to the issue of petroleum exploration and exploitation projects, the State Party notes that no petroleum activity has been observed in the Virunga National Park. No information has been provided as concerns the petroleum interests at the Salonga National Park, expressed by the State Party during the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission (see point 10 of Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A). It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to officially confirm the definite cancellation of the petroleum concession overlapping the Virunga National Park and to clarify the situation as regards its petroleum interest in the Salonga National Park.

The efforts of the State Party to mobilize major funding for the DRC properties are favourably welcomed. Important progress has been achieved in organizing the Trust Fund for the Protected Areas of the DRC. Nevertheless, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to take legal measures by adopting the necessary decree to render operational the FOCON Fund; these provisions will enable the properties of the DRC to benefit from substantial financial resources.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
41 COM 7A.10
Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 280)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7A.7 and 40 COM 7A.40, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the establishment of a new Rapid Intervention Force and a Rapid Response Team to further strengthen the State Party’s efforts to effectively address poaching, and also welcomes the increase in surveillance coverage to 60% of the property;
  4. Takes note of the preliminary findings of the inventory of flagship species, including bonobos and elephants, and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit the full findings of the inventories for all flagship species to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as they become available, and based on the results, to also submit an updated Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), which quantifies the indicators, for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
  5. Requests the State Party to provide details of the reported ‘demographic explosion’ in the corridor, comprising of its potential causes, proposed measures to address them and the impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including on the ‘sustainable conservation zones’ that have been identified by the State Party to be of particular importance in the ecological corridor to link the two components of the property;
  6. Noting with appreciation the State Party’s intention to undertake a biological inventory in 2017 to assess the ecological connectivity between the two components of the property, also requests the State Party to submit the findings to the World Heritage Centre once they are available;
  7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to consider further options to improve the connectivity between the ‘sustainable conservation zones’ and the southern component of the property, and further requests the State Party to consider the findings of the above-mentioned biological inventory in reviewing the plan for the Multiple Use Zone;
  8. Further reiterates its request to the State Party to urgently clarify its expression of interest in oil exploration and exploitation in the Central Basin, which includes the property, as communicated to the 2012 mission, 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. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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 42nd session in 2018;
  10. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism to the property;
  11. Also decides to retain Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
41 COM 7A.12
General Decision on the properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.42, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and reiterating the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
  3. Condemns the violence perpetrated against the guards and soldiers killed during operations for the protection of the World Heritage properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), addresses its most sincere condolences to their families and expresses its very deep concern as regards the worsening security situation in the properties located in the eastern part of the DRC;
  4. Regrets the delay incurred in the establishment of the Corps responsible for security in the National Parks and Protected Areas (CorPPN) and requests the State Party to provide it, rapidly, with human and financial resources to enable the deployment of contingents to establish security within the properties;
  5. Expresses again its utmost concern as regards the intention of the State Party to officially address the World Heritage Centre to request an IUCN advisory mission to discuss the petroleum issue in the Virunga National Park;
  6. Reiterates with insistence its request to the State Party to cancel the petroleum exploration concession encroaching on the Virunga National Park and to clarify the situation concerning its petroleum interest in Salonga National Park, expressed by the State Party during the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission, and reiterates its position according to which all mineral, petroleum and gas exploration and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, policy supported by the commitments made by industry leaders, such as Shell and Total, not to undertake such activities within World Heritage properties;
  7. Congratulates the State Party for its efforts to mobilize sustainable funding and notes with appreciation the substantial support provided to the properties of the DRC by the donors;
  8. Also congratulates the State Party for the major progress achieved in finalizing the creation of the Trust Fund for the protected areas in the DRC, entitled « Okapi Fund for Conservation – FOCON » and also requests the State Party to take all the necessary legal provisions to render it operational without delay;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, a detailed report on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, on the security situation in the properties, on the status of the petroleum exploration and exploitation concessions that overlap the World Heritage properties, for examination by the Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
41 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.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 41 COM 7A.54)
    • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 41 COM 7A.55)
    • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 41 COM 7A.2)
    • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 41 COM 7A.23)
    • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.4)
    • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 41 COM 7A.24)
    • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.6)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.7)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.8)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.9)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.10)
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.11)
    • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 41 COM 7A.32)
    • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.3)
    • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.18)
    • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 41 COM 7A.33)
    • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.34)
    • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 41 COM 7A.35)
    • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 41 COM 7A.36)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 41 COM 7A.37)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 41 COM 7A.38)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 41 COM 7A.39)
    • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 41 COM 7A.40)
    • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 41 COM 7A.41)
    • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 41 COM 7A.14)
    • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 41 COM 7A.28)
    • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 41 COM 7A.29)
    • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 41 COM 7A.30)
    • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 41 COM 7A.56)
    • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 41 COM 7A.15)
    • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 41 COM 7A.42)
    • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 41 COM 7A.43)
    • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 41 COM 7A.25)
    • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 41 COM 7A.26)
    • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.16)
    • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 41 COM 7A.21)
    • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 41 COM 7A.19)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 41 COM 7A.44)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 41 COM 7A.45)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 41 COM 7A.46)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 41 COM 7A.47)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 41 COM 7A.48)
    • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 41 COM 7A.49)
    • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 41 COM 7A.31)
    • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 41 COM 7A.22)
    • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.17)
    • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.1)
    • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 41 COM 7A.57)
    • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 41 COM 7A.27)
    • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 41 COM 7A.51)
    • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 41 COM 7A.52)
    • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 41 COM 7A.53)
      Draft Decision: 41 COM 7A.10

      The World Heritage Committee,

      1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A,
      2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7A.7 and 40 COM 7A.40, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
      3. Welcomes the establishment of a new Rapid Intervention Force and a Rapid Response Team to further strengthen the State Party’s efforts to effectively address poaching, and also welcomes the increase in surveillance coverage to 60% of the property;
      4. Takes note of the preliminary findings of the inventory of flagship species, including bonobos and elephants, and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit the full findings of the inventories for all flagship species to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as they become available, and based on the results, to also submit an updated Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), which quantifies the indicators, for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
      5. Requests the State Party to provide details of the reported ‘demographic explosion’ in the corridor, comprising of its potential causes, proposed measures to address them and the impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including on the ‘sustainable conservation zones’ that have been identified by the State Party to be of particular importance in the ecological corridor to link the two components of the property;
      6. Noting with appreciation the State Party’s intention to undertake a biological inventory in 2017 to assess the ecological connectivity between the two components of the property, also requests the State Party to submit the findings to the World Heritage Centre once they are available;
      7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to consider further options to improve the connectivity between the ‘sustainable conservation zones’ and the southern component of the property, and further requests the State Party to consider the findings of the above-mentioned biological inventory in reviewing the plan for the Multiple Use Zone;
      8. Further reiterates its request to the State Party to urgently clarify its expression of interest in oil exploration and exploitation in the Central Basin, which includes the property, as communicated to the 2012 mission, 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. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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 42nd session in 2018;
      10. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism to the property;
      11. Also decides to retain Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

      Draft Decision: 41 COM 7A.12

      The World Heritage Committee,

      1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
      2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7A.42, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and reiterating the need to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011,
      3. Condemns the violence perpetrated against the guards and soldiers killed during operations for the protection of the World Heritage properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), addresses its most sincere condolences to their families and expresses its very deep concern as regards the worsening security situation in the properties located in the eastern part of the DRC;
      4. Regrets the delay incurred in the establishment of the Corps responsible for security in the National Parks and Protected Areas (CorPPN) and requests the State Party to provide it, rapidly, with human and financial resources to enable the deployment of contingents to establish security within the properties;
      5. Expresses again its utmost concern as regards the intention of the State Party to officially address the World Heritage Centre to request an IUCN advisory mission to discuss the petroleum issue in the Virunga National Park;
      6. Reiterates with insistence its request to the State Party to cancel the petroleum exploration concession encroaching on the Virunga National Park and to clarify the situation concerning its petroleum interest in Salonga National Park, expressed by the State Party during the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission, and reiterates its position according to which all mineral, petroleum and gas exploration and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, policy supported by the commitments made by industry leaders, such as Shell and Total, not to undertake such activities within World Heritage properties;
      7. Congratulates the State Party for its efforts to mobilize sustainable funding and notes with appreciation the substantial support provided to the properties of the DRC by the donors;
      8. Also congratulates the State Party for the major progress achieved in finalizing the creation of the Trust Fund for the protected areas in the DRC, entitled « Okapi Fund for Conservation – FOCON » and also requests the State Party to take all the necessary legal provisions to render it operational without delay;
      9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, a detailed report on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, on the security situation in the properties, on the status of the petroleum exploration and exploitation concessions that overlap the World Heritage properties, for examination by the Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
      Report year: 2017
      Democratic Republic of the Congo
      Date of Inscription: 1984
      Category: Natural
      Criteria: (vii)(ix)
      Danger List (dates): 1999-2021
      Documents examined by the Committee
      SOC Report by the State Party
      Report (2017) .pdf
      arrow_circle_right 41COM (2017)
      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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