Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Okapi Wildlife Reserve

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Mining
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Intensive 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  http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/5983   

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Adopted, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/5983 

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019

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 2019
Requests approved: 4 (from 1993-2012)
Total amount approved : 103,400 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**
1996 and 2006: UNESCO World Heritage Centre monitoring missions; 2009 and 2014: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 15 March 2019, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/718/documents/, providing the following information on the implementation of the corrective measures:

  • A high-level meeting was organized between the Directorate of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) to improve their collaboration, including the withdrawal of the military from all mining areas within the Reserve;
  • An army battalion is now permanently stationed at the property to allow for joint operations to secure the area. This already resulted in the dismantling of several armed groups;
  • Law enforcement efforts have continued, achieving 47.72% area coverage in 2018 (49.5% in 2017). The surveillance system has been strengthened with the training of newly recruited ecoguards and the provision of additional financial and material resources. Two overflights were conducted allowing the mapping of key threats inside the property and drafting of a monitoring strategy;
  • An overall strategy for the closure of artisanal mines in the property has been developed and requires validation at the national level and appropriate law enforcement equipment as well as funding before it can be implemented. Meanwhile, a few quarries have been evacuated, including the closure of the ‘BAPELA’ quarry, and there is now a permanent ecoguard presence in this old quarry located in the eastern part of the property;
  • Regular patrols are organized along the National Road 4 (RN4) to prevent illegal mining and human migratory influx, and the road remains closed to traffic at night;
  • The Integrated Management Plan (PAG) for the property is obsolete and its revision is planned for 2019. The Central Integral Conservation Zone has been established and its validation with the local communities is being finalized;
  • Awareness-raising workshops were organized to improve the relationship between Reserve staff and local communities in line with the National Community Conservation Strategy;
  • During 2018, progress towards establishing community forest areas adjacent to the property was made through several awareness-raising meetings with local traditional authorities, leading to the signing of land use plans.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

The State Party’s ongoing efforts to implement the corrective measures are welcomed, but the continued presence or armed groups in the property, which hampers park management activities and threatens the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, is noted with concern. The improved cooperation with the armed forces, allowing more joint patrols to secure the Reserve and the removal of all military positions should be welcomed. Surveillance coverage continues to stagnate for the third consecutive year. The limited extent of law enforcement raises significant concerns regarding the persistence of poaching with control efforts hampered by continued insecurity and resource limitations. Moreover, no detail is provided on the SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) data collected to enable an assessment of the illegal activities on the OUV of the property.

The progress made in closing the mines inside the property is appreciated, and the fact that the army has agreed to evacuate the mining quarries is a significant development. While taking note of the fact that a strategy was developed and its approval and funding for its implementation is needed, full priority should be given to close and rehabilitate all remaining illegal artisanal mines inside the property. Furthermore, no update is provided on the progress in rehabilitating these quarries.

It is of concern that despite the State Party previously reporting that the update of the PAG was a priority for 2018, this has still not been undertaken and it is strongly recommended that the State Party expedite its completion. In addition, priority should be given to validating the boundaries of the Central Integral Conservation Zone.

The State Party’s report responds to the corrective measures, but not to Committee Decision 42 COM 7A.49, regarding the request to update the data concerning the number of residents in the property and to assess the impacts of the increased populations on the land-use in the property and the villages located along the RN4. Furthermore, no update is provided concerning progress towards achieving the indicators defined in the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as requested by the Committee in its Decision 41 COM 7A.9.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7A.9
Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 718)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 41 COM 7A.9 and 42 COM 7A.49, adopted at its 41st (Krakow, 2017) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Reiterates its concern for the continued insecurity, which limits surveillance coverage of the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party to rapidly strengthen the number and capacity of guards, as well as the budget for the property in order to extend the coverage of the patrols and progressively gain full control of the property and drastically reduce the poaching that affects the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  4. Welcomes the improved cooperation with the armed forces, allowing more joint patrols to secure the property and resulting in the military evacuating its positions in the property, including the mining quarries;
  5. Appreciates the actions taken to close some artisanal mines and urges again the State Party to undertake urgent measures to close all illegal artisanal mines within the property and ensure their rehabilitation;
  6. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to update the data concerning the number of residents in the property and the villages located along the National Road (RN4) to assess the impacts of the increase in populations on the land-use in the property;
  7. Notes the delay in updating the Integrated Management Plan (PAG) for the property and the validation of the Central Integral Conservation Zone, and also urges the State Party to expedite the updating of the PAG, integrating provisions relating to the different zones of the property, including the subsistence zones, the Central Integral Conservation Zone and forestry concessions for local communities, and ensure its immediate implementation;
  8. Further reiterates its request to the State Party to provide the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) data collected to enable an assessment of the illegal activities on the OUV of the property and data concerning progress accomplished with regard to the indicators defined in the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020;
  10. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  11. Also decides to retain Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
43 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/19/43.COM/7A, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3 and WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3.Corr),
  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 43 COM 7A.41)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision43 COM 7A.42)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 43 COM 7A.45)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 43 COM 7A.48)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.5)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.8)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.9)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.10)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.11)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 43 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.4)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 43 COM 7A.1)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 43 COM 7A.18)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 43 COM 7A.19)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 43 COM 7A.20)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 43 COM 7A.22)
  • Kenya, Lake Turkana National Parks (Decision 43 COM 7A.12)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 43 COM 7A.23)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 43 COM 7A.24)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 43 COM 7A.25)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 43 COM 7A.26)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 43 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 43 COM 7A.13)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 43 COM 7A.53)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 43 COM 7A.54)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 43 COM 7A.55)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 43 COM 7A.43)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 43 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 43 COM 7A.30)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 43 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 43 COM 7A.50)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 43 COM 7A.51)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.15)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 43 COM 7A.46)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 43 COM 7A.2)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 43 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 43 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 43 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 43 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 43 COM 7A.35)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 43 COM 7A.36)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 43 COM 7A.56)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 43 COM 7A.47)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 43 COM 7A.16)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 43 COM 7A.3)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 43 COM 7A.44)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 43 COM 7A.52)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 43 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 43 COM 7A.39)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 43 COM 7A.40)
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.9

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 41 COM 7A.9 and 42 COM 7A.49, adopted at its 41st (Krakow, 2017) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Reiterates its concern for the continued insecurity, which limits surveillance coverage of the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party to rapidly strengthen the number and capacity of guards, as well as the budget for the property in order to extend the coverage of the patrols and progressively gain full control of the property and drastically reduce the poaching that affects the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  4. Welcomes the improved cooperation with the armed forces, allowing more joint patrols to secure the property and resulting in the military evacuating its positions in the property, including the mining quarries;
  5. Appreciates the actions taken to close some artisanal mines and urges again the State Party to undertake urgent measures to close all illegal artisanal mines within the property and ensure their rehabilitation;
  6. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to update the data concerning the number of residents in the property and the villages located along the National Road (RN4) to assess the impacts of the increase in populations on the land-use in the property;
  7. Notes the delay in updating the Integrated Management Plan (PAG) for the property and the validation of the Central Integral Conservation Zone, and also urges the State Party to expedite the updating of the PAG, integrating provisions relating to the different zones of the property, including the subsistence zones, the Central Integral Conservation Zone and forestry concessions for local communities, and ensure its immediate implementation;
  8. Further reiterates its request to the State Party to provide the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) data collected to enable an assessment of the illegal activities on the OUV of the property and data concerning progress accomplished with regard to the indicators defined in the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020;
  10. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  11. Also decides to retain Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2019
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 (2019) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 43COM (2019)
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.


top