1.         Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 718)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1997-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

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 identified

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 

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/718/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1993-2012)
Total amount approved: USD 103,400
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/718/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

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)

Previous monitoring missions

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

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/718/

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:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

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.

Decision Adopted: 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.

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 8C.2

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: