1.         Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 280)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1984

Criteria  (vii)(ix)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1999-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

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 identified

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

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet identified

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/280/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1985-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 149,900
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/280/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

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

Previous monitoring missions

2007 and 2012: 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/280/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 15 March 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/136/documents/, providing the following information:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The State Party and its partners continue to deploy important efforts in the implementation of the corrective measures, improvement in the efficiency of property management and strengthening the involvement of stakeholders concerned with decisional processes. These efforts, supported by surveillance patrols within the property, are favourably welcomed. However, no information is provided on the voluntary resettlement outside the Park of the Yaelima communities, as mentioned in the last report. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to continue its efforts to find a sustainable solution to settle the land conflicts, the autonomisation of the local communities, and the reinforcement of the process of community ownership of community forests in the buffer zone of the Park and the corridor.

The results of the biological inventories and the establishment of an integrated ecological monitoring plan are warmly welcomed. These results are encouraging and appear to show that the viable populations of the different flagship species are maintained, even if the elephant population (1,562) remains very low given the capacity of the Park, estimated at 14,000 individuals. It is recommended that the detailed reports of the different inventories be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN as soon as the analyses are completed.

The State Party is encouraged to develop a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) with appropriate indicators based on the data resulting from these studies, and to submit the DSOCR to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN.

Although mentioned in the report as a threat likely to impact the OUV of the property, it is regrettable that the State Party has not provided fuller clarification concerning the attribution of petroleum blocks overlapping the property. According to information received by the World Heritage Centre and transmitted to the State Party on 12 April 2019, a production sharing contract production with the “Compagnie Minière Congolaise (CoMiCo) was signed by the outgoing President on 13 December 2018 for petroleum blocks overlapping the property boundaries. No response has been received at the time of preparation of this report. In its Decision 42 COM 7A.50 (Manama 2018), the Committee reminded the State Party that petroleum exploration and/or exploitation was incompatible with World Heritage status. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its position on the fact that petroleum and gas exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status and it requests the State Party to immediately cancel these licenses. The Committee may also remind the State Party that all proposals to modify the boundaries of World Heritage properties regarding the extractive industries must be made in compliance with the procedure applicable for important modifications of boundaries, detailed in Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, given the potential impact of such projects on the OUV.

Due to the political situation, the State Party did not invite the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission, in conformity with Decision 42 COM 7A.50, to assess the state of conservation of the property, update the corrective measures and establish a timetable for their implementation. It is recommended that the Committee reiterates this request to the State Party and maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.   

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7A.10

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined document WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.50, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Congratulates the State Party for the efforts undertaken with its partners in the implementation of the corrective measures and improvement in the management efficiency of the property, and encourages the State Party to reinforce its cooperation efforts with its partners;
  4. Launches an appeal to donors to continue their financial support in the implementation of the corrective measures and in security for the management of the property;
  5. Favourably welcomes the measures undertaken for the local communities and requests the State Party to continue its efforts for the autonomization of the local communities and the continuation of the community ownership process of the community forests in the buffer zone of the Park and the corridor between the two blocks of the Park;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that the resettlement procedure outside of the Park of the Yaelima communities is voluntary and in accordance with the policies of the Convention and the relevant international standards, including the principles of free, prior and informed consent (CPLCC), fair compensation, access to social advantages and the preservation of cultural rights;
  7. Regrets that the report provided no information on the petroleum project, expresses its very keen concern as regards the granting of petroleum licenses within the property, and urges the State Party to cancel the current petroleum concessions and not to authorize the granting of new concessions in the property and its periphery that could have negative and irreversible effects on its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  8. Reiterates its established position concerning the gas and petroleum exploitation and/or exploration being incompatible with World Heritage status, policy supported by the commitments undertaken by the leaders of the industry, such as Shell and Total, not to engage in such activities in World Heritage properties;
  9. Recalls that modifications concerning the boundaries of World Heritage properties in respect of extractive industries must be carried out in conformity with the procedure applicable to important boundary modifications, detailed in Paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, in view of the potential impact of such projects on the OUV, and also recalls that all proposals for the modification of the boundaries of World Heritage properties must be based on the strengthening of its OUV and must not be proposed with a view to facilitating extractive activities;
  10. Takes note of the positive results of the biological inventories and the setting up of an integrated ecological monitoring plan, and also requests the State Party to submit the results of the biological inventories to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN as soon as they are available, as well as the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), with appropriate indicators based on the data resulting from these inventories;
  11. Also reiterates its request to, the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission, in compliance with Decision 42 COM 7A.50, to assess the state of conservation of the property, update the corrective measures and establish a timetable for their implementation;
  12. Further 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;
  13. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  14. Also decides to retain Salonga National Park (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: