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Okapi Wildlife Reserve

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • 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

In progress

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

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), USD 550,000 from the Government of Norway (2020- 2022)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 4 (from 1993-2012)
Total amount approved : 103,400 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**
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 2021

On 26 March 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, and additional information on 12 March 2021, available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/718/documents, containing the following information:

  • Collaboration between the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN), the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), local chiefs and authorities continues. Some active armed groups have surrendered. The pause in security issues has facilitated conservation activities in the property;
  • Illegal mining persists due to continued insecurity in certain areas of the property and due to the complicity of some local authorities. Patrols identified 57 artisanal mining sites of which 30 active sites were closed by patrols. The closure of the illegal Bapela gold mining site resulted in the eviction of around 5,000 diggers and a rotational post of 15 eco-guards was set up there to prevent the site from reopening. Semi-industrial exploitation persists: 5 dredgers were evacuated but some remain operational in and around the property. The Muchacha mining site is transforming into a permanent settlement;
  • To address poaching and trafficking, patrols, public awareness campaigns and road checks were undertaken. Intelligence networks were set up in surrounding villages to denounce illegal activities. A Centre for the Coordination of Operations (CCOPs) was established to improve surveillance coordination. A cell is in place to monitor legal cases. 151 arrests for illegal activities included trapping, logging and artisanal mining, of which 42 were transferred to judicial authorities and 3 convicted;
  • Patrols covered 47.54% (19,030 km2) of the property (5% in 2017; 47.72% in 2018). Eco-guards were trained in Ebola response, judicial certification, Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) and tactical response; technical, administrative and scientific officers were deployed across stations;
  • Some infrastructures at the Reserve headquarters were rehabilitated;
  • Economic development activities included the supply of agricultural materials to improve the livelihoods of local communities;
  • The participatory boundary demarcation process in the north-west and east of the property has been initiated jointly with the local communities and will be continued in 2021;
  • A socio-economic study was carried out in the Wamba sector in collaboration with the University of Kisangani, however no details were provided;
  • It is planned to revive the Okapi breeding station by capturing some specimens, and to also promote tourism and contribute towards the financing of the property.

The World Heritage Centre received information from the Reserve authorities that a guard post was attacked by illegal miners on 21 April 2020, following an operation by these authorities to evacuate the illegal gold mining site of Bapela. Fortunately, there were no casualties. However, two ICCN guards were killed in another attack on 17 September 2020 at the Adusa post at the entrance to the property. UNESCO has officially condemned this attack. The World Heritage Centre also received a copy of the public-private partnership agreement (PPP) signed by the State Party with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in 2019 for the management of the property.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The reported improvement of the security situation in the property and the continued collaboration between ICCN, FARDC and authorities are encouraging. However, the incidents following the operation to close the Bapela mining site, reports of the fighting at the Muchacha mining site, as well as the assassination of two guards at the post of Adusa at the entrance to the property show that the security situation remains problematic and continues to impact the management of the property. It is recommended that the Committee extend its sincere condolences to the families of the guards killed.

While the on-going efforts to close down various illegal mining sites are welcome, the persistence of illegal mining activities within and around the property, and the reported involvement of some local authorities, remain issues for serious concern, particularly noting that some mining operations appear to have evolved from small-scale artisanal mining to large-scale semi-industrial operations using equipment like dredgers. The development of a permanent settlement at the Muchacha mining site, the largest illegal mining site in the Reserve, is also extremely worrying. It is clear that illegal mining in the property requires strengthened commitment, including at provincial and national levels in order to restore law and order. Overall limited management capacity remains highly concerning. Patrol coverage remains at less than half the property (47%), well below the 60% corrective measure threshold. This is coupled with a lack of new eco-guard recruitment and concerns over insufficient sustainable financing. Furthermore, no information is provided on the update of the Integrated Management Plan (PAG). It is hoped that with the signature of the PPP with WCS, it will be possible to raise additional financial resources for the property, to strengthen the management capacity and update the PAG.

The intention to rehabilitate the okapi breeding station is noted. However, it is recommended that no okapi should be captured before the security situation is stable, considering also that the revival of tourism will remain problematic whilst insecurity persists. It is also recommended that the State Party, as part of the update of the PAG, develop an integrated in-situ and ex-situ okapi conservation strategy and engage best practice expert guidance, such as through the IUCN Species Survival Commission Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group.

The initiation of the participatory boundary demarcation and socio-economic study in the Wamba sector is welcomed. Noting that the unclear western boundary of the Reserve is linked to the numerous illegal mining sites in this area, and given the importance of clarifying this boundary, the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO, with financial support from the Government of Norway, support the demarcation activities (http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/974/).

Although the State Party reports progress with regard to corrective measures, it again does not address various Committee concerns and requests, which are central to objectively assess progress achieved in relation 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). It is proposed that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to provide the SMART data collected in order to enable an assessment of the illegal activities on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and data concerning progress accomplished with regard to the indicators defined in the DSOCR.

Furthermore, despite requests, no data are provided 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 land-use within the property.

It is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism.



46. General decision on the World Heritage properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Current conservation issues

On 26 March 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the implementation of Decision 42 COM 7A.52, available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/718/documents and providing the following information:

  • Progress accomplished in the implementation of the 2011 Kinshasa Declaration and the corrective measures for each of the five properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is described (see Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A);
  • A special army Corps responsible for security of the National Parks and relevant protected areas (CorPPN), which was created in June 2015, is now operational: a command structure was established in 2018, and in 2019 anti-poaching units were dispatched to six priority sites in the DRC, including all five World Heritage properties. Senior officers, logistics and operations rooms were put in place in the different sites;
  • With regard to oil exploitation in Salonga and Virunga National Parks, the report states that oil exploitation, at this stage, does not threaten the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the two properties, as no exploration or exploitation activities are on-going. The report further states that “la volonté traduite à son temps par le gouvernement n’est plus à l’ordre du jour” (sic) (“the will expressed by the government at that time is no longer on the agenda”);
  • A list of funding mobilised for the five properties for the period 2016 to 2023, totalling more than 100 million Euros, is provided. Key donors include the European Commission and the Government of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW). No further information is provided on the status of the Trust Fund “Okapi Fund for Conservation – FOCON” for sustainable funding of the protected areas in the DRC;

The World Heritage Centre also received several letters on alleged human rights abuses by eco-guards in two properties (Salonga and Kahuzi-Biega National Parks). These were forwarded to the protected area authority, the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN). An Independent Review was initiated by WWF, and in Salonga National Park, a code of conduct for the eco-guards and a complaint mechanism were established, while guards have received training on human rights issues.


Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

The operationalization of the CorPPN at the level of each of the World Heritage properties, together with the creation of operational rooms and capacity building of the eco-guards, are important steps to further professionalize law enforcement in the properties and address the continuing threats of poaching, including by professional poaching groups. The reported alleged human rights abuses towards  indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are highly concerning, and it is crucial that the State Party urgently implement strong measures to ensure that the rights of IPLCs are fully respected in all management decisions. Measures should include the establishment of a code of conduct and provision of training on human rights issues for all patrol units that includes appropriate law enforcement techniques with regard to the use of force and forearms, to ensure law enforcement operations are conducted in a way that fully respects the rights of IPLCs, and avoids excessive use of force and loss of human lives, in full respect  of relevant international norms. Furthermore, management processes should follow a rights-based approach and ensure full involvement of all rightsholders and stakeholders, in particular IPLCs, in line with the Policy on World Heritage and Sustainable Development. It is encouraging that the protected area authority and its partners have already taken measures to address these issues and it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to further strengthen these efforts including by establishing and implementing a national code of conduct for eco-guards and a grievance mechanism for human rights abuses, and by training all law enforcement staff on human rights issues as part of regular training. It is also recommended that the outcomes of the Independent Review are taken into consideration.

It is noted that the security situation is reported to have improved in most of the properties. It is important that the State Party takes advantage of this situation to address the drivers of fundamental threats impacting the different properties linked to insecurity and lawlessness. These include the closure of illegal mining operations and reclaiming parts of the properties occupied by armed forces since the start of the conflict. Encouraging achievements so far are the evacuation of illegal occupants in the corridor between the highland and lowland sectors in Kahuzi-Biega National Park and the closure of artisanal gold mines in the hunting areas surrounding Garamba National Park. It is crucial that the protected area authority receives the full support of all appropriate ministries and agencies, as well as traditional and political authorities to achieve this, in line with the 2011 Kinshasa Declaration.

It is concerning however, that issues of insecurity persist, noting particularly in Virunga National Park and Okapi Wildlife Reserve, where, since the previous session of the Committee, a further 25 park staff were killed in armed attacks. It is recommended that the Committee again strongly condemn this violence, address its condolences to the families of the victims and ICCN staff, and express its utmost concern regarding the continuing insecurity in and around Virunga National Park.

The confirmation by the State Party that there is currently no oil exploration or exploitation on-going in Virunga and Salonga National Parks and that the government is currently no longer pursuing oil development projects inside the two properties, is noted. However, as long as the concessions that have been attributed by Presidential Decree to companies for oil blocks overlapping with these properties are not revoked, the potential for oil projects to legally proceed in future remains, thereby continuing to impose a potential threat to the OUV of the properties, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. This potential for extractive activities to occur has been demonstrated again by the legal action taken by certain companies against the State Party, asserting their legal rights to activate concessions. It is therefore recommended that the Committee express its regret that the State Party has neither cancelled these concessions nor provided the Committee with an unequivocal commitment not to authorize any new oil exploration and exploitation within the boundaries of the DRC properties. The Committee should also reiterate its clear position concerning the incompatibility of oil exploration and exploitation with World Heritage status and urge once again the State Party to cancel all concessions for oil blocks that overlap with World Heritage properties. 

The important efforts to mobilize funding for the management of the properties of the DRC and the implementation of corrective measures, as well as the firm commitment of the various donors to provide substantial financial and technical support, are welcomed. However, it is noted that the funding situation remains precarious, in particular for Salonga and Kahuzi-Biega National Parks and Okapi Wildlife Reserve. The importance of a sustainable financing mechanism also needs to be stressed, as all properties currently fully depend on outside project funding supported by international donors, which can be unpredictable and is not sustainable in the long term. In this respect, it is regrettable that no further information was provided on the status and capitalisation of the FOCON Trust Fund.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7A.43
Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 718)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.9, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Presents its sincere condolences to the families of the guards killed in the performance of their duties, and to all the staff of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN);
  4. Welcomes the continued collaboration between ICCN, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and authorities, which has enabled activities in all patrol sectors and facilitated the disarmement of various armed groups in the property;
  5. Reiterates once more its concern regarding the persistent insecurity in the region, which limits surveillance coverage and effective management 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 so as to extend anti-poaching patrol coverage and progressively gain full control of the property;
  6. While noting the efforts undertaken to close artisanal mines, expresses serious concern that illegal mining in the property appears to be intensifying in reported complicity with certain local authorities, with small-scale artisanal mining operations evolving into large-scale semi-industrial operations, and the development of a permanent settlement at the Muchacha mining site;
  7. Considering that illegal mining in the property cannot be addressed by the Reserve authorities alone and that illegal mining is fueling the insecurity in the property and the region, strongly urges the State Party to ensure that all necessary measures are taken at local, provincial and national levels to address illegal mining as a matter of urgency to restore law and order in the property;
  8. Regrets that no information was provided on the updating of the Integrated Management Plan (PAG) for the property and the formalization of the Central Integral Conservation Zone, and urges again the State Party to expedite these processes, 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;
  9. Notes the intention to rehabilitate the okapi breeding station but also urges the State Party to postpone any plans to capture okapi from the wild until the security situation is stable and to develop an integrated in-situ/ex-situ conservation strategy as part of the PAG for the long-term sustainability of okapi within the property, consulting best practice expert guidance, such as the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group;
  10. Also welcomes the initiation of the participatory boundary demarcation process in the north-west and east of the property and the support provided by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre with funding from Norway, and requests the State Party to finalize the full demarcation of the property boundaries;
  11. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to update the data concerning the number of residents in the property and the villages located inside the property in order to assess the impacts of population increases on land-use in the property;
  12. 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 Outstanding Universal Value (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);
  13. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session;
  14. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  15. Also decides to retain Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
44 COM 7A.46
General decision on the World Heritage properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.52, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Appreciates the continued efforts of the State Party to implement the Kinshasa Declaration adopted in 2011, in particular the progress made with the operationalization of Corps responsible for the security of the National Parks and relevant protected areas (CorPPN) at the level of each of the five World Heritage properties in order to face the continuing threats of poaching, including by professional poaching groups;
  4. Notes with significant concern the reports on alleged human rights abuses towards indigenous peoples and local communities during law enforcement operations and requests the State Party to take urgent measures to further strengthen its efforts to address this issue, including by establishing and implementing a national code of conduct for eco-guards and a grievance mechanism for human rights abuses, and by training all protected area staff on human rights issues as part of regular law enforcement training, as well as ensuring that management processes follow a rights-based approach and ensure full involvement of all stakeholders, in particular local and indigenous communities, in line with relevant international norms, the Policy on World Heritage and Sustainable Development, and taking into consideration the outcomes of the Independent Review;
  5. Welcomes the improvement in the security situation in most properties, and urges the State Party to take advantage of this improved security situation to address the fundamental threats to the different properties, including by closing all remaining illegal mining operations and reclaiming parts of the properties occupied by armed forces since the start of the conflict, ensuring the support of all appropriate ministries and agencies as well as traditional and political authorities to achieve this, in line with the 2011 Kinshasa Declaration;
  6. Expresses its utmost concern regarding the continued insecurity in Virunga National Park and Okapi Wildlife Reserve which resulted in further park staff being killed in the line of duty, strongly condemns this violence once again and addresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and all ICCN staff;
  7. While noting the statement by the State Party that the government is currently no longer pursuing oil exploration or exploitation activities within Virunga and Salonga National Parks, strongly regrets that the State Party has not cancelled the oil concessions it has attributed which overlap with these properties, and that it has not yet provided the Committee with a firm commitment not to authorize any oil exploration and exploitation within the boundaries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) World Heritage properties, as requested in previous decisions;
  8. Reiterates its position according to which oil and gas exploration and exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status and also urges once again the State Party to cancel these concessions and to undertake a commitment not to authorize any new oil exploration and exploitation within the boundaries of any World Heritage property;
  9. Commends the efforts of the State Party to make operational the “Okapi Fund for Conservation – FOCON” as the Trust Fund for protected areas in the DRC, and also requests the State Party, and the donor community, to provide it with adequate funding to effectively respond to the management needs of the DRC World Heritage properties;
  10. Also appreciates the important efforts to mobilize funding for the management of the DRC properties and the implementation of the corrective measures, as well as the firm commitment of the various donors to provide substantial financial and technical support, but notes that the funding situation remains precarious, in particular for Salonga and Kahuzi-Biega National Parks and Okapi Wildlife Reserve, and stresses the importance of ensuring a sustainable financing mechanism, while regretting that no further information was provided on the status and capitalisation of the FOCON Trust Fund, and further requests the State Party to report on progress in this regard;
  11. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a detailed report on the implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration, the security situation in the properties, and the status of the oil exploration and exploitation concessions that encroach on World Heritage properties, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session.
44 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/21/44.COM/7A, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/21/44.COM/7A.Add.2.Add),
  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 44 COM 7A.28)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 44 COM 7A.29)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 44 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 44 COM 7A.35)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.39)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.41)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.42)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.43)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.45)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 44 COM 7A.5)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.55)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 44 COM 7A.52)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 44 COM 7A.6)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 44 COM 7A.7)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 44 COM 7A.8)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 44 COM 7A.10)
  • Kenya, Lake Turkana National Parks (Decision 44 COM 7A.47)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 44 COM 7A.11)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 44 COM 7A.12)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 44 COM 7A.13)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 44 COM 7A.14)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 44 COM 7A.15)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 44 COM 7A.48)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 44 COM 7A.1)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 44 COM 7A.2)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 44 COM 7A.3)
  • Mexico, Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California (Decision 44 COM 7B.56)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 44 COM 7A.30)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 44 COM 7A.49)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 44 COM 7A.17)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 44 COM 7A.16)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 44 COM 7A.36)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 44 COM 7A.37)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.50)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 44 COM 7A.33)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 44 COM 7A.53)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 44 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 44 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 44 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 44 COM 7A.21)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 44 COM 7A.22)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 44 COM 7A.23)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 44 COM 7A.4)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 44 COM 7A.51)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 44 COM 7A.54)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 44 COM 7A.31)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 44 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 44 COM 7A.25)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 44 COM 7A.26)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 44 COM 7A.27).
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7A.43

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.9, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Presents its sincere condolences to the families of the guards killed in the performance of their duties, and to all the staff of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN);
  4. Welcomes the continued collaboration between ICCN, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and authorities, which has enabled activities in all patrol sectors and facilitated the disarmement of various armed groups in the property;
  5. Reiterates once more its concern regarding the persistent insecurity in the region, which limits surveillance coverage and effective management 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 so as to extend anti-poaching patrol coverage and progressively gain full control of the property;
  6. While noting the efforts undertaken to close artisanal mines, expresses serious concern that illegal mining in the property appears to be intensifying in reported complicity with certain local authorities, with small-scale artisanal mining operations evolving into large-scale semi-industrial operations, and the development of a permanent settlement at the Muchacha mining site;
  7. Considering that illegal mining in the property cannot be addressed by the Reserve authorities alone and that illegal mining is fueling the insecurity in the property and the region, strongly urges the State Party to ensure that all necessary measures are taken at local, provincial and national levels to address illegal mining as a matter of urgency to restore law and order in the property;
  8. Regrets that no information was provided on the updating of the Integrated Management Plan (PAG) for the property and the formalization of the Central Integral Conservation Zone, and urges again the State Party to expedite these processes, 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;
  9. Notes the intention to rehabilitate the okapi breeding station but also urges the State Party to postpone any plans to capture okapi from the wild until the security situation is stable and to develop an integrated in-situ/ex-situ conservation strategy as part of the PAG for the long-term sustainability of okapi within the property, consulting best practice expert guidance, such as the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group;
  10. Also welcomes the initiation of the participatory boundary demarcation process in the north-west and east of the property and the support provided by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre with funding from Norway, and requests the State Party to finalize the full demarcation of the property boundaries;
  11. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to update the data concerning the number of residents in the property and the villages located inside the property in order to assess the impacts of population increases on land-use in the property;
  12. 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 Outstanding Universal Value (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);
  13. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session in 2022;
  14. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  15. Also decides to retain Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2021
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 (2020) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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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