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World Heritage Convention

Decision 30 COM 7A.8
Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 718)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7A.4, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Expresses its utmost concern over the continued serious threats to the values and integrity of the property, as identified during the May 2006 UNESCO monitoring mission to the property: these included extensive poaching of large mammals and in particular elephants, mining activities inside the property, documented to involve members of both the armed forces and police as well as certain traditional chiefs and dignitaries, as well as uncontrolled migration into the villages situated inside the property;

4. Further expresses concern over the increased illegal timber exploitation in the Ituri region which might affect in the near future the Reserve, as well as over the planned rehabilitation of the National Road RN4, with funding from the World Bank, which is crossing the property and for which no adequate Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted;

5. Commends the State Party, in particular the protected area authority ICCN and its conservation partners, for their joint efforts to address these urgent threats and improve the state of conservation of the property;

6. Urges the State Party to implement immediately the recommendations of the 2006 UNESCO monitoring mission which could constitute possible benchmarks in order to safeguard the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property, and in the interest of conservation, in particular:

a) Take necessary measures to ensure the immediate withdrawal of those military personnel of the DRC army (FARDC) who are involved in poaching, ivory trafficking and illegal mining;

b) Take measures to close down and prevent all illegal mining operations inside the property;

c) Suspend the rehabilitation works on the RN4 national road crossing the property, to allow for a proper Environmental Impact Assessment to be conducted and until proper measures to reduce its expected environmental impact are put in place;

d) Establish a trust fund for the rehabilitation of the DRC World Heritage properties, to which the Government of the DRC committed to contribute at the 2004 UNESCO conference on Heritage in Danger in DRC;

e) Establish permanent cooperation between the political and military authorities at provincial level, the United Nations Organisation Mission to DRC (MONUC) and the management authority of the property ICCN to support the latter's efforts to eliminate illegal activities in and around the property;

f) Take necessary measures, in cooperation with the Government of Uganda, to stop the illegal trafficking of timber, minerals and ivory across the DRC/Uganda border in north-eastern DRC;

g) Prepare a forest zoning plan for the forest areas adjacent to the property to protect the property from negative impacts resulting from unsustainable forest exploitation;

h) Legalize and scale up the pilot system put in place by ICCN to regulate and monitor immigration as well as traffic on the RN4 road, including the establishment of a permit system with transit charges;

i) Take measures to reinforce and reinvigorate the guard force and to improve their efficiency.

7. Recommends the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to contact the CITES Secretariat, in order to investigate the trading networks and countries of destination of the ivory poached in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and other DRC World Heritage properties;

8. Thanks the conservation NGOs working at the property and their supporting donors for their financial support for the conservation and rehabilitation of the property, as well as the Belgian Government for funding the emergency action plan for the property planned in the framework of the second phase of the UNESCO programme for DRC World Heritage properties;

9. Calls on international donors to support the efforts of the State Party to rehabilitate the property;

10. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report before 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property, in particular progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the 2006 UNESCO monitoring mission for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007;

11. Decides to retain Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Code
30 COM 7A.8
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
Focal Point
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2006 Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Decisions Adopted at the 30th Session of the World Heritage Committee (Vilnius, 2006) / Without Annexes
Context of Decision