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World Heritage Convention

Decision 22 BUR V.A.4
World Heritage Sites of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Virunga National Park, Garamba National Park, Kahuzi Biega National Park, Okapi Faunal Reserve

The Bureau recalled that the four sites under consideration were declared as World Heritage in Danger by the Committee, during the years between 1994 and 1997, when the country had been affected by war and civil strife. The Bureau after reviewing the report of the Secretariat, based on the reports received through IUCN and other international NGO partners, decided to:

(i) reiterate the Committee’s concerns for the conservation and management of the four sites and recommended that the Committee retain all four sites in the List of World Heritage in Danger; the Bureau however noted that the political situation in the country was stabilising and that the impact of the war-period on some wildlife populations, such as the rhino population in the Garamba National Park, has been less severe than previously expected;

(ii) request the Secretariat to work with the Permanent Delegation of the State Party to UNESCO regarding the letter sent by the Centre describing the Committee’s recommendations, including the fielding of a high level UNESCO mission to be headed by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, made at its last session in Naples, by drawing attention to those recommendations during a meeting between the Permanent Delegation and the UNESCO Secretariat, scheduled for 25 June 1998, in order to obtain formal responses;

(iii) urge the Centre and IUCN to continue co-operation with NGOs like WWF and WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) to monitor the state of conservation of the sites and ensure that the two vehicles purchased for Garamba and Kahuzi Biega National Parks, using US$ 45,000 approved by the Committee in Naples, are safely delivered to the sites as soon as possible;

(iv) request the Chairperson of the Committee to authorise the Centre, subject to the receipt of evidence of the safe transfer and delivery of one vehicle each to Garamba and Kahuzi Biega, to use an additional US$ 45,000 for the purchase, transfer and delivery of one vehicle each for Virunga and Okapi in accordance with the recommendation made by the Committee at its last session; and

(v) decided to consider replenishing the emergency assistance allocation of US$ 500,000 approved by the Committee for 1998 during its last session in Naples, and which had been already exhausted, during its discussions on international assistance requests (Agenda item 8), so that additional requests submitted by the Democratic Republic of Congo for undertaking scientific studies, in co-operation with international NGOs, to evaluate the impacts of the war on selected indicator species in Kahuzi Biega National Park, could be considered for support by the Chairperson of the Committee.

Context of Decision