Note: the following report on the World Heritage properties of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) needs to be read in conjunction with Item 52.
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.9 adopted during its 41st session (Kracow, 2017),
- Condemns the violence perpetrated against the staff of the property and in particular the guards, killed during surveillance operations of the property, and addresses its most sincere condolences to their families;
- Reiterates its concern as regards insecurity which has again led to a reduction in surveillance coverage, and reiterates its request to the State Party to rapidly strengthen the number of guards as well as the budget for the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in order to extend the coverage of the patrols and progressively gain control of the property and drastically reduce poaching that affects the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
- Appreciates the efforts made to strengthen the capacities of the justice stakeholders and the guards and to implement the recommendations of the Mambasa Round Table of May 2013, having achieved a tempering of relations between the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and the local communities and their involvement in the management of the property;
- Warmly welcomes the establishment of a permit system to control the use of the National Road 4 (RN4) and the number of illegal residents, also requests the State Party to update the data concerning the number of residents in the property and also reiterates its request to the State Party to assess the impacts of the increase in populations on the land-use in the property and the villages located along the RN4;
- Reiterates its concern in the face of continuing illegal artisanal mining exploitation in the property and urges the State Party to undertake urgent measures to evacuate these illegal quarries and ensure their rehabilitation;
- Further requests the State Party to update the Integrated Management Plan (PAG), integrating provisions relating to the different zones of the property including the subsistence zones, the Central Integral Conservation Area and the Forestry Concessions for Local Communities, and ensure its immediate implementation;
- Moreover, reiterates its request to the State Party to provide data concerning progress accomplished with regard to the goals defined in the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
- Finally, requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, an updated state of conservation report and the implementation of the above points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019;
- Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
- Also decides to retain Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.