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Decision 44 COM 7A.39
Manovo Gounda St. Floris National Park (Central African Republic) (N 475)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.5, adopted at its 43nd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Notes with concern that the security situation in the region deteriorated again in early 2020 but expresses its hope that the bilateral agreement signed in June 2020 between the Government and the main armed group operating in the area will help to further stabilize the region and facilitate re-starting conservation activities in the property;
  4. Recalling its deepest concern regarding the conclusions of the 2019 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission according to which the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is highly questionable, indicating an almost total disappearance of large mammals, and that the integrity of the property is also questionable due to combined heavy pressure from poaching, regional transhumance, illegal fishing and artisanal mining exploitation, as well as a total lack of surveillance and management since 2012;
  5. Welcomes the preliminary results of the 2020 biodiversity surveys which documented herds of derby eland, hartebeest, roan, kob and waterbuck as well as isolated groups of hippopotamus, buffalo and giraffe and confirmed the presence of elephant, bongo, giant forest hog, lion, wild dog and hyena in the property, and requests the State Party to report on the final survey results when available and to ensure that conditions are implemented to enable the recovery of these wildlife populations over time including to bring poaching under control;
  6. Notes with concern the significant presence of pastoralists and cattle, as well as a tendency towards more sedentary breeding of livestock and poaching in some areas of the property and also requests the State Party to fully implement without delay the transhumance management strategy which foresees to establish permitted zones and transhumance corridors outside the property and to continue its efforts to increase the transboundary cooperation with the State Party of Chad to address transhumance including through the establishment of a transborder protected area complex;
  7. Takes note of the proposed priority zone for conservation, and urges the State Party to initiate without delay surveillance operations in this area;
  8. Also welcomes the significant funding provided by the Government of Norway, which allows the World Heritage Centre to support the implementation of the corrective measures and the continued support of the European Commission for the conservation of the natural resources in the North-Eastern Protected Areas Complex and calls again on the States Parties to the Convention and the public and private donors to support the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) agreement signed by the State Party with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for the management of the property and the implementation of the emergency plan;
  9. Reiterates its concern regarding the petroleum exploration activities in the petroleum block A and reiterates it requests to the State Party to:
    1. Clarify the situation of the petroleum block A and the exploration blocks I, II and III and ensure that no license overlaps the property, in conformity with national legislation and the property’s World Heritage status,
    2. Analyze the direct and indirect impacts on its OUV of all envisaged petroleum projects in the vicinity of the property, with an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in line with international standards and to submit this ESIA to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN before granting any exploitation license, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Reiterates its established position regarding mining and petroleum exploration and exploitation being incompatible with World Heritage status, a 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;
  11. Further requests the State Party to finalize the ESIA for the rehabilitation project of the National Road 8 Ndélé-Birao to assess the direct and indirect impacts on the property, prioritizing the less prejudicial option for its integrity, with appropriate accompanying measures, and to submit the ESIA to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, before taking a final decision on the project, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  12. Requests furthermore 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;
  13. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  14. Also decides to retain Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Central African Republic) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Documents
WHC/21/44.COM/18
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision
WHC-21/44.COM/7A