Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (N 137)

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The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.5, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Expresses its sincere condolences to the family of the guard killed during the execution of operations carried out for the protection of the property;
  4. Welcomes the continued efforts by the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) with assistance from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) in securing the property, strengthening surveillance and closing illegal mines but expresses its concern that surveillance coverage area decreased to 34% of the property in 2015 due to the late release of funds;
  5. Expresses its utmost concern about the conclusions presented in the 2016 WCS/FFI/ICCN (Wildlife Conservation International/Fauna and Flora International/ICCN) report on the status of Grauer’s gorilla and eastern chimpanzee, which demonstrate that population of Grauer’s gorilla is estimated to have declined by 77% across its range and by 87% in the lowland sectors of the property, making it now critically endangered, and emphasizes the crucial importance of increasing efforts to protect Grauer’s gorilla in the property to safeguard its continued survival;
  6. Also notes with significant concern that mining and the associated bushmeat hunting are identified in the WCS/FFI/ICCN report as the most critical threat to Grauer’s gorilla and eastern chimpanzee across their range, including in the property;
  7. Strongly urges the State Party to close fully all remaining mines in the property as a matter of utmost priority and ensure that they are not re-occupied and to take stronger measures to stop the consumption and trade of bushmeat, and ensure a focus on stopping the illegal trade of great apes;
  8. Takes note of the State Party’s confirmation that no mining concessions are active within the property and requests the State Party to confirm that all exploratory mining concessions given by the Mining Cadastre have been cancelled;
  9. Further notes that the “National Forum on Governance and Enhancement of the Property” reportedly resulted in the stabilization of destructive activities linked to illegal farms in the ecological corridor between the lowland and highland sectors of the property and that some recovery of vegetation has been observed in the areas where encroachment was previously addressed, and also requests the State Party to accelerate the actions to prevent damage to and encroachment of the ecological corridor, which is crucial to ensure the ecological continuity between the highland and lowland sectors of the property, and to submit more details on the status of the corridor with maps showing areas where encroachment has been removed, and which are regenerating, and which areas are still encroached;
  10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission as soon as the final results of the inventory are available, to assess the state of conservation of the property, update the corrective measures, and establish a timeframe for their implementation as well as the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  11. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, 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 41st session in 2017;
  12. Decides to continue to apply the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  13. Also decides to retain Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
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