WildLife/UNESCO Heritage in Danger

Web Series

WildLife/UNESCO Heritage in Danger

High-level meeting between authorities from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and UNESCO discusses ways of strengthening protection of the five DRC sites inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, which have suffered from the presence of armed groups and the proliferation of arms as well as a general break down of law and order. - Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey: "It's not news that the globe's wildlife is in danger, due to exploitation and abuse. What would be good news is if we, the international community (including all our multilateral institutions - not only UNESCO) were to coming together to focus resources, effort and political will, perhaps even a sense of ethical commitment to defend our wildlife as a group, as species even if not as individuals.
Whether we understand animals to be a valuable resource of mankind, a global legacy or perhaps even as friends for some of us, there is a tangible worth and ethical value in protecting wildlife."


Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts

A high-level meeting between authorities from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will take place in Kinshasa tomorrow (14 January) to discuss ways of strengthening protection of the five DRC sites inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The meeting will be chaired by the Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

The five sites in danger include Virunga, Garamba, Kahuzi-Biega, and Salonga National Parks, and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, which are home to a unique range of flora and fauna including the Mountain Gorilla and the Okapi.

All of the sites have suffered from political instability in the Great Lakes region over the past two decades. The continued insecurity due to the presence of armed groups and the proliferation of arms as well as a general break down of law and order have lead to massive poaching.

SOUNDBITE (English) Guy Debonnet, World Heritage Centre:
“I think of issues of security, of the involvement of armed groups and sometimes even military of the Congolese army in poaching, and of course the issue of the mining concessions, the oil exploration concessions, some issues related to the cadastre, so where people have been attributed land in the parks illegally during the war time. The World Heritage Committee always has expressed its opinion that these activities are not appropriated to the World Heritage sites.”

The meeting will examine the state of these natural sites, reinforce the commitment to their restoration and safeguarding by Congolese authorities, redefine support provided by the international community and adopt the main lines of a plan of action. Participants will include government ministers and representatives from other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including major donors.

SOUNDBITE (English) Guy Debonnet, World Heritage Centre:
“Over the last couple of years, there has been important investments from the donor’s community in the protection of the sites. And I think everybody is now waiting for clear signal from the government to really address some of the more difficult issues that need a political decision. And, as I said, we hope that the fact that the President has taken the initiative to organise this meeting is a positive sign that this high level political commitment will be forthcoming.”

The Northern White Rhino, which had its home in the Garamba National Park, is feared to have been hunted into extinction, while numbers of the remarkable Okapi – a forest giraffe only found in DRC – and elephant populations are seriously declining. The population of mountain gorillas in Virunga has remained stable but numbers of Grauer’s gorilla in Kahuzi-Biega have plummeted.

Deforestation and habitat loss in Virunga because of illegal charcoal production continue to threaten key gorilla habitat. Illegal artisanal mining is already impacting several of the sites and the attribution of new oil and mining concessions could threaten their World Heritage status.

Details

Language: English

Year of Production: 2011

Length: 2 minutes

Country: Congo

Directors:

  • Muhamed Sacirbey UNTV

Producers:

  • Susan Sacirbey