Natural heritage experts review protected areas in Congo Basin to identify those suitable for World Heritage inscription

20 March 2008 | International news release

As part of the ‘Initiative for World Heritage Forests in Central Africa' , UNESCO's World Heritage Centre organized an expert workshop on March 13-14 in Brazzaville (Congo) to identify the most outstanding protected areas in the Congo Basin and to study their complementarity with sites in the region already inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The workshop was inaugurated by a speech by Mrs. Anglarill, representative to UNESCO for the Republic of the Congo, followed by his Excellency Henri Djombo, Minister of Forest Economy for the Republic of Congo. After a presentation of the working paper by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the panel of experts defined the main ecological domains with similar characteristics and went on to analyse various sites in terms of the four natural criteria defined by the World Heritage Convention as qualifying for "Outstanding Universal Value".

Some protected areas were retained for their potential outstanding universal value. A subsequent analysis focused on the level of management of these protected areas and the level of threats which they are facing.

The recommendations of the workshop are intended to provide guidance to States Parties in the sub-region in their choice of sites to promote for inclusion on the World Heritage List. They also seek to harmonize tentative lists at the regional level and strengthen ties between countries sharing protected areas belonging to the homogenous ecological areas identified.