The Ability of Environmental Treaties to Address Environmental Problems in Post-Conflict
The Ability of Environmental Treaties to Address Environmental Problems in Post-Conflict
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines how international environmental law pertains in the transition phase from armed conflict to peace (post-conflict). Environmental treaties have the ability to fill an institutional and a normative gap in a post-conflict context, which is often characterized by institutional collapse and low priority of environmental protection work. Most environmental treaties have treaty bodies that can ensure that the treaties apply to protect the environment, also after armed conflict, and could therefore be of relevance in the search for a framework of jus post bellum. The argument is supported by describing the application of the World Heritage Convention in relation to the armed conflicts taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In the DRC, the treaty bodies established under the Convention have provided various means to protect the natural World Heritage Sites. Other similar environmental treaties may have an important role in the jus post bellum.
In this chapter, I argue that environmental treaties, commonly sharing four elements, can be useful to address challenges to protect and restore the environment arising during the transition from armed conflict to peace (post-conflict). The elements consist of: (1) treaty bodies (also referred to in this chapter as treaty institutions) with a broad mandate to make appropriate use of the other elements; (2) loosely worded provisions; (3) supportive compliance systems; and (4) ability to cooperate with other institutions. The elements enable the environmental treaties to adapt to the specific context of post-conflict and fill a normative as well as an institutional gap to safeguard the environment. As international environmental treaties encapsulate obligations attached to the international community to address environmental damage, which may also serve as a means to achieve a sustainable peace in post-conflict, they may be of particular relevance for the search of a jus post bellum framework.1 As explained by Carsten Stahn, jus post bellum may be viewed as a legal framework gathering rules from different bodies of international law that apply in the blurred phase between war and peace.2 Environmental treaties can offer types of measures that are relevant both in peacetime, wartime, and in post-conflict. For instance, they have the potential through their treaty bodies to engage various stakeholders in responding to environmental damage, and thereby, further the principle of international cooperation, which has been identified as a crucial requirement in peacebuilding and the jus post bellum framework.3
(p.74) To exemplify and explain my argument, I examine the application of the World Heritage Convention4 in relation to the armed conflicts taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (‘DRC’)5 to protect its five natural World Heritage Sites.6 In the case of the DRC, the World Heritage Convention has fostered cooperation among the international community to safeguard the World Heritage Sites during and after the armed conflicts taking place in the region. My analysis shows that the World Heritage Convention is useful as a tool to guide states, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (‘NGOs’), and other stakeholders in the protection and restoration of natural World Heritage in a post-conflict context. Other environmental treaties with a comparable structure could be of similar use to protect and restore other aspects of the environment.
The chapter is structured as follows. The next Section (3.2) describes the environmental problems related to armed conflict. Section 3.3 describes the application of the World Heritage Convention in relation to the armed conflicts in the DRC and its structural elements that enable the convention, and potentially other environmental treaties, to influence the environmental protection during and after armed conflict. In the final Section (3.4), I provide some conclusions on how environmental treaties add to the concept of jus post bellum.
3.2 Problems in Environmental Protection Work Related to Armed Conflicts
Armed conflicts can cause direct as well as indirect harm to the environment in different ways.7 In the DRC, the warfare has severely affected five natural World Heritage Sites and threatened, among other species, the endangered mountain gorillas.8 Armed groups have used the inaccessibility of the Sites for their military (p.75) operations, as hiding places, and to set up base camps for planning and launching attacks.9 The armed groups have also entered World Heritage Sites for the purpose of exploiting natural resources by engaging in artisanal mining, charcoal production, and wildlife poaching. The revenues sustain their military operations and provide personal profit.10 To deny rebel groups their cover, the Congolese Army has entered the World Heritage Sites where it has jeopardized the integrity of the Sites by, for example, cutting down trees and placing army camps inside the Sites.11 In addition, poor discipline, irregular pay, and lack of food have resulted in the growing participation of the Congolese Army in such illegal activities. Several army members have collaborated with rebel groups in the illegal charcoal trade. The army uses their official positions to facilitate exploitation of the dealers bypassing any official controls.12 Such practice establishes a parallel administration system. This is one example of how the exploitation of natural resources and wildlife can continue without being addressed by the authorities, which is common in post-conflict. The existing governmental structures are often disrupted followed by an ‘institutional vacuum’ and lack of governance, which particularly affects the environmental work in the transition from conflict to peace.13 Moreover, due to the lack of investment in the infrastructure in war-torn societies, these problems can continue and accelerate well into the post-conflict period.14 Poor infrastructure affects a state’s ability to handle waste, sewage, or provide sanitation, water, and fuel. This is particularly noticeable when dealing with large numbers of displaced persons generated by armed conflicts. Pollution, like water contamination or deforestation, is often caused by the large concentrations of displaced persons living without sanitary facilities, access to fuel, or waste removal services.15 (p.76) For example, after the Rwandan genocide in 1994, approximately 720,000 displaced persons were permitted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (‘UNCHR’) to settle in and around Virunga National Park, one of the Congolese World Heritage Sites.16 The UNCHR allowed the displaced population to cut firewood inside the site due to the lack of fuel. This led to deforestation of an area of 300 km2 that imperilled the unique ecosystem and threatened the mountain gorillas.17
Armed conflict also generates practical challenges to addressing post-conflict environmental damage. One of the main challenges in undertaking environmental work in post-conflict situations is the absence of human and technical capacity. Foreign and national staff with higher education is often evacuated first during armed conflict. As there is a shortage of competent staff, operative facilities, intact premises, and financial means as a result of an armed conflict, much of the environmental protection work halts. Furthermore, in the aftermath of an armed conflict, most stakeholders involved in rehabilitation and restoration are mainly focused on humanitarian assistance and democracy issues, while the environment is a low priority.18 Nevertheless, in war-torn societies, managing natural resources has been highlighted as an important aspect to meet basic needs of the population, such as providing water, food, shelter, and livelihoods, to reconstruct the financial system, and to re-build governmental structure.19 Environmental degradation has the potential to endanger health, livelihoods, and security of the population.20 The states that are unable to give their population the support they require may create additional environmental degradation and foster further conflicts. As the war-torn states’ incomes often end up in private pockets they become financially exhausted. For example, in the DRC, a large number of public officials benefit from the wars on a personal level and the revenues of the natural resources do not enrich the state. The DRC remains unable to build strong governmental institutions, and the environmental degradation continues and, as a result, the population suffers.21 Consequently, infrastructure deteriorates, governmental institutions become non-functioning and public officials are underpaid, if paid at all, which further nurtures corruption and instability. The environmental damage caused in relation to armed conflict impedes the outlook for peace and for the societies to recover.22
As described above, the transition from conflict to peace is often characterized by the lack of governmental control and institutional collapse. This is a challenge for undertaking environmental protection work and implementing international environmental law, which rely heavily on institutions of the state. If these are not in place, little can be achieved in that area. Still, environmental treaties may be prominent in such situations. Environmental treaties’ application is dependent on the treaty system and its treaty bodies, rather than states’ domestic institutions.23 I use the example of the application of the World Heritage Convention in the DRC to illustrate the potential of environmental treaties in post-conflict.
The World Heritage Convention has played a central role in attempting to protect the natural World Heritage from the adverse impacts of the numerous armed conflicts taking place in the DRC since 1996.24 During the armed conflicts, four out of the five Congolese Sites have been under rebel control.25 For that reason, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (hereinafter referred to as Congolese Wildlife Authority), a Congolese state organization entrusted with the management of the World Heritage Sites, requested support for protection of the Sites.26 As response, a pilot project titled Biodiversity Conservation in Regions of Armed Conflict: Conserving World Heritage Sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC project) was launched under the convention.27 The project aims at (p.78) providing rudimentary protection of the universal values of World Heritage in relation to armed conflict by empowering the international society to respond in such situations.28
The ability to launch the project under the World Heritage Convention and adopt measures to meet the challenges related to armed conflicts has been facilitated by four elements regarding its character, structure, and operation. These elements include: (1) broad mandate of the treaty institutions to apply the convention; (2) open-ended treaty provisions; (3) non-confrontational compliance system focused on supportive application measures; and (4) the possibility of the treaty bodies to cooperate with other environmental treaty bodies as well as with other actors including states, international organizations, NGOs, and private actors.29 The elements are structural components of how most environmental treaties are managed and applied. They are assets contributing to the creation of dynamic instruments competent to adopt context-based measures. By enabling innovative context-based strategies to achieve treaty objectives, the World Heritage Convention has contributed to filling the post-conflict institutional and legal gap in the DRC to protect and restore the natural World Heritage Sites. Therefore, practice developed could be of significance while identifying the legal norms of jus post bellum.
In the first subsection, I briefly introduce the World Heritage Convention , and in the second subsection, I examine the application of the World Heritage Convention in relation to the armed conflicts in the DRC.
3.3.1 The World Heritage Convention
The World Heritage Convention protects natural and cultural World Heritage of unique value to humankind. As the World Heritage Convention also focuses on cultural heritage, it goes beyond the scope of environmental protection. Nevertheless, it is structured and operates like most environmental treaties. Pursuant to Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention, the states parties to the convention are under the obligation to identify, protect, and preserve, for future generations, the cultural and natural World Heritage situated in their territory. Article 6(3) of the World Heritage Convention requires all states parties to not deliberately cause direct or indirect damage to the World Heritage Sites situated in other states parties’ territory. To enhance protection, pursuant to Article 11(2), states parties can nominate sites in their territory to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. To be added onto the list, a natural World Heritage Site has to fulfil the requirements set out in Article 2 of the convention by having outstanding value to humankind. The World Heritage List is supported by a separate ‘List of World Heritage in Danger’ (the ‘Danger List’), provided for in Article 11(4) (p.79) World Heritage Convention. This is the case when a site’s integrity is threatened by certain events and requires enhanced protection. The ‘outbreak of an armed conflict’ is expressly identified as such an event.30 All the Sites in the DRC have been put on the Danger List partly because of the wars.31
3.3.2 Making use of the four elements in relation to the Congolese armed conflicts
To respond to the challenges facing the Congolese natural World Heritage Sites , as described in Section 3.2, several supportive measures have been undertaken within the project that was launched under the World Heritage Convention—thanks to the four elements. The treaty bodies of the World Heritage Convention have used their wide mandate (first element) by interpreting the loosely formulated provisions (second element) and applying the supportive compliance system (third element) to realize the measures of the project. The project has employed a partnership approach establishing international cooperation of the treaty bodies with other actors (fourth element), including the UNESCO,32 other UN agencies and UN programmes, Congolese Wildlife Authority and other national governmental bodies, states, international organizations, as well as NGOs active in the DRC.33
I will analyse how the four elements have enabled the environmental protection measures of the Sites under the project in the following sub-subsections. To this end, I will make some general remarks on the similarities/differences of the World Heritage Convention with the other environmental treaties, mainly with the Ramsar Convention as it also protects specific areas of international environmental importance.
The World Heritage Committee (‘Committee’) is the executive treaty body and has decision-making powers for applying the World Heritage Convention. The Committee has a broad mandate to ensure effective application of the World Heritage Convention, including defining and developing the provisions of the convention by adopting decisions, recommendations, and guidelines.34 The treaty bodies are central for most environmental treaties’ efficiency as they enable the instruments to be revised, developed, and adjusted to shifting conditions.35 As the bodies are empowered to direct the general goals of the treaties within the limits of the treaty provisions, they can adopt various measures guided by the circumstances and practical considerations. Hence, the establishment of treaty institutions with degrees of context-based decision-making authority would enable them to adjust measures to respond to armed conflict related damage. For instance, such decision-making authority has made it possible for the Committee to instigate the specific project aimed at protecting the World Heritage Sites in relation to the armed conflicts in the DRC. Within the framework of the DRC project, the treaty institutions of the World Heritage Convention have undertaken various activities that make use of the other elements to safeguard the environment of the Sites despite the conditions of armed conflict. These include enacting green diplomacy36 between the parties of the conflicts to advocate neutrality of the World Heritage Sites and their staff, providing support and equipment to the park management, and attracting other stakeholders to endorse the project’s aim.37
Most environmental treaties have, similarly to the World Heritage Convention, established an institutional structure. While the World Heritage Convention has a General Assembly with representation of all states parties, most environmental treaties have the equivalent of a ‘Conference of the Parties’ (‘COP’).38 In contrast (p.81) to most other environmental treaties, the World Heritage Convention has assigned all the decision-making competencies to the executive organ—the Committee—as opposed to the COP (or the General Assembly in the case of the World Heritage Convention).39 The Committee consists of twenty-one states parties, which makes decision-making smoother than if it were to go through the all the states parties in the General Assembly of the Convention. As the institutions under most environmental treaties share the broad mandate to develop the provisions; therefore they too may be able to instigate comparable projects to address war-torn environments, although the process has to go through the convention’s COP, which may prolong and obstruct the process.
B. Second element: open-ended provisions
The second element is closely connected to the first. The World Heritage Convention is a framework convention with open-ended provisions providing general principles and flexible obligations. Therefore, the treaty institutions must further develop the provisions into substantive rules by adopting secondary decisions and/or recommendations.40 For instance, Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention calls for states parties to do all they can to protect World Heritage ‘to the utmost of [their] own resources’. Likewise, Article 5 states that each state party ‘shall endeavour, in so far as possible, and as appropriate for each country … to take the appropriate legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary for the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and rehabilitation’ of its World Heritage Sites. The wording used in both these articles does not prescribe exact conduct of the states parties but allows a degree of discretion to adapt the measures.41
This element applies to most environmental treaties. There are two underlying reasons explaining why most environmental treaties use flexibly worded provisions. Firstly, because of the struggle to achieve political consensuses on global environmental issues, the treaties replicate compromises of negotiations.42 The conventions provide platforms for continued dialogue on unsettled issues putting much emphasis on the process of developing the rules, in which the treaty institutions play the key role. Secondly, because of the particularities of environmental problems, they need to be addressed using a less formal approach that can be modified to consider specific geographical, economic, and social factors of the states parties or evolution of scientific (p.82) knowledge.43 The treaty provisions provide enough discretion so they offer an adjustable and context-based response.44
In the case of the DRC, the flexibility incorporated in the convention provisions has enabled the Committee to interpret the measures to address specially the unsecure situations in the DRC and the particular challenges. Because of the armed conflicts, the World Heritage Sites as well as the park rangers are imperilled. The conflicts have partly taken place in the remote areas of the World Heritage Sites where the park rangers patrol the Sites. Thus, the rangers have ended up inside the war zone and they have been exposed to risks, in particular as they carry weapons while on duty.45 Interpreting Article 5 of the convention, the Committee has called for the state party (the DRC) to employ the Congolese Army to protect the World Heritage Sites and the park rangers as an appropriate measure. The suggested measure has been adapted to the realities and the challenges of the national context of the DRC. As a result, the Congolese Army have collaborated and performed joint patrols and exchanged information with the park rangers. It has also assisted in monitoring the Sites and has taken measures to disarm and evacuate armed groups inside the World Heritage Sites. The Committee has also requested military support for the park rangers as a measure under Article 5 of the convention, including that the park rangers must be provided with adequate arms and ammunition.46 The park rangers have received weapons and ammunition to some extent. The assistance of the army is well established, but it has not been formalized. It takes place on an ad hoc and short-term basis depending on the locations of the rebel groups as well as on the security needs of the Sites.47 A special environmental brigade was installed in the World Heritage Site of Garamba National Park. In the central sector of Virunga National Park, a mixed brigade consisting of both members of the Congolese Army and park rangers has been established to secure this area.48
The support of the army has been somewhat problematic. Since many Congolese Army soldiers are underpaid, if paid at all, they have been involved in illegal activities harming the World Heritage Sites. Thus, there have been some violent confrontations between the park rangers and the army. Such confrontations have resulted in the Committee demanding the Congolese Army to relocate its military posts from the Sites.49 Furthermore, it requested the DRC to prosecute its staff engaged (p.83) in wildlife poaching and illegal exploitation of natural resources.50 However, in the case with the mixed brigade in Virunga National Park, the park authority has provided salaries to the brigade’s army members. Therefore, there have not been any major instances with illegal activities from the army side and, overall, this arrangement has functioned well.51
Other environmental treaties have also flexible provisions concerning the measures that the states parties have to undertake to comply with the treaty in question.52 In addition, other treaty institutions could make similar interpretation efforts as the Committee of the World Heritage Convention in regard to the provisions to prevent the environment from being put at risk by armed conflict. For instance, Article 3 in the Ramsar Convention uses flexibly worded provisions and requires that states parties ‘formulate and implement their planning so as to promote the conservation of the wetlands’ and ‘as far as possible the wise use of the wetlands in their territory’. Such wording gives the treaty bodies under the Ramsar Convention enough flexibility to adapt measures in relation to armed conflict.
C. Third element: non-confrontational compliance mechanisms
The third element concerns the non-confrontational compliance mechanism installed under the World Heritage Convention. Most other environmental treaties employ this type of compliance mechanism and it is designed as a supportive scheme seeking to facilitate states parties’ fulfilment of their obligations, rather than punishing failures.53 The non-confrontational mechanism builds from the idea that states parties are unable but willing to comply.54 The World Heritage Convention institutions, similarly to most other environmental treaty institutions, collect and share information on the implementation procedure, analyse causes of non-compliance, and provide recommendations and assistance for the states parties rather than engage in robust enforcement measures.55 The purpose is to change behaviour among the states parties and not to achieve a specified result. This could be achieved through establishing action plans, providing financial and technical support, implementing capacity building measures including workshops, (p.84) consultations, and training etc.56 Under the World Heritage Convention, states parties can request international assistance from the Committee for the purposes of securing the protection, conservation, presentation, or rehabilitation of the World Heritage Sites.57 International assistance can be offered in terms of studies, provision of experts, skilled labour, training of staff and specialists, supply of equipment, low-interest or interest-free loans, or the granting of non-repayable subsidies under Article 22 of the World Heritage Convention. To this end, the World Heritage Convention has also established a World Heritage Fund to finance application activities.58
Prior to the DRC project, many park rangers located in rebel-controlled areas had not received a salary for several years because they were cut off from headquarters. Due to the insecure situation and the fact that salaries were not paid to the rangers, many of them left their posts and the Sites were left uncontrolled. In the case of the DRC, the Committee has facilitated the provision of the park rangers’ salaries as international assistance to keep them at their posts to monitor the World Heritage Sites and thus help the DRC to comply with the convention.59 In addition to distributing salaries, the park stations, many of which were looted during the hostilities, have been rehabilitated and secured under the project. The park rangers received training and equipment, including trucks, pick-ups, speedboats, and even an airplane, as a part of the international assistance provided under the convention.60
The supportive measures have also consisted of green diplomacy of the treaty bodies to advocate for the World Heritage Sites as well as the park rangers having neutral status in relation to the Congolese armed conflicts. The background of the measure was the fact that park rangers became direct targets in the conflicts. Being employees of a Congolese state organ, the park rangers were mistrusted by the rebel groups that associate them with the government and the Congolese Army. At the same time, the Congolese Army has been suspicious towards the park rangers, as they often continue to engage in protection work in the rebel-controlled areas.61 As a result, the park rangers have been attacked from several sides of the conflicts. Between 1996 and 2008 more than 190 park rangers were killed.62 To protect the park rangers and to prevent further casualties, UNESCO called for immunity for the park rangers from attacks similarly (p.85) to medical staff in armed conflict.63 To achieve this, UNESCO organized a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya with representatives from the Congolese government based in Kinshasa and two rebel groups that controlled parts of the World Heritage Sites in the Eastern DRC at the time. The meeting focused on how to ensure the continuation of the work of the park rangers in order to protect the World Heritage Sites.64 Other diplomacy measures consisted of conducting diplomatic missions to the rebel groups, organizing tripartite meetings, targeted missions to the World Heritage Sites, and individual contacts with high-level authorities.65 UNESCO sent two diplomatic missions to all the Congolese World Heritage Sites in 1999 and 2000.66
This diplomacy achieved an agreement from the Congolese Army and the rebel groups to respect the World Heritage Sites as neutral for conservation purposes. Several rebel groups expressed their commitment to protect the Sites and respect the park rangers’ neutral status. For instance, in the World Heritage Site of Kahuzi Biega National Park, the rebel group in control of the Site announced that the gorillas would receive protection and granted the rangers permission to monitor the Sites.67 Also, in Virunga National Park, similar announcements were made by rebels during the conflicts.68 In the World Heritage Site of Okapi Reserve, the park rangers described how the acknowledgment of their neutral status made it possible for them to continue their work and also keep their weapons for this purpose.69 Engaging the different rebel groups and the Congolese Army to preserve the World Heritage Sites has been crucial to maintaining some kind of protection work during the armed conflicts, in particular in the rebel-controlled areas.70 UNESCO ‘s diplomatic missions managed to secure the Mikeno sector (gorilla sector) containing the important gorilla habitat of the World Heritage Site of Virunga National Park in 2004.71 It has also been claimed that to some extent, rebel groups began to respect the sites after UNESCO’s intervention. Rebel groups allegedly stopped engaging in bush meat and ivory trade, although this is difficult to verify.72 (p.86) Although park rangers have remained in a vulnerable position with several rangers killed in the hostilities even after the diplomacy efforts, their claimed neutral status has reportedly improved their working conditions.73 In most of the Sites, park rangers could move freely around the rebel-controlled areas for protection purposes. The park rangers would advise the rebels of when and where they patrolled the parks to avoid casualties. The efforts also re-established the links between the Congolese Wildlife Authority’s headquarters in Kinshasa and the Sites in Eastern DRC.74 The park rangers were even allowed to travel to Kinshasa to coordinate their work with the Congolese Wildlife Authority.75
The political and diplomatic support for protecting the Sites is an innovative characteristic of the DRC project. UNESCO acted as mediator to convince the parties to the conflict that they needed to respect the World Heritage Sites and more importantly the park rangers. The measure was a result of the treaty bodies using their wide discretionary power to adopt a creative interpretation of the loosely formulated provisions of the World Heritage Convention to support the DRC to comply with the convention in a manner that took into account the circumstances and challenges of the Sites. Park rangers have witnessed how the attention from the international community that the project brought has affected the rebels’ attitude towards them. Moreover, although the material support in the form of equipment and monetary compensation has been essential for the park rangers to continue their work, the moral support from the international community has been described as having equal importance. It has created a more secure environment for the park rangers, which has encouraged them to perform their job even in difficult times.76
Most environmental treaties like the World Heritage Convention share the primary aim of assisting and motivating states parties to be in full compliance and to secure the treaty objectives.77 The opportunities to adopt measures to help them comply creates (p.87) further degrees of flexibility, providing the treaties with tools for pragmatic solutions adapted to particular challenges, such as those posed by armed conflict.
D. Fourth element: institutional cooperation
The fourth element relates to the World Heritage Convention institutions’ cooperation with other stakeholders. In accordance with Article 13(7) of the World Heritage Convention, the Committee is authorized to cooperate with other organizations, bodies, and individuals to implement projects and programmes.78 The DRC project is a collaboration between UNESCO, the Congolese Wildlife Authority and its governmental and non-governmental partners, other UN agencies, international organizations, and NGOs. The project has enabled the international community to cooperate in protecting the natural World Heritage Sites during and after armed conflicts.
Another example of international cooperation is the Committee’s invitation to the UN peacekeeping mission79 to assist the park rangers to evacuate armed rebel groups from the World Heritage Sites.80 The peacekeepers monitor areas that encompass the World Heritage Sites. Since October 2003, the peacekeeping forces have collaborated with the Committee.81 The peacekeepers have helped the rangers monitor the Sites and they have conducted some disarmament operations of rebel groups in cooperation with the rangers.82 The cooperation has not, however, been formalized between the peacekeeping mission or the UN Security Council and the Committee.83 Furthermore, the cooperation with the peacekeepers has been limited and dissatisfaction has been expressed from the park staff in several Sites regarding the peacekeepers’ presence. In addition, the peacekeeping mandate is to protect civilians and not World Heritage Sites or the environment per se. Nevertheless, the link between the environment and the hostilities is strong. This was shown in March 2015 when the peacekeeping mission in (p.88) the DRC and United Nations Environmental Programme (‘UNEP’) proposed inclusion of the protection of the World Heritage Sites in the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission. Although the protection of the World Heritage Sites was included in a draft decision, it did not end up in the Security Council’s final decision.84 Thus, the protection of the World Heritage Sites as such remains outside the scope of the peacekeepers’ mandate.
Interestingly enough, the role of UNESCO has become less significant since the launching of the project in 2000 because of the international cooperation. As more international organizations, NGOs, and other stakeholders have returned to the DRC to engage in environmental protection work, the project is less influential. Nonetheless, the World Heritage Convention remains crucial as an instrument for international cooperation to safeguard the World Heritage Sites. As the governmental institutions of the DRC are weak and without sufficient financial means, foreign stakeholders are crucial for protection work because they contribute to strengthening capacity building and provide funding. Since the outbreak of armed conflicts, the protection of the World Heritage Sites has mainly been funded by international aid. The management plan of the Sites is developed through close cooperation between national and international agencies, in which process the World Heritage Convention and its treaty bodies provide guidance.85 Several of the Sites are under direct management of Private-Public Partnerships or NGOs collaborating with the Congolese Wildlife Authority.86 The recognition of World Heritage Sites having rare species like mountain gorillas and okapis facilitates international cooperation and assistance. It gives access to funds not only from UNESCO and the UN system but also from other states, international organizations, and NGOs. Consequently, as the Congolese government is financially challenged, most of the environmental protection work of the Sites is funded by means other than domestic.87 Besides the direct support to the World Heritage Sites and the application measures of the World Heritage Convention, several development projects have occurred as a (p.89) byproduct with the aim to protect the Sites and promote stability in the region.88 For instance, around the Virunga National Park, investments have been made for building hydro plants. The building of the hydro plants aims to reduce the dependence on charcoal and thus safeguard the park.89 Other types of development projects have focused on distributing energy-efficient ovens to the local population and planting fast-growing trees outside the park to prevent deforestation inside the Virunga National Park.90 Besides their main purpose of protecting the environment, these types of development projects have positive side effects as they also contribute to rebuilding a war-torn society through aid from the international community. The element of enabling international cooperation is common to the majority of environmental treaties as a means of applying the treaties. The treaties either can explicitly or implicitly empower institutions to instigate cooperation with other stakeholders.91 Generally, environmental treaties provide great flexibility as to how to conduct this collaboration. Often, the environmental treaties lack explicit provisions or guidance on how the cooperation between organizations should be undertaken.92 The cooperation may consist of exchanges of information, partnerships, and joint activities, but there is no set template.93 In the DRC, the project is a collaborative partnership with various international and local stakeholders. The Ramsar Convention has also various partnerships with different types of stakeholders, mainly with other environmental treaty institutions and international organizations, NGOs, and the private sector in order to find innovative solutions and practical actions to protect wetlands. Hence, such cooperation strengthens a state party’s capacity to implement the Ramsar Convention by bringing together experts and policy makers to develop guidance and guidelines; tapping expertise and knowledge at a broader level; leveraging resources at all levels; seeking creative or innovative solutions of mutual interest collectively; and forging new linkages and alliances between capacity-building needs and cooperative actions.94 This (p.90) indicates that an environmental treaty like the Ramsar Convention has the potential to instigate similar conjoint projects as the World Heritage Convention under the pre-condition that the states parties have the political will to do so. The structure for such cooperation is already in place. Environmental treaties can implement their agreements with limited state involvement by relying on cooperation with other treaty bodies or NGOs for instance. The possibility to establish cooperation with other stakeholders is important to apply and achieve the objective of the environmental treaties. This is useful in a post-conflict scenario with weak domestic governance. A similar approach to international cooperation could inform the jus post bellum framework.
Environmental protection work is of low priority in war-torn societies, even though the state of the environment is a factor affecting the recovery of these societies and the ability to create lasting peace in many cases. Nevertheless, environmental treaties may be able to ensure that some environmental protection work can be carried out despite institutional collapse and lack of governance. The mechanisms under the World Heritage Convention have managed to provide alternative support to natural World Heritage Sites during and after armed conflict in a manner that can strengthen the environmental protection throughout the conflict cycle. The operation of other environmental treaties may also be able to adapt to the context-based challenges during and after armed conflict to protect and restore the environment in post-conflict.
In the case of the DRC, the four structural elements of the World Heritage Convention have proven to be of essence to launch a project to protect the Congolese Sites. By using the open-ended provisions (second element) in the convention and the broad mandate of the treaty bodies (first element) to adapt the measures to the national context of the DRC, the Committee has attempted to preserve the World Heritage Sites through institutional collaboration (fourth element). The first element of open-ended provisions combined with the second element of institutions with a broad mandate enable the obligations to be developed on the basis of the contextual challenges for a particular state party. The third and fourth elements of supportive mechanisms and cooperative initiatives, respectively, could embody the principle of international cooperation by ensuring international support from different collaborating stakeholders at the time when a state party may struggle to protect its environment. The World Heritage Convention has minimized damage to these Sites during and after armed conflict by providing funds; supporting the development of national institutions and associated regulations; and enforced the monitoring and controlling of the Sites (third element). These efforts have contributed to the fact that park rangers in the DRC are relatively well paid, respected, and adequately equipped, even though there are some differences among the Sites. The Congolese Wildlife Authority has its own surveillance mechanism, security system, and a security force to monitor and protect the World Heritage (p.91) Sites.95 These efforts cannot replace national governance, but they can contribute to the environmental protection work in the transition from armed conflict to peace. To some extent international organizations, NGOs, and other actors are filling the ‘institutional vacuum’ that occurs in this transition phase. The World Heritage Sites in the DRC are still under threat from the insecure situation,96 but still the project has contributed to restore the management of the Sites and its protection.
Other projects similar to the DRC project but instigated under a different environmental treaty could be launched in other conflicts to protect the environment. The World Heritage Convention of course has a different status than most other environmental treaties as it protects World Heritage Sites representing a universal interest for humankind. However, the World Heritage Convention is not the only environmental treaty that has been applied to address issues connected to armed conflicts.97 The advantage of having the four elements addressed allows environmental treaties to adapt to deal with various situations. The environmental treaties operate differently than most international treaties by focusing on supportive measures to remedy the inability of states parties to comply with their international obligations. This may be of particular interest during and after armed conflict, which may be the time when states have particular difficulties providing adequate environmental protection. Although these mechanisms cannot substitute domestic governance, they can minimize environmental destruction through their provisions that enable funding, capacity building, equipment support, data analysis, consultation on national regulation, and coordination of international and local actors involved in protection work. Such measures can be adopted during and after armed conflict. In addition, these types of measures could contribute (p.92) to peacemaking in post-conflict. The practices taking place within the parameters of international environmental treaties are of relevance for jus post bellum. Consequently, the role of environmental treaties in relation to jus post bellum may be of particular interest in how responses can be designed to be operational in armed conflict as well as in post-conflict.
(*) Postdoctoral Fellow and Senior Lecturer, Department of Law at Lund University, Sweden.
(1) The concept of jus post bellum is described in various manners and it appears that there is not any agreed or unified view of what the concept is or should be. For further reading, see Eric de Brabandere, ‘The Concept of Jus Post Bellum in International Law, A Normative Critique’ in Carsten Stahn, Jennifer S. Easterday, and Jens Iverson (eds.), Jus Post Bellum: Mapping the Normative Foundations (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2014), 124–42. Cymie Payne has explored the aspect of jus post bellum that relates to ‘environmental integrity,’ see Cymie Payne, ‘The Norm of Environmental Integrity in Post-Conflict Legal Regimes’ in Stahn, Easterday, and Iverson ibid. 503–19.
(2) Carsten Stahn, ‘ “Jus ad bellum”, “jus in bello” … “jus post bellum?”—Rethinking the Conception of the Law of Armed Conflict’ (2007) 17 European Journal of International Law 921.
(4) Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention), 1037 UNTS 151; 27 UST 37; 11 ILM 1358, 16 November 1972.
(5) The First Congo War lasted between 1996–1998 and involved Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola. The second Congo War lasted between 1998–2000 and involved DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Angola, Namibia, Chad, Eritrea, and Sudan to varying degrees. A peace agreement was signed between warring parties in April 2002. The fighting has however continued with such intensity and organization among the concerned armed groups, including the DRC Army, that it should be classified as a conflict of non-international character (although it still may have some international elements). The lines are however blurring. See also United Nations Office for the Cordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Democratic Republic of the Congo Mapping Exercise (2010) 8–10, documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law 1993–2003, at <http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/CD/DRC_MAPPING_REPORT_FINAL_EN.pdf> accessed 14 June 2017.
(6) The DRC ratified the World Heritage Convention on 23 September 1974. See <http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties>, accessed 14 June 2017. The DRC has now five natural World Heritage Sites protected under the World Heritage Convention including the Virunga National Park, Salonga National Park, Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, and Garamba National Park.
(7) See for instance Aaron Schwabach, ‘Environmental Damage Resulting from the NATO Military Action Against Yugoslavia’ (2000) 25 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 117, 121; John Alan Cohan, ‘Modes of Warfare and Evolving Standards of Environmental Protection under the International Law of War’ (2003) 15 Florida Journal of International Law 481, 532.
(8) The mountain gorilla has been included since 1975 on Appendix I of the 1973 Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (adopted 3 March 1973, entered into force 1 July 1975), 993 UNTS 243 (CITES). Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants (see Art. 2(1) of the Convention). See CITES website <http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php>, accessed 14 June 2017.
(9) See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Report, distributed 8 February 2002, Doc. WHC-01/CONF.208/24, 17. For example, between 2008 and 2009, armed rebel groups occupied the gorilla sector in the Virunga National Park. See also UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, distributed 11 May 2009, Doc. WHC-09/33.COM/7A, 12.
(10) See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, distributed 26 May 2006, Doc. WHC-06/30.COM/7A, 27; State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, distributed 10 May 2007, Doc. WHC-07/31.COM/7A, 9; State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, distributed 22 May 2008, Doc. WHC-08/32.COM/7A, 8. See also Alec Crawford and Johannah Bernstein, MEAs, Conservation and Conflict—A Case Study of Virunga National Park, DRC (Winnipeg: International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2008), 17–18.
(11) In 2006 it was reported that four brigades totalling 12,000 soldiers, were deployed inside or close to one of the World Heritage Sites, some of them with their families. See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, distributed 26 May 2006, Doc. WHC-06/30.COM/7A, 27; State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger distributed 22 May 2008, Doc. WHC-08/32.COM/7A, 10. See also Joseph Kalpers, Overview of the Armed Conflict and Biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Impact, Mechanisms and Responses Washington DC Biodiversity Support Program, 2001), 13.
(12) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment (Switzerland: UNEP, 2009), 17.
(15) Judy Oglete, James Shambaugh, and Rebecca Kormos, ‘Parks in the Crossfire: Strategies for Effective Conservation in Areas of Armed Conflict’ (2004) 14 War and Protected Areas, International Journal for Protected Areas Managers, 3, at <https://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/14_1.pdf> accessed 14 June 2017.
(17) UNEP, The Democratic Republic of the Congo Post-Conflict Environmental Assess Synthesis for Policy Makers (Nairobi: UNEP, 2011), 26.
(19) Carl Bruch and others, ‘Post-conflict Peace building and Natural Resources’ (2009) Yearbook of International Environmental Law 58, 67.
(20) Onita Das, Environmental Protection, Environmental Security and Armed conflict, A Sustainable Development Perspective (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013), 122–3; Michael Bothe et al., ‘International Law Protecting the Environment During Armed Conflict: Gaps and Opportunities’ (2010) International Review of the Red Cross 570–1.
(21) Phoebe Okowa, ‘Sovereignty Contests and the Protection of Natural Resources in Conflict Zones’ (2013) 66 Current Legal Problems 33, 40–2.
(23) Robin Churchill and Geir Ulfstein, ‘Autonomous Institutional Arrangements in Multilateral Environmental Agreements: A Little-Noticed Phenomenon in International Law’ (2000) American Journal of International Law 623–59.
(24) For further reading on the application of the World Heritage Convention during the armed conflicts in the DRC, see Britta Sjöstedt, ‘The Role of Multilateral Environmental Agreements in Armed Conflict: “Green-keeping” in Virunga Park, Applying the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in the Armed Conflict of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ (2013) Nordic Journal of International Law 129–53.
(25) These included the World Heritage Sites of Okapi Reserve, Garamba National Park, Virunga National Park, and Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
(26) UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, Doc. WHC-99/CONF.209/13, Paris, 18 October 1999, 3–5.
(27) UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Decision 23.COM.X.A4 adopted at twenty-third session on 29 November–4 December 1999, Doc. WHC-99/CONF.209/22, 2 March 2000, 22. In response to requests submitted by the Congolese Wildlife Authority in cooperation with the conservation NGOs and other partners, the Bureau approved a total sum of US$ 105,000 for the four sites. These funds are being disbursed via contracts established with conservation NGOs and partners. The Task Force representatives, in consultation with the Centre, the UNESCO Division of Ecological Sciences and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) elaborated a 4-year project expected to cost about US$ 4 million. The project primarily focuses on: (a) specific and collaborative support to the four sites, including the payment of salaries and salary supplements linked to performance of anti-poaching and surveillance duties; (b) raising awareness and support of international and regional diplomatic and political communities dealing with conflict in DRC and in neighbouring states to the conservation of the sites; (c) disseminating information of the critical role that the Site staff is playing in the protection of the Sites despite risks to their lives and property, and develop sustainable financing mechanisms to support the staff and the conservation of the sites; and (d) identify, document, and disseminate lessons learnt in the conservation of the four sites in the DRC to improve preparedness of the international community to meet conservation problems of World Natural Heritage properties in regions of armed conflict. UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, Doc. WHC-99/CONF.209/13, Paris, 18 October 1999, 3–5.
(28) UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Report of the Rapporteur on the twenty-third session of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee, Doc. WHC-99/CONF.209/4, Paris 11 October 1999, 5.
(29) These elements may also contribute to overcome fragmentation. See Britta Sjöstedt, ‘The Reconciliatory Approach: How Multilateral Environmental Agreements Can Harmonize International Legal Obligations’ in Andrzej Jakubowski and Karolina Wierczyńska (eds.), The Arguments on Fragmentation and Constitutionalisation: An Inquiry into the Practice of International Law (London and New York: Routledge, 2016).
(30) Other serious and specific dangers listed in Art. 11(4) of the World Heritage Convention include: ‘threat of disappearance caused by accelerated deterioration, large-scale public or private projects or rapid urban or tourist development projects; destruction caused by changes in the use or ownership of the land; major alterations due to unknown causes; abandonment for any reason whatsoever; calamities and cataclysms; serious fires, earthquakes, landslides; volcanic eruptions; changes in water level, floods and tidal waves’.
(31) Guy Debonnet and Kes Hillman-Smith, ‘Supporting Protected Areas in a Time of Political Turmoil: the Case of World Heritage Sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo’ (2004) 14 War and Protected Areas, International Journal for Protected Areas Managers 11, at <https://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/14_1.pdf> accessed 14 June 2017.
(32) The World Heritage Convention was adopted at the General Conference of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Thus, UNESCO and the operation of the World Heritage Convention is intertwined.
(33) The partnership consists of UNESCO‘s World Heritage Centre and Division of Ecological Sciences in cooperation with Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) (referred to as the Congolese Wildlife Authority in this chapter), IUCN, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) (now GIZ), and a task force of conservation NGOs including International Rhino Foundation, International Gorilla Conservation Programme, Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the Gilman International Conservation. In addition, the European Union and states (i.e. Belgium, Italy, and Germany) as well as UN agencies or programmes (i.e. UN Development Programme, UNEP) and the UN Mission to DRC (MONUC) (later MONUSCO) collaborate with the Committee and the World Heritage Centre to address issues relating to the safeguarding of World Heritage Sites in the DRC.
(34) The Committee is composed of twenty-one member states and meets at least once a year. See The Operational Guidelines for Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (‘Operational Guidelines’) (November 2011), at <whc.unesco.org/archive/opguide11-en.pdf> accessed 14 June 2017.
(35) Nele Matz, ‘Approaches to Coordination of International Environmental Agreements’ in Rüdiger Wolfrum and Nele Matz, Conflicts in International Environmental Law (Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer, 2003), 167.
(36) Green diplomacy or environmental diplomacy is described by UNEP as an activity that aims at promoting the shared use of natural resources or addressing common environmental threats by establishing a platform for dialogue, confidence-building, and cooperation between divided communities or states, at <http:// http://staging.unep.org/disastersandconflicts/Introduction/EnvironmentalCooperationforPeacebuilding/EnvironmentalDiplomacy/tabid/54581/Default.aspx> accessed 14 June 2017. See also Pamela Griffin, ‘The Ramsar Convention: A New Window for Environmental Diplomacy?’ The Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security (2013), at <http://www.uvm.edu/ieds/sites/default/files/Ramsar_IEDSResearchSeries.pdf> accessed 14 June 2017.
(37) World Heritage Papers 17, Promouvoir et Préserver le patrimoine congolais, Lier diversité biologique et culturelle/Proceedings and Preserving Conoglese Heritage, Linking biological and cultural diversity, Proceedings of the conference and workshops, UNESCO, 13–17 September 2004, 110, at <http://whc.unesco.org/en/documents/6411> accessed 14 June 2017.
(38) The General Assembly corresponds to a conference of the parties, which is usually the supreme decision-making organ in environmental treaties. See Diana Zacharias, ‘The UNESCO Regime for the Protection of World Heritage as Prototype of an Autonomy-Gaining International Institution’ (2008) 9 German Law Journal 1842.
(39) See Arts. 8–14 in the World Heritage Convention.
(40) Annecos Wiersema, ‘The New International Law-makers? Conferences of the Parties to Multilateral Environmental Agreements’ (2009) 31 Michigan Journal of International Law 53; Patricia Birnie, Alan Boyle, and Catherine Redgwell, International Law and the Environment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 17.
(41) Guido Carducci, ‘Articles 4–7, National and International Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage’ in Francesco Francioni (ed.), The 1972 World Heritage Convention: A Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 145.
(42) Maurice Kampto, ‘Normative Uncertainties’ in Yann Kerbrat and Sandrine Maljean-Dubois (eds.), The Transformation of International Environmental Law (Paris and Oxford: Hart Publishing and Editions A. Pedone, 2011), 57. See also Churchill and Ulfstein (n 23) 628.
(45) Interview with Ephrem Balole, Planning officer Virunga National Park, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Goma, DRC, 4 April 2015.
(46) See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Decision 30 COM 7A.4 adopted at thirtieth session on 8–16 July 2006, Doc. WHC-06/30.COM/19, 23 August 2006, 14.
(47) Interview with Jeff Mapilanga, Director, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Kinshasa, DRC, 30 March 2015.
(48) UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, Doc. WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add, 27 May 2011, 13.
(49) See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Decision 28 COM 15A.3 adopted at twenty-eighth session on 28 June–7 July 2004, Doc. WHC-04/28/COM/26, 29 October 2004, 52; Decision 31 COM 7A.7 adopted at thirty-first session on 23 June–2 July 2007, Doc. WHC-07/31.COM/24, 31 July 2007, 11.
(50) See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Decision 34 COM 7A.4 adopted at thirty-fourth session on 25 July–3 August 2010, Doc. WHC-10/34.COM/20, 3 September 2010, 20; see also State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, Doc. WHC-10/34. COM/7A, 1 June, 2010, 11–12.
(51) Interview with Ephrem Balole, Planning officer Virunga National Park, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Goma, DRC, 4 April 2015.
(52) For instance, Art. 4(1) in the Ramsar Convention reads: ‘Each Contracting Party shall promote the conservation of wetlands and waterfowl by establishing nature reserves on wetlands, whether they are included in the List or not, and provide adequately for their wardening’.
(53) Churchill and Ulfstein (n 23) 629; Nils Goeteyn and Frank Maes, ‘Compliance Mechanisms in Multilateral Environmental Agreements: An Effective Way to Improve Compliance?’ (2011) Chinese Journal of International Law 797–9.
(55) Daniel Bodansky, The Art and Craft of International Environmental Law (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011), 226–7, and in particular on the World Heritage Convention compliance mechanism, see Edward J. Goodwin, ‘World Heritage Convention, the Environment, and Compliance’ (2008) Colorado Journal International Environmental Law and Policy 157.
(57) The Committee grants the requests in accordance with Art 13(1) of the World Heritage Convention.
(58) Art. 15 of the World Heritage Convention.
(59) As the Kinshasa-based Congolese Wildlife Authority was not in contact with the four rebel controlled Sites in the Eastern DRC, salaries could not be provided. Therefore, it requested the World Heritage Convention Bureau and the Committee to help the park rangers in these Sites by providing assistance. The Bureau did approve the request and funds were distributed via contracts established with conservation NGOs and other partners to UNESCO that remained on the field. The Bureau approved a total sum of US$ 105,000 for the four sites. See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, Doc. WHC-99/CONF.209/13, Paris, 18 October 1999, 4.
(60) During the first phase of the pilot project (2001–2005) approximately US$ 900,000 was spent on salaries, equipment, etc., UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, Doc. WHC-11/35. COM/7A.Add, 27 May 2011, 4.
(61) Interview with Ephrem Balole, Planning officer Virunga National Park, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Goma, DRC, 4 April 2015.
(62) Christian Nellemann, Ian Redmond, and Johannes Refisch (eds.), The Last Stand of the Gorilla, Environmental Crime and Conflict in the Congo Basin (Birkeland Trykkeri AS, Norway: UNEP, 2010), 21.
(63) World Heritage Papers 17 (n 37) 112. Also confirmed by interview with Radar Nishuli, Park Director and Chief Warden, Kahuzi Biega National Park, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Bukavu, DRC, 24 March 2015.
(64) Cosma Wilunga Balongelwa, Patrimoine Naturel et Conflicts Armés (Paris: Harmattan, 2013) 112.
(66) Interview with Jeff Mapilanga, Director, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Kinshasa, DRC, 30 March 2015.
(67) For instance, to convince the rebel leaders to protect the gorillas, the park rangers in the World Heritage Site of Kahuzi Biega National Park brought them to see the gorilla populations. Interview with Radar Nishuli, Park Director and Chief Warden, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Bukavu, DRC, 24 March 2015.
(68) In January 2007, an agreement was made between senior Virunga park warden Paulin Ngobobo and rebel group leader Colonel Makenga for National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). The agreement sought to spare the gorillas during the on-going armed conflict. ‘Congo Rebel Agree to End the Gorilla Slaughter’ National Geographic News, 25 January 2007, at <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070125-gorillas-congo.html> accessed 14 June 2017.
(69) Interview with Richard Tschombe, Country Director for DRC, Wildlife Conservation Society, Kinshasa, 1 April 2015. Tschombe has also experienced working for the Congolese Wildlife Authority in the World Heritage Site of Okapi Reserve.
(72) Interview with Jeff Mapilanga, Director, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Kinshasa, DRC, 30 March 2015.
(73) In 2006–2007 when the rebel group CNDP controlled north of the part of the gorilla sector of Virunga National Park, rangers continued to work to protect park and the gorillas. All governmental institutions left, including the Congolese Wildlife Authority, from the rebel controlled areas of the park. Thus, the rangers who stayed acted outside their official capacity. At this time they got equipment and salaries from NGOs. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme managed to stay and assist the park rangers. The rebel groups did accept that rangers were involved in conservation work. In 2012, the rebel group M23 took control of the Virunga National Park. This time, the park rangers stayed and continued to patrol the Park. Even though rangers were involved in casualties and some were killed at their posts, this did not occur by the rebel groups controlling the area. The gorillas were more or less spared from being subject to bush meat and intentional killing. Although the facts are hard to access in armed conflict, it seems that the gorilla sector in Virunga National Park remained well monitored. Interview with Altor Musema, DRC Country Coordinator, International Gorilla Conservation Programme, Goma, DRC, 20 March 2015.
(75) Interview with Jeff Mapilanga, Director, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Kinshasa, DRC, 30 March 2015.
(76) ibid.; see also Interview with Richard Tschombe, Country Director for Democratic Republic of Congo, Wildlife Conservation Society, Kinshasa, 1 April 2015.
(78) On the World Heritage Convention website, there is a list of different actors which are World Heritage Convention partners, including Earth Watch Institute, Panasonic, International New York Times, Norwegian Foreign Ministry of Affairs, GTZ, Belgian Federal Science Policy, see World Heritage Convention webpage, at <http://whc.unesco.org/en/partners/> accessed 14 June 2017.
(79) As the Security Council has determined that the situation in the DRC constitutes a threat to international peace and security, it has deployed a UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) in accordance with Chapter VII of the UN Charter. See UN Security Council Resolution, adopted on 28 July 2003, UN Doc. S/RES/1493 in preamble para. 12.
(80) See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Decision 27 COM 7.A.2 adopted at twenty-seventh session on 30 June–5 July 2003, distributed 10 December 2003, Doc. WHC-03/27.COM/24, 10; see also Decision 30 COM 7A.7 adopted by at thirtieth session on 8–16 July 2006, distributed 23 August 2006, UN Doc. WHC-06/30.COM/19, 18.
(81) UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Decision 28 COM 15A.3 adopted at twenty-eighth session on 28 June–7 July 2004, distributed 29 October 2004, Doc. WHC-04/28/COM/26, 52.
(82) UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, distributed 21 June 2004, Doc. WHC-04/28.COM/15A Rev, 7.
(83) UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, distributed 11 May 2009, Doc. WHC-09/33.COM/7A, 14. In 2011, it was reported that the Committee remained in contact with the UN peacekeeping troops, but that little direct support was provided to the Park. See UNESCO World Heritage Committee, State of Conservation of the Properties Inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, distributed 27 May 2011, Doc. WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add, 5.
(84) During the experts meeting, the following statement was proposed for consideration by the UN Security Council during the upcoming review of MONUSCO’s mandate: ‘Authorizes MONUSCO to support national and regional efforts to investigate, prosecute and sanction members of armed groups and criminal networks engaged in national and transnational organized crime including, but not limited to, the illicit exploitation and trade in natural resources, such as gold and other minerals, wildlife, charcoal and timber, with special emphasis on addressing sources of conflict and safeguarding protected areas from armed groups, particularly, but not limited to, UNESCO World Heritage Sites.’ UNEP MONUSCO Draft report from expert meeting, ‘ackground Paper on Illegal Exploitation and Trade in Natural Resources Benefitting Organized Criminal Groups and its Implications on MONUSCO’s Role in Fostering Stability and Peace in Eastern DR Congo (Goma, DRC, 21 March 2015). Report is not yet published, but on file with the author.
(85) As a result of the cooperation, institutional structures were set up to facilitate implementation, including the Congo Conservation Coalition (‘CoCoCongo’), a general management plan for all Sites and the Site Coordination Committees (‘CoCoSi’), management plans on a site level. These institutions are forums for coordination among all the partners and donors. See World Heritage Papers 17 (n 37) 110.
(86) Each Site has its own donors. Interview with Ulrich Müller, Senior Planning Officer, German Cooperation (GIZ), DRC, Kinshasa, DRC, 1 April 2015.
(88) Proposals have been made for economic alternatives to promote sustainable development by and for the local population. See World Heritage Papers 17 (n 37) 118–19. One example is projects on charcoal reduction or alternatives, as charcoal production is a major threat to Virunga National Park. It has been estimated that 90 per cent of the population in the surrounding area, such as the city of Goma, depends on it for fuel. Furthermore, 80 per cent of the charcoal is currently estimated to come from Virunga National Park, which causes deforestation in the Park. WWF estimated in 2013 that this would clear about 18,000 hectares of Virunga per year. Thus, the search for alternatives is an important measure to protect the sites. Interview with Juan Seve, WWF Country Director, DRC, Kinshasa, DRC, 31 March 2015.
(89) Interview with Ephrem Balole, Planning officer Virunga National Park, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Goma, DRC, 4 April 2015.
(90) Interview with Juan Seve, WWF Country Director, DRC Kinshasa, DRC, 31 March 2015. See also <https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/better-stoves-for-a-healthier-planet> accessed 14 June 2017.
(93) For instance, UNEP promotes cooperation among environmental treaties and coordinates such activities. UNEP has held several conferences to coordinate the secretariats of the treaties. Such a view is confirmed by the UN General Assembly. See UN Doc. A/54/468. Examples of cooperation are given in the text on World Heritage Convention in the DRC.
(94) Ramsar webpage, at <http://archive.ramsar.org/cda/en/ramsar-activities-partnershipindex/main/ramsar/1-63-506_4000_0__ > accessed 14 June 2017.
(95) The security force has been described as having a paramilitary structure. It has received training from the Belgian and French Special Forces. Nevertheless, all the training of the rangers has been conducted under the supervision of the Congolese Army as such training would not be permitted without the army’s consent. The ability of the park rangers’ security force was demonstrated in the Virunga National Park when it managed to clear the volcano sector from rebel groups without assistance from the Congolese Army or the UN peacekeeping mission deployed in the DRC. As a result, since October 2014, tourist excursions are conducted to visit the volcano. Interview with Jeff Mapilanga, Director, Congolese Wildlife Authority, Kinshasa, DRC, 30 March 2015. Interview with Richard Tschombe, Country Director for DRC, Wildlife Conservation Society, Kinshasa, 1 April 2015.
(96) On 2 March 2015, unnamed UN officials stated that Virunga National Park was all cleared from rebels, see <http://wildlifenews.co.uk/2015/03/virunga-cleared-of-rebels-claim/> accessed 14 June 2017. Nevertheless, the park is under threat from potential oil exploration. The government permitted Soco International, a British oil company, to explore the possibility of exploiting oil from Lake Edward, situated in the heart of Virunga National Park.
(97) For instance, the CITES has operated in war-torn states, including the DRC, Liberia, Central African Republic etc. to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES has been involved in several projects that aim to safeguard species from, inter alia, effects associated with armed conflicts. For instance, the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (‘ICCWC’) project is a collaborated effort involving CITES, INTERPOL, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (‘UNODC’), the World Bank, and the World Customs Organisation (‘WCO’). ICCWC addresses wildlife crimes, such as poaching, illegal logging, and illegal processing of animal and plant material. Wildlife crimes are often connected with armed conflicts. CITES has launched another project to prevent illegal killing of elephants (the MIKE Project). Killing elephants for ivory trade is a common feature in armed conflicts. This project is in collaboration with UNEP and the European Commission. The objective is to create systems to monitor illegal killing of elephants. See CITES webpage, at <http://www.cites.org/eng/disc/what.php> accessed 14 June 2017.