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The Democratic Republic of the Congo Scores a Key Heritage Victory

Unesco removed one of its nature reserves from a list of threatened sites, the UN agency said. The World Heritage Committee is currently in its annual session, during which members assess the condition and management of more than 1,100 existing sites, as well as accept nominations from countries for new World Heritage Sites. The diverse array of locations, varying from buildings and whole cities to mountains and deserts, are being examined, split between cultural, natural and mixed sites. A total of 39 nominations proposed in 2020 and 2021 are being considered this year. Unesco praised DRC’s conservation efforts and the government’s commitment to banning prospecting for oil in Salonga, the vast central African country’s largest public park. The Congolese environment ministry welcomed the move. It would be “an opportunity to rethink the management of the peatland with a view to quantifying its capacity to absorb carbon” emissions, it told AFP. Salonga is Africa’s largest protected rainforest and home to 40 per cent of the Earth’s bonobo apes, along with several other endangered species. Created in 1970 by the country’s former president, Mobutu Sese Seko, it was inscribed in 1984 on the World Heritage List and in 1999 on the List of World Heritage in Danger.