The World Heritage Committee on 2 July condemned the destruction of World Heritage sites in Mali and decided on measures to help the country protect its heritage.
In its decision, the 21-member Committee responsible for implementing the World Heritage Convention, called on the Director-General of UNESCO to create a special fund to help Mali in the conservation of its cultural heritage.
The Committee also appealed on all UNESCO Member States and on the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to provide financial resources to this Fund.
The decision strongly condemned the acts of destruction of mausoleums in the World Heritage property of Timbuktu and called for an end to these “repugnant acts.”
The text of the decision also requested the Director-General of UNESCO to send a mission to Mali when possible with a view to assessing, together with the national authorities concerned as well as the local authorities, the extent of the damage and destruction and define urgent conservation needs.
The World Heritage Committee also recognized efforts already undertaken to help Mali safeguard its heritage, notably the sending of a mission in May by Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the efforts fo the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the countries of the region to help the people of Mali resolve the crisis.
Mali has recently taken measures to accede to the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1999 which amongst others, penalizes the intentional destruction of cultural heritage.