1.         Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) (C 116rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-1981)
Total amount approved: USD 7,977
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount allocated to the property: USD 85,000 (Italian Funds-in-Trust with UNESCO)

Previous monitoring missions

2002; 2005; 2006, ICOMOS-ICCROM-World Heritage Centre mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) No management and conservation plan;

b) Urban development pressure;

c) Housing dilapidation;

d) Waste management problem;

e) Socio-cultural changes

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

Following Decision 29 COM 7B.36, an ICOMOS-ICCROM-World Heritage Centre mission visited the World Heritage site to assess the state of conservation of the property and propose solutions to ease urban development pressure and to make recommendations to the Committee at its 30th session. The mission, which was carried out from 13 to 17 March 2006, confirmed that the World Heritage property was effectively suffering from intense urban development pressure, for which urgent development and management measures needed to be taken to safeguard its integrity. This legitimate need for development must be accompanied by a set of measures that are in conformity with international standards in order to respond to the lack of guidance and resources concerning development. The inhabitants and the elected officials have the impression of living in a protected area where, in their view, “nothing is allowed”.

This development pressure is expressed in several ways:

a) Non respect of the regulations in force (building permits, etc.);

b) abandon of homes due to urban mobility requirements, the inappropriateness of the houses with regard to new needs for comfortable interior living areas and family composition;

c) the will of the population to transform the spatial organisation of the houses using modern materials and techniques for restoration, which increasingly modifies the urban fabric;

d) the inadequacy of the equipment for public services and other infrastructures, resulting in major changes in the urban morphology caused by inappropriate installation of electricity and street furniture, and the treatment of runoff water;

e) the lack of technical and financial resources and competence within the Djenné Municipality to resolve the city’s urban development and sanitation problems (waste water, household refuse, etc.);

f) the implementation of the national development plan that does not take into consideration the requisite needs concerning the World Heritage status of Djenné;

g) the increasing presence of administrative buildings around some of the archaeological sites that are part of the property, and the possible construction of different installations shown on the master plan for urban development being prepared;

h) the degradation of the fixtures and furnishings of the archaeological areas caused by many years of inopportune trampling;

In order to ease this development pressure, the mission made the following recommendations:

a) the preparation of an accurate map identifying the boundaries of all the components of the World Heritage property, especially the archaeological sites of Jenné-Jeno, Hambarkatelo, Kaniana and Tonomba, the physical boundaries of which are not clearly defined at present;

b) the establishment of urban and planning regulatory tools through a participative approach and in relation to the daily life of the populations;

c) the urgent need to equip the municipal technical services and technical departments of the ministries concerned with references and regulations to guide their interventions with respect to the World Heritage status of the site, particularly with regard to the establishment of a system for the appropriate granting of building permits and the control of building sites;

d) the creation of a buffer zone with a control mechanism for the application of urban and building regulations;

e) the urgent preparation of a management and conservation plan for the Old Towns of Djénné, with two components: one for the ancient fabric of Djenné, and the other for the archaeological sites. This plan, based on participative action, must specify the way in which the Old Town, and the archaeological sites, should be conserved over a period of 5 to 10 years, and moreover, should provide guidance for the preparation of urban or regional planning instruments such as the Master Plan for Urban Development and other mechanisms of control or urban planning.

The mission also encouraged the State Party to submit a request for financial assistance to the World Heritage Fund for the preparation of the necessary management plans and to establish an accurate map clearly defining the boundaries of all the components of the property. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM


Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.38

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.36, adopted during the 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Taking into account the pressure caused by development activities affecting the town of Djenné and the possible consequences to the property, as well as the lack of financial and technical resources, and competence within the Municipality of Djenné in the form of a qualified local authority who could be informed to threats to the property,

4. Requests the State Party to undertake all necessary measures to implement the recommendations of the March 2006 World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission;

5. Encourages the State Party to submit a request for international assistance for the preparation of a management plan;

6. Also encourages the State Party to define a project aiming at identifying and promoting good practices of house rehabilitation with a view to adapting traditional architecture to the new use of living areas;

7. Further requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre, before 1 February 2007, with a state of conservation report of the property and progress achieved in the preparation of a management and conservation plan for the Old Towns of Djenné as recommended by the monitoring mission report, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.