1.         Island of Saint-Louis (Senegal) (C 956bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (ii)(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/956/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 11,500
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 139,000 for a general inventory; and the preparation of a nomination dossier and the safeguarding and enhancement plan. 

Previous monitoring missions

2004, Mission France UNESCO Convention -World Heritage Centre

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) No regulations for the safeguarding and enhancement of the property

b) No local management structure for the property

c) Hazardous condition of the buildings

d) Integrity of the property

e) Environmental disorder due to the modification of the mouth of the Senegal River. 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

At its 29th session, the Committee requested the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM to undertake a joint mission, in collaboration with the State Party, to evaluate the state of conservation of the property, and to present a report for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). The Committee had also requested the State Party to organise at UNESCO Headquarters a meeting of representatives of funding institutions and major partners within the international community which are active in Senegal.

The mission was undertaken from 24 to 28 April 2006 at the invitation of the State Party. It drew attention the following worrying observations:

- The physical boundaries of the property, notably the delimitation of the elements of which it is composed (bridges and banks) and the delimitation of its buffer zone, are not clear, which makes it difficult to set regulations.

- Major changes which affect the integrity of the property were noted with regard to the built structures. These changes are mostly due to inappropriate restorations that impact on the structures and the facades of the buildings (additions of cement balconies, modifications to entrances, etc.) and also to new constructions visible in the city, which make use of inappropriate materials and typology.

- 17 architectural units, out of 1344 on the Island, are still in a very hazardous condition necessitating urgent measures for their safeguard.

- The site still does not have a regulatory and urban planning tool. In fact, the Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan (SEP) developed with technical and financial support of the France-UNESCO Convention, has still not been completed. The work carried out in collaboration with the Senegalese authorities and in liaison with the technical services of the City of Saint-Louis, is still on going and should be finished at the end of June 2006.

As concerns the positive aspects, the mission noted a net improvement in the context, due to the increased awareness of all the heritage stakeholders involved in the conservation of the “Saint-Louisian” heritage. This situation has led to a progressive implication of the civil society in the safeguarding actions via associations, and since 2005, work to restoration works of public buildings has been undertaken. This mostly concerned the following buildings: the Festival Hall, the Great Mosque, the André Guillabert house, three “Saint-Louisian” style houses, two secondary schools, and the north Rognat building. Other projects, such as the restoration of the Territorial Assembly building with the support of the Wallonia Region of Belgium, and the south Rognat building with State financing, are also being prepared.

The mission was also able to observe that the current collaboration between the city and the State since 2004 will soon be formalized by an official Convention to be signed for sustainable management of the World Heritage property. With this perspective, the two bodies have undertaken negotiations on the future Heritage Office.

Furthermore, the mission noted that two spans of the Faidherbe Bridge were being consolidated under the direction of the Autonomous Agency for Roadworks of the Ministry of Equipment of Senegal. This work falls within the framework of a decision made by the President of France in 2005, to assist the Senegalese authorities in restoring this bridge dating from the 19th century and which is in an advanced state of degradation. The restoration project will be financed through the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement, AFD) and the Senegalese authorities. At a meeting organised in Paris, on 17 November 2005, the World Heritage Centre reminded the AFD that it required the technical documents for this restoration project in order to submit them for technical advice to ICOMOS, so that the outstanding universal value of the Island of Saint-Louis could be preserved. These documents had still not been provided at the time of the mission, neither by the Senegalese authorities, nor by the AFD.

Finally, the mission recommended that the following actions be taken:

a) the creation of a temporary heritage bureau and the recruitment of a consultant architect specialised in conservation, who would participate in the building permits commission, in order to examine the permit requests and building plans, and to monitor construction sites;

b) a precise description of the boundaries of the property and a redefinition of the buffer zone, which should include the Barbarie Tongue and the Island of Sor;

c) the revision of the management responsibilities of the communal boundaries between the Island and the rural commune of Saint-Louis. This measure which concerns essentially the Barbarie Tongue is in addition to the work for redefining and extending the buffer zone of the property;

d) the urgent finalisation of the SEP in relation to the new Urban Master Plan (UMP) of the city, in order to meet the current legal protection needs and provide the regulatory elements that the municipality and the Regional Urbanism Service should apply;

e) the appointment, by the Ministry of Culture, of a manager of the World Heritage property, who would work in close collaboration with the municipality of Saint-Louis to draw up a management plan for the Island, involving the representatives of the different districts of the town, the religious leaders, the military authorities and tourist operators, in order to define a common vision for the sustainable conservation of the World Heritage property;

f) market research for the restoration of Saint-Louis and the skills available in the region;

g) the initiation of a pilot project for the restoration of a block of houses or a street so as to set an example of good restoration practice and to reactivate the production sources of traditional materials (mud bricks, lime, etc) and to build up restoration skills in Saint-Louis;

h) the elaboration by the Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the city of Saint-Louis, of an action plan for 2006-2008 designed to implement the above recommendations made by the ICOMOS-ICCROM-World Heritage Centre mission.

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


Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.37

The World Heritage Committee;

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

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.38 adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Thanks the State Party for having organised the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission, given the results of said mission;

4. Reiterates its invitation to the State Party to organise, in 2007, a meeting of representatives of funding institutions and the major partners within the international community active in Senegal, in order to harmonise the current and future interventions on the property;

5. Invites the State Party to implement, before 1 February 2008, the following measures to mitigate threats to the property:

a) Approve the Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan (SEP) and set up a heritage bureau in order to provide the property with a regulatory tool and a specialized service, to monitor any inappropriate architectural modifications and ensure the management of the property;

b) Define the boundaries of the property and redefine the buffer zone to include the Barbarie Tongue, in accordance with the guidelines of the SEP;

c) Appoint a site manager responsible for drawing up a management plan, in collaboration with the Municipality and the communities of Saint-Louis;

d) Initiate a restoration pilot project to provide an example of good restoration practice, to reactivate the production sources of materials, and to revive restoration skills in Saint-Louis;

6. Encourages the State Party to submit an international assistance request in order to carry out an in-depth study on reactivating the production sources of traditional materials (mud bricks, lime, etc.) and the building of restoration skills in Saint-Louis;

7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 30 September 2006, all the technical information on the restoration project for the Faidherbe Bridge, so that the Committee can ensure that the work foreseen guarantees the preservation of the universal value of the property.

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, a report including a 2006 to 2008 action plan designed to implement the recommendations formulated above.