1.         Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin) (C 323bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1985

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1985-2007

Corrective measures identified

See in the Decision below

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/323/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1985-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 113,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/323/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/323/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

In 1999, a conservation and management plan for the Royal Palaces of Abomey was prepared and contained a list of priority activities whose implementation would result in the property being removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger within five years.

 On 10 February 2004, the government of Benin transmitted to the Secretariat a copy of the monitoring report on the Royal Palaces of Abomey. That report, which the Cultural Heritage Office of Benin prepared in December 2003, underlined the recent conservation works, including, among others:

a)  Restoration of the Béhanzin's Palace :

The restoration was made possible thanks to financing from Japan's funds in trust to UNESCO. Of the 6.50-hectare area, Béhanzin's Palace (one of the important palaces that the site includes) consists of seven buildings and many great walls. Conservation works on the buildings consisted on restorations and a few reconstructions. The bas-reliefs were also restored, using mostly local materials (soot, seeds, kaolin, earth, etc.). The great walls were almost totally rebuilt of stabilized Cob. An Interpretation Centre, open to the public, will be created there and a study of tree species found at the site is also planned, with the aim of creating an interpretative ecological trail.

b)   Restoration of the huts of Queens Agadja and Béhanzin in the Dossèmè Queens quarter :

The restoration, carried out with the Abomey Museum's equity capital, mainly consisted in repairing and stabilizing the fences, repairing the earthen plaster, repairing the roof structures and protecting the foundation walls.

According to the same report, the diversification of the international partnership was very beneficial to the site. It made it possible, among other things, to entirely restore the Agassou temples and its main gravesites (Glèlè, the Glèlè spouses, Agonglo, the Agonglo spouses, Guezo, the Guezo spouses, Akaba). The principle international partners were Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. In addition to the usual museum visit, visitors may now take a specific route to see the temples and graves.

During its 27th session, the World Heritage Committee asked the Centre and ICOMOS to carry out, in co-operation with the State Party, a site evaluation mission with a view to drafting a report that will enable the Committee to study this property's state of conservation and then to decide whether or not to remove it from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 28th session in 2004. The evaluation mission is ongoing and its findings will be orally submitted to the World Heritage Committee as soon as it is completed.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15A.14

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Taking note of the results of the joint mission undertaken by the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS,

2. Congratulates the State Party on its efforts to improve the conservation of the property;

3. Expresses its appreciation to the governments of Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States of America and Italy for their generous contributions to the protection of the property;

4. Encourages the State Party to pursue the implementation of the following measures to enable the Committee to consider removing the property in the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2007:

a) finalize the national legislative and administrative mechanism for the protection of Cultural heritage in Benin,

b) to establish new boundarieis of the property and clearly define the buffer zone which aims to protect its integrity,

c) evaluate and update the conservation and management plan of the property,

d) pursue restoration and conservation activities to cover at least half of the remaining structural components of the property considered to be in a serious deterioration;

5. Invites donors who are currently assisting Benin in the protection of Royal Palaces of Abomey to continue, as well as with the support of the rest of the international communities;

6. Decides to retain the Royal Palaces of Abomey on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-04/28.COM/15A Rev),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: