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 1981-2015)
Total amount approved: USD 84,577
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 110,000 (Italian Funds-in-Trust); USD 23,100 (Croisi Europe); USD 86,900 (European Commission); USD 53,000 (Netherland Funds-in-Trust)

Previous monitoring missions

2002, 2005: World Heritage Centre missions; 2006: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; 2014: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report, which was requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015). Notwithstanding, a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission was carried out from 1 to 6 April 2016 so updated information can be presented regarding the concerns expressed by the Committee in 2014. The mission report is available online at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/documents.

The mission assessed the current state of conservation of the property and the progress made in the implementation of the priority action plan adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014). It noted that security conditions have worsened and the current situation is not conducive to implement effectively the measures set forth in the action plan. Very little progress has been achieved and limited measures have been implemented, namely at the archaeological component of Djenné-Djeno (measures to mitigate erosion) and placing information panels. Financial and technical resources continue to be insufficient to address the magnitude of the task at hand both for the cultural mission and for the mayor’s office.

Consequently, the rate and extent of factors that pose a threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and its conditions of authenticity and integrity, have been exacerbated. The archaeological sites, crucial component parts of the property, have continued to be affected by urban pressure given the lack of property titles and clear definitions of boundaries. Natural and human decline factors have also continued unabated, leading to significant erosion of the remains and exposure of artefacts.  The historic fabric of the town has continued to degrade due to the lack of maintenance (largely in part due to the economic difficulties faced by local inhabitants) and long standing factors including the lack of enforcement of urban regulations to control encroachment and new informal construction and to prevent the use of inappropriate materials or interventions. The existing Management and Conservation Plan for the property remains unimplemented.  Finally, the mission noted that issues related to solid waste management, sewage and general sanitation, highly detrimental to the local inhabitants, have been further exacerbated. Riverbanks are not only being used for solid waste deposits, there is also a significant number of illegal constructions in the area.

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

The State Party has attempted in the past years to address the recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee. However, the difficult conditions and continued conflict that prevails in Mali have severely hindered the ability to implement the agreed upon priority action plan and to systematically address threatening factors and allocate sufficient financial, human and material resources for the task at hand.

The implementation of the Priority Action Plan was crucial to begin to reverse the detrimental impact of different factors on the OUV of the property. The 2014 mission noted that urgent action was needed so that the unique attributes and integrity and authenticity conditions were not further compromised. The 2016 mission could not verify any improvement in conditions and, in fact, underscored that the situation had further deteriorated. Current threats to the property correspond both to the criteria for ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines. In terms of ascertained danger, there is a serious deterioration of materials in the historic town, which, in conjunction with inappropriate interventions, have started to erode the architectural coherence of the town. Continued decay at the archaeological sites, both from natural and human-made factors have led to the erosion of the cultural significance of these crucial component parts of the property. In terms of potential danger, the lack of enforcement and implementation of regulatory and planning tools has increased pressures on the historic building stock and archaeological sites and is eroding the attributes that embody the OUV of the property.

Given the above considerations, and the lack of substantial progress verified by the 2016 mission, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee inscribe the property on the List of the World Heritage in Danger. This would be an important call for action for various local stakeholders, and for the international community, so that the necessary corrective measures can be implemented to ensure a sustained and appropriate course of action that will guarantee the protection of the property. The Reactive Monitoring mission defined a preliminary list of corrective measures that are considered a priority for implementation within the next three years to begin addressing current threats to the property. This provisional list of corrective measures should be further developed by the State Party, in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to define the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), in accordance to the established guidelines.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.13

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.41, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit a state of conservation report, as requested by the Committee;
  4. Notes the results from the 2016 Reactive Monitoring mission to the property and encourages the State Party to improve the state of conservation of the historic town and of the archaeological sites, and the lack of substantial progress achieved in the implementation of the Priority Action Plan adopted in 2014;
  5. Considers that the optimal administrative, financial and security conditions are not present at this time to ensure the safeguarding of all component parts of the property and the protection of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  6. Also considers that the property is threatened by both ascertained and potential danger, in accordance with paragraphs 177 to 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Decides to inscribe Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  8. Adopts the following provisional list of corrective measures for implementation within the next three years:
For the archaeological sites:
a) Protection, boundaries and buffer zones:
(i) Redefine the buffer zone taking into account identifiable natural elements and installing visible and resistant markers,
(ii) Re-examine protection for the Kaniana and Tonomba ancient city sites to control construction,
(iii) Undertake the necessary formalities to provide land titles to all four sites,
(iv) Reinforce surveillance at the sites and adequately protect areas where surface artefacts are concentrated,
b) Mitigation of erosion:
(i) Carry out a precise condition survey of the gullies prior to the implementation of anti-erosion measures,
(ii) Reinforce existing systems based on the technical study of hydrological dynamics and in consultation with an expert on soil protection,
c) Enhancement of sites:
(i) Update existing cartography to include all component parts and to identify visitation and use routes,
(ii) Update existing signage and install complementary panels where needed,
(iii) Utilise research information to increase awareness and promote the significance of these sites,
For the historic town:
d) Protection, integrity and authenticity:
(i) Define an adequate buffer zone and clearly delimitate it to prevent further illegal and unplanned occupations,
(ii) Define conservation and maintenance regulations for the building stock at the historic town,
(iii) Develop a materials bank to facilitate access to materials to support earthen architecture maintenance actions by the local inhabitants,
(iv) Implement measures to address illegal occupations at the river banks,
e) Sanitation and waste management:
(i) Revitalise local sanitation services to improve controls at the neighbourhood level,
(ii) Install restriction and information panels at the river banks to assist in deterring illegal waste dumping,
Management system:
f) Develop, adopt and commence the implementation of a conservation and management plan for all the components at the property,
g) Finalise the adoption and commence the priority implementation of the developed urban regulatory measures,
h) Strengthen institutional frameworks and competences to enhance enforcement of regulatory measures and planning tools,
i) Secure resources to strengthen the activities of the Cultural Mission and provide logistic support for awareness-raising and promotion actions,
j) Allow for the definition and full operation of coherent and inclusive management arrangements, including an operational Management Committee and regular consultation with neighbourhood leaders, traditional, customary and religious authorities;
9. Calls upon the international community to support the State Party, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in any way possible for priority conservation, management measures and capacity building programmes;
10. Requests the State Party, as soon as it is feasible, and in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to further develop the above-mentioned provisional list of corrective measures with an updated timeframe for their implementation, as well as a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
11. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8C.1

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (WHC/16/40.COM/7B, WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add.2) and the proposals for inscription of properties on the World Heritage List (WHC/16/40.COM/8B and WHC/16/40.COM/8B.Add),
  2. Decides to inscribe the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decisions 40 COM 7B.24 and 40 COM 7B.106)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 40 COM 7B.106)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 40 COM 7B.106)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of the Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 40 COM 7B.106)
    • Libya, Archaeological Site of the Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decisions 40 COM 7B.25 and 40 COM 7B.106)
    • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 40 COM 7B.13)
    • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 40 COM 8B.22)
    • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 40 COM 7B.48).