1.         Timbuktu (Mali) (C 119rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1990-2005, 2012-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress 

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6622 

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-2018)
Total amount approved: USD 189,352
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 100,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust; USD 55,000 from the UNESCO Emergency Fund; USD 2,100,000 from the Action plan Fund for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of ancient manuscripts in Mali

Previous monitoring missions

2002, 2004, 2005, 2006: World Heritage Centre missions; 2008, 2009 and 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; May, October and December 2012: UNESCO emergency missions to Mali; June 2013: UNESCO assessment mission to Timbuktu; April 2017: UNESCO Expert mission to assess the state of conservation of Mali's World Heritage properties

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 31 January 2018, in response to Decision 41 COM 7A.30, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, supplemented by a report submitted on 3 March 2018; these reports are available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/documents/, providing the following information:

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

The progress achieved by the State Party in the rehabilitation and conservation of the property at several levels and the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the Committee (Decision 40 COM 7A.6), despite the security situation, is warmly welcomed. The report submitted demonstrated that of the 12 corrective measures, nearly 10 of them are being implemented and it is recommended that the Committee congratulate the State Party.

In this context, the development of a new 2018-2022 Management and Conservation Plan constitutes major progress, however, the implementation will depend on the mobilization of sufficient means. This achievement, like the establishment of a Multidisciplinary Committee, demonstrates the increased involvement of the local community that remains very active. The continuation of rehabilitation and safeguarding works, in particular for the three mosques, the El-Farouk monument, the libraries of manuscripts and the museums, or also the extension of the IHERI-AB are again visible signs for the local population of the dynamic action being undertaken, mainly thanks to the contribution of the European Union to the second phase of the Rehabilitation Programme.

Despite this dynamic and the progress achieved, the unstable security situation still remains an important concern, all the more so since the military presence and the vibrations caused by the military vehicles constitute a new threat to the buildings. It is recommended that the State Party, in consultation with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), studies reorganization options for traffic adjacent to the listed buildings in order to reduce the potential negative effects.

Moreover, notwithstanding the planned interventions at the two cemeteries, for the repair and reconstruction of the enclosure walls and development work for the evacuation of rainwater, additional security measures at all the cemeteries containing mausoleums of saints are necessary, specifically the recruitment and training of guards for each cemetery and the installation of public lighting.

A further concern is the insufficient capacities of the Timbuktu Cultural Mission (MCT), in particular the need for logistic means (vehicles and motorbikes), human resources and funds and the rehabilitation of the disused premises of the MCT that remain unoccupied following acts of vandalism sustained during the occupation of the town in 2012. The State Party is encouraged to increase the budgetary means available to the MCT to better fulfil its central function and ensure the implementation of the new Management and Conservation Plan. In the same way, it is recommended that the Committee renew its appeal to the international community to contribute to the implementation of the second phase of the Action Plan for the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts of Mali (2017-2020). 

Finally, it is recommended that in response to the extremely difficult conditions prevailing at the site and the comparative isolation of staff, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies explore the possibility of setting up a short-term distance support programme in order to allow dialogue on capacity-building and the drafting of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

In view of all these remarks, it is recommended that the Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7A.14

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.29, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Notes with satisfaction the progress achieved in the implementation by the State Party of the corrective measures adopted at its 40th session, in a continuingly difficult context in northern Mali, notably the rehabilitation and safeguarding work of the three mosques, the private libraries and the museums, the El-Farouk monument and the development of Independence Square, and also the extension of the HERI-AB;
  4. Congratulates the State Party for the preparation of the new 2018-2022 Management and Conservation Plan, and the increased involvement of the local community in activities carried out for the benefit of the property;
  5. Warmly welcomes the interventions foreseen for the security of two cemeteries, and recommends the State Party to broaden the scope of its efforts to include all the cemeteries containing the mausoleums of saints through additional measures, in particular the recruitment and training of guards for each cemetery, as well as public lighting;
  6. Expresses its concern as regards the continuing unstable security situation and notably certain impacts due to military presence, such as the potentially negative effects of vibrations caused by military vehicles to the listed buildings, and also recommends that the State Party study, in consultation with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), reorganization options for traffic adjacent to the concerned buildings to reduce these effects;
  7. Encourages the State Party to increase the financial, logistical and human resources of the Timbuktu Cultural Mission, to enable an improved fulfilment of its central function and ensure the implementation of the new Management and Conservation Plan;
  8. Launches an appeal to the international community to provide support to the efforts of the State Party and contribute towards the implementation of the second phase of the Rehabilitation Programme for Cultural Heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts of Mali;
  9. Also encourages the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to explore the possibility of setting up a short-term distance support programme, in order to allow dialogue on capacity building and on drafting the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019;
  11. Decides to pursue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
  12. Also decides to retain Timbuktu (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/18/42.COM/7A, WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add and WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: