State of Conservation
Tomb of Askia
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
- Deliberate destruction of heritage
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of site management
- Armed conflict
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
- Occupation of Gao city by armed groups
- Inability to ensure daily management in the protection and conservation of the property
- Risk of collapse of the property
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6623
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019
Total amount granted: UNESCO Emergency Fund: USD 40,000; Action plan for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of ancient manuscripts in Mali: USD 50,000
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 4
Total amount approved : 79,822 USD
|2018||RÉUNION DE VALIDATION DES PLANS DE GESTION ET DE ... (Approved)||1,037 USD|
|2018||Restauration et mise en valeur du Tombeau des Askia à ... (Approved)||24,585 USD|
|2012||Assistance internationale d’urgence pour la protection ... (Approved)||24,200 USD|
|2000||Préparation d'un dossier d'inscription pour le Tombeau ... (Approved)||30,000 USD|
Missions to the property until 2019**
May 2012: Emergency UNESCO mission to Bamako; October and December 2012: World Heritage Centre monitoring missions to Bamako; February 2014: UNESCO assessment mission to Gao; April 2017: UNESCO Expert mission to assess the state of conservation of Mali's World Heritage properties
|2014||Report on the Joint UNESCO- Mali assessment mission, Tomb of Askia|
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 31 January 2019, in response to Decision 42 COM 7A.15, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at address: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1139/documents/, providing the following information:
- The 2018-2022 Management and Conservation Plan has been initiated, involving the administrative and political authorities and the different actors of the region. Monitoring of the property is strengthened through weekly visits by the Chief of the Cultural Mission at Gao;
- Actions undertaken under International Assistance granted in 2018 are ongoing to repair damage to the roof, maintenance of the pyramidal tower and the regeneration of the hasu trees;
- Occupation of the buffer zone has been halted but integration of the Necropolis in a coherent ensemble with the white stone square has not yet begun;
- The Cultural Mission participated in the international course “First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis”, FAC-AFRICA, at Bamako (12-30 November 2018), organized by UNESCO and ICCROM, with the Ministry of Culture of Mali, which brought together cultural heritage restoration specialists from 19 countries and four continents;
- In the framework of monitoring the state of conservation with a view to preparing a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), an initial meeting between the managers of the four Malian World Heritage sites was held in Bamako (October 2018);
- Signboards have been installed at the entrance to the site with financial assistance from Force Barkhane, demonstrating the involvement of the security and peace-keeping forces at the site, who regularly visit the property;
- Young people are involved and made aware of the need to protect the property through multiple activities;
- The State Party also emphasizes the need to organize periodic meetings between UNESCO specialists and the managers of the sites and recalls the importance of providing the Cultural Mission with sufficient financial and logistical means.
Following the proposal of property’s Management Committee to plant 50 eucalyptus trees in the courtyard of the Tomb of Askia, the CRAterre Association as well as the National Directorate of Cultural Heritage (DNPC) of Mali have expressed their deep concern on the potential negative impact that this measure could have on the property. On 8 May 2019, the Cultural Mission informed the DNPC and the World Heritage Centre of the abandonment of the project.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019
The State Party, through the Cultural Mission at Gao, continues its efforts for the conservation and management of the property and the implementation of the corrective measures. Apart from work already accomplished and ongoing on the building, it is appropriate to commend the efforts made in facilitating the involvement of the different actors, notably at Governorate level, and the interim and Town authorities in the execution of the new Management and Conservation Plan (PGC).
It is also appreciated that the youth are mobilised through various activities. The involvement of the security and peace-keeping forces through regular visits to the property and the installation of signboards is also welcomed.
The International Assistance enables the continuance of the work necessary for the restoration and the stabilisation of the property and for the planting of the hasu trees. However, regrettably, the State Party has not provided detailed information on the progress of these activities despite the designation of plots for the planting of the hasu trees. In addition, the restoration, rehabilitation and maintenance work on the building for the men’s prayer room, in particular, the roof damaged by torrential rains in August 2017, remains uncompleted. Acceleration of the work is therefore urgent. As regards the proposal to plant eucalyptus trees inside the property, it is noted with relief that this project has been abandoned to avoid the risk of an invasive species, heavy water consumer, causing a possible reduction in underground water and provoking land subsidence and eventual weakening of the property.
In the face of constant restoration and stabilization needs of all the components of the property, the State Party makes no mention of the rehabilitation project of the property for an amount of 500,000 US dollars provided by the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH). This project will be carried out by the National Directorate of Cultural Heritage of Mali in collaboration with the CRAterre Association. It is appropriate that the Committee congratulate the State Party for this important mobilization of funds, and request it to submit all information available on this programme to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies. This, to ensure that the actions are effected in coherence, synergy and complementarity with, in particular, those carried out by the UNESCO Bureau in Bamako in the framework of Phase II of the Action Plan for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts (2017-2021).
The rehabilitation and installation into new premises of the Sahel Museum at Gao, inaugurated on 6 February 2019, is to be commended. Funded by the European Union, this project has provided the museum with a new exhibition and enhanced its collection, also highlighting the revival of cultural activities following the 2012 crisis, including the post-crisis plastering of the Tomb of Askia, which has since taken place twice. Such valorising and promotional cultural heritage actions are of considerable importance, in particular for the local communities.
Finally, it is appreciable that training sessions, similar to the “First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis” (FAC-AFRICA) continue, but the appeal to support capacity building of the Cultural Mission, including the actors and concerned parties collaborating regularly with it, and provide financial and logistical means to develop the DSOCR, should be reiterated.
With regard to the above points, it is recommended that the Committee decide to maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.55
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.15, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
- Warmly welcomes the efforts undertaken by the State Party to ensure the conservation and the management of the property and the implementation of the corrective measures, notably through the application of the 2018-2022 Management and Conservation Plan, with the participation and involvement of the different actors in the management of the property, in particular the administrative and political authorities;
- Commends, in particular, the mobilization of the youth who organize guided tours, training sessions, and exchange meetings on heritage protection, as well as the security and peace-keeping forces through their regular visits to the property;
- Also commends the rehabilitation and installation of the Sahel Museum at Gao into new premises and its endowment of a new exhibition and enhancement of its collection, including a section highlighting the revival of cultural activities following the 2012 crisis, including the post-crisis plastering of the Tomb of Askia which valorizes and promotes cultural heritage;
- Takes note of the implementation of the ongoing International Assistance for the restoration and stabilization of the property and the hasu tree plantation, but exhorts the State Party to avoid all tree plantations of eucalyptus inside the property likely to weaken it, and to accelerate implementation of the restoration, rehabilitation and maintenance work of the building serving as a men’s prayer space, notably the roof damaged by torrential rains in August 2017;
- Congratulates the State Party for the mobilization of funds from the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) to initiate a full rehabilitation project carried out by the National Directorate of Cultural Heritage of Mali in collaboration with the CRAterre Association, and requests it to submit to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies all available information on this programme, to ensure that the actions are carried out in coherence, synergy and complementarity with, in particular, those actions of the UNESCO Bureau in Bamako, in the framework of the Action Plan for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts of Mali;
- Recognizes the efforts deployed to strengthen conservation capacities of the property, reiterates its appeal to the State Party and the international community to support capacity-building of the Cultural Mission and provide it, as well as the actors and concerned parties regularly collaborating with the Mission, with financial and logistical means, notably to develop the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020;
- Decides to pursue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
- Also decides to retain the Tomb of Askia (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).