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Balancing development and conservation in Grand-Bassam (Côte d’Ivoire)

The inscription of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam on the World Heritage List has provided new opportunities to promote sustainable development in the city. From the creation of a local World Heritage management office to the development of cultural tourism and private-public partnerships, a wide range of initiatives aim to strike a balance between conservation needs and local livelihoods.  

About Grand-Bassam

Grand-Bassam is a city located in southeastern Côte d’Ivoire, in the region of Sud-Comoé. The city is located in a narrow strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ouladine lagoon.

The first capital of Côte d’Ivoire, the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam, is an example of a late 19th- and early 20th-century colonial town planned with quarters specialising in commerce, administration, housing for Europeans and for Africans. The site includes the N’zima African fishing village alongside colonial architecture marked by functional houses with galleries, verandas and gardens. Grand-Bassam was the first port, economic and judicial capital of Côte d’Ivoire. It bears witness to the complex social and spatial relations between Europeans and Africans, and to the subsequent independence movement. As a vibrant centre of the territory of French trading posts in the Gulf of Guinea, which preceded modern Côte d’Ivoire, it attracted populations from all parts of Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean Levant.

The Historic Town of Grand-Bassam was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2012 under criteria (iii) and (iv). The State of Conservation Reports presented to the World Heritage Committee between 2013 and 2021 highlight issues related to the management and legal frameworks, which suffer from insufficient human and financial resources.

Architectural, environmental and landscape values of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam © Archives MPC
Cultural values: social gathering after the Celebration of the Abissa in the N'Zima community © Archives MPC

Climate change-related impacts

The strategic geographical location of the historic city between the lagoon and the ocean makes it especially vulnerable to natural disasters. In October 2019, heavy rainfall led to overflowing in the Comoé River and its tributaries (Ebrié and Ouladine lagoons), causing flooding in the village of N’zima and producing substantial material damages. The State of Conservation report by the State Party following the 2019 floods can be accessed here. In response, Cote d’Ivoire put in place a crisis management system, relocating the affected populations, providing them with support and food assistance, and requesting the organization of a UNESCO emergency mission. The report of the mission, which took place in November 2019, is available here.

Traditional and Indigenous knowledge and practices

Due to the long history of natural disasters in Grand-Bassam, the local communities have developed intangible heritage practices that help the community stay together in the face of disaster. After the 2019 floods, the local N’zima community engaged in the customary crisis management processes through traditional leaders such as the priestesses and warriors of the king, through traditional rituals to ward off bad luck, which was proved to strengthen the community’s capacity to respond to the crisis. 

Visit of political and administrative authorities after the 2019 floods in the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam © Archives MPC
Assistance by the national authorities to the local communities affected by the 2019 floods © Archives MPC

Finding a balance between development and conservation in Grand-Bassam

The inscription of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam on the World Heritage List has provided new opportunities to promote sustainable development in the city. On the one hand, the listing has led to heightened standards in terms of site management, legal frameworks and community engagement. On the other hand, the city has now access to additional technical and economic support and its attractiveness as a tourist destination has greatly increased. This has created a unique opportunity to promote sustainable economic development and contribute to local livelihoods. Despite this positive context, grey areas remain. Therefore, the improvement of the management of the site became of utmost importance.

In order to improve the World Heritage management and legal frameworks and promote sustainable development, a diverse programme of initiatives has been developed. The programme aims to strike a balance between the conservation and enhancement of the heritage values of the site and the social and economic needs of residents.

1. Reinforcement of the legal and institutional framework

The Ivorian Ministry of Culture is currently developing an update of the World Heritage conservation and management plan of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam, with the support of UNESCO and funding by the Government of Norway. The update process has brought together all stakeholders involved in the management of the property. The new conservation and management plan aims to reinforce the capacities of the local World Heritage Management office and improve its financial and operational autonomy.

Workshop for the update of the conservation and management plan for the Historic Town of Grand Bassam in July 2021 © Archives Bureau UNESCO Abidjan

Additionally, the State of Côte d’Ivoire is in process of reviewing Law n. 87-806 of 28 July 1987 concerning the protection of cultural heritage in order to improve globally the protection of intangible, archaeological and underwater cultural heritage, and establish penal sanctions. In parallel to this initiative, Côte d’Ivoire is carrying out a project to revise the texts concerning the organisation of local World Heritage management institutions in order to enhance their performance.

2. Improving community involvement in World Heritage management

In order to promote community involvement in World Heritage management, a local World Heritage management office was created by the national authorities. The World Heritage Management office isknown as Secrétariat Exécutif du Programme de Gestion de la Ville historique de Grand-Bassam or Maison du Patrimoine Culturel de Grand-Bassam. This office is supported by local management entities, including a Local Management Committee and a Commission in charge of examining and issuing building approvals. The local management entities are composed of political, administrative, traditional and religious authorities, as well as representatives of local associations and businesses, who participate jointly in the decision-making process. This participative process aims to increase the involvement, connection and sense of responsibility of stakeholders and local communities with respect to the management of the site.

Guided tour of Michel CAMDESSUS in the historic city in 2018 in the presence of the Mayor EZALE and the manager of the DJAKO site © Archives MPC

3. Awareness-raising and educational activities

The World Heritage management office carries out guided visits for different publics in order to raise awareness and educate about the heritage values of the site. Special attention is paid to children and teenagers, who participate in special guided tours and educational workshops in schools. At the same time, conferences and thematic exhibitions are organised each year on 18 April, on the occasion of International Day of Monuments and Sites.

Opening of the 2nd edition of the International Monuments and Site Day at the Maison du Patrimoine Culturel in 2018 © Archives MPC
Guided tour of the Historic City of Grand Bassam for the students of the Blaise Pascal College from Abidjan © MPC Archives

4. Development of cultural tourism

The inscription of the site on the World Heritage List has increased Grand-Bassam’s attractiveness as a touristic destination, both for domestic and international visitors. Consequently, there is an opportunity to develop infrastructures and services linked to tourism, such as accommodation, hotels, restauration, transportation, touristic guides and traditional handcrafting. If properly managed, sustainable tourism can greatly contribute to local livelihoods and economic development.

In this context, a framework of private-public partnerships (PPP) is currently being developed with the support of the National Committee for Pilot Public-Private Partnerships and the African Development Bank. PPPs are especially envisaged for publicly owned real estate which are suitable for this kind of development but will also be open for privately owned assets. It is expected that PPPs will lead to the development of touristic infrastructure in the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam, in a way that respects the conservation and management goals of the site and that contributes to local livelihoods. The reuse of historical buildings for new functions, such as hotels or galleries, will also be promoted.

Finally, the Tutorat project has established a programme for emphyteutic leases, through which commercial operators can obtain long-term leases on private buildings in exchange of their restauration or rehabilitation.

Advice of the World Heritage Committee

The sustainable development plan of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam and its different initiatives were reviewed during the 44th Session the World Heritage Committee in 2021. The Committee welcomed the draft revision of the conservation and management plan (including the risk management plan), as well as the cooperation initiatives taken in favour of heritage restoration, in particular through public-private partnership agreements. However, the Committee also expressed its deep concern at the acceleration of the degradation of the state of conservation of several heritage buildings, and requested the State Party to consider these initiatives in a planned manner, with particular emphasis on group operations, and strengthen them by:

  • Consolidation and updating of the inventory of existing heritage,
  • Establishment of in-depth architectural and cultural diagnoses,
  • Strengthening of the monitoring and control of town planning and construction rules and the application of regulations by all concerned public and private actors,
  • Capacity building for heritage and construction professionals,
  • Establishment of a monitoring committee for restoration work.

Additionally, the Committee requested the State Party to strengthen the management of the site and encouraged the finalization of the revision of the conservation and management plan. (Decision 44 COM 7B.2)

Climate action solutions and strategies

The catastrophic 2019 floods evidence the vulnerability of the city towards natural disasters and climate change. In order to reduce and manage disaster risks, the World Heritage management office is developing a risk management plan, which will be incorporated in the updated World Heritage management plan. Two thematic workshops have been carried out in 2015 and 2021 by the National Office for Cultural Heritage, with the support of UNESCO.

At the same time, it is essential to strengthen the resilience of local and vulnerable populations to natural disasters, in particular, by building the capacity of the World Heritage management body and local communities in disaster risk management. This capacity building must also take into account the endogenous principles of disaster management of local communities, in order to minimise their human, social and economic impacts. After the 2019 floods, the local N’zima community engaged in the customary crisis management processes through traditional leaders such as the priestesses and warriors of the king, through traditional rituals to ward off bad luck. This process strengthened the community’s capacity to respond to the crisis, seen in continuity with a long history of natural disasters in Grand-Bassam.

Launching event for the works to open the mouth of the Comoé River by the Ivorian authorities in November 2019 © MPC Archives

Conclusion

The inscription of a site in the World Heritage List creates unique opportunities for local development. However, achieving sustainable development after World Heritage listing is no easy task, and requires an integrated programme of wide-ranging actions, from physical heritage conservation to educational and awareness-raising programmes and funding, planning, legal and management frameworks. The case study of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam shows that continuous engagement and dedication is needed to fully harness the potential of cultural heritage to contribute to sustainable development. Additionally, innovative initiatives such as the development of private-public partnerships and emphyteutic leases provides an insight into the wide range of tools available to carry out this vision. According to the site managers of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam, sustainable urban development and heritage conservation are two complementary goals, which can mutually benefit and complement each other as part of integrated urban development programmes.

Source: Mr DJAKO Romaric, site manager of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam, 2021; UNESO Office in Abidjan, 2021

Contribution towards global goals

How does this case study contribute to the global commitments of sustainable development, climate change action and heritage conservation?

Singoloua225, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sustainable development

The initiative aims to contribute towards sustainable development by addressing the following Sustainable Development Goals:


Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Target 1.5: the initiative includes the development of a disaster risk management plan which seeks to build the resilience of those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events.


Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Target 4.5: the educational and awareness-raising programmes on the heritage values of the Historic Town, developed by the Maison du Patrimoine and supported by the City of Grand-Bassam, aim to reduce gender inequalities in the field of education and ensure equal access for vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, indigenous people and children in vulnerable situations.

Target 4.7: the educational programmes in the sustainable development plan of Grand-Bassam aim to equip residents with the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles


Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Target 6.2: The city's sustainable development plan undertakes efforts to ensure equitable access to adequate sanitation and hygiene services for all.


Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Target 8.3: the Grand-Bassam sustainable development programme comprises development-oriented policies, especially regarding financing and partnerships that aim to support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

Target 8.9: the Grand-Bassam sustainable development programme aims to devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.


Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Target 11.3: overall, the Grand-Bassam sustainable development plan aims to enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management. 

Target 11.4: overall, the Grand-Bassam sustainable development plan aims to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage by promoting heritage conservation and sustainable urban development in line with the site’s conservation and management goals.

Target 11.5: the update of the World Heritage conservation and management plan of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam – World Heritage and, especially, the disaster risk reduction plan aims to reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected by disasters, along with decreasing the economic losses, with a focus on protecting people in vulnerable situations.

Target 11.b: the Grand-Bassam sustainable development plan and the update of the World Heritage conservation and management plan aim to adopt and implement integrated policies.


Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Target 13.2: the Grand-Bassam sustainable development plan aims to integrate climate change measures into national and local policies, strategies and planning. Additionally, the State of Côte d'Ivoire is undertaking the opening of the mouth of the Comoé de Grand-Bassam River in order to mitigate the adverse effects of flooding due to climate change.

Target 13.3: the Grand-Bassam sustainable development plan plans to reinforce human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation and impact reduction.


Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Target 17.16: the Grand-Bassam sustainable development plan aims to enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilise and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.


Climate change

Grand Bassam is vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change. In October 2019, heavy rainfall led to overflowing in the Comoé River and its tributaries (Ebrié and Ouladine lagoons), causing flooding in the village of N’zima and producing substantial material damages.

Due to the long history of natural disasters in Grand-Bassam, the local communities have developed intangible heritage practices that help the community stay together in the face of disaster. After the 2019 floods, the local N’zima community engaged in the customary crisis management processes through traditional leaders such as the priestesses and warriors of the king, through traditional rituals to ward off bad luck, which was proved to strengthen the community’s capacity to respond to the crisis. 

Reduce disaster risk by developing a risk management plan, integrated in urban and heritage management plans. 
Strengthen the resilience of local and vulnerable populations to natural disasters, by building the capacity of site managers and local communities in disaster risk management. This capacity building must also take into account the endogenous principles of disaster management of local communities, in order to minimise their human, social and economic impacts. 
Include customary crisis management processes in crisis response plans. 



Historic Urban Landscape

The project aims to contribute to the implementation of the approach of the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape by integrating urban development and heritage conservation goals, involving the local communities and stakeholders in the safeguarding and management of the urban heritage, and creating strategic partnerships with urban agents to ensure the implementation of development and management plans. 

Civic engagement Knowledge and planning Regulatory systems Financial

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  • Cover image: Aerial view of the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam © Archives MPC

Note: The cases shared in this platform address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Items being showcased in this website do not entail any type of recognition or inclusion in the World Heritage list or any of its thematic programmes. The practices shared are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The described potential impacts of the initiative are only indicative and based on submitted and available information. The World Heritage Centre does not carry out an independent verification of the projects and their impacts.

Decisions / Resolutions (5)
Code: 44COM 7B.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.67, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Welcomes the State Party's reactivity following the floods, by putting in place a crisis management system, by relocating the affected populations and by requesting the organization of a UNESCO emergency mission;
  4. Notes the implementation of the project to reopen the Comoé River as part of the project to safeguard and enhance the Cocody bay and the Ebrié lagoon (PABC), regrets that this project was not submitted to the World Heritage Centre in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and requests the State Party to submit the PABC to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible, for review by the Advisory Bodies so that solutions can be found to adapt the approach to the recommendations provided in the report of the emergency mission of October 2019, and more particularly to:
    1. Submit to the World Heritage Centre, before any intervention, the dykes project with its different height scenarios for evaluation by the Advisory Bodies,
    2. Carry out a visual and heritage impact study of the civil engineering project planned for a height of 6 metres;
  5. Expresses its deep concern at the acceleration of the degradation of the state of conservation of several heritage buildings, including the courthouse, the lighthouse and the former post and customs hotel and, while welcoming the cooperation initiatives taken by the State Party in favour of heritage restoration, in particular through public/private partnership agreements, also requests the State Party to:
    1. Consider these initiatives in a planned manner, with particular emphasis on group operations,
    2. Strengthen these initiatives by:
      1. Consolidation and updating of the inventory of existing heritage,
      2. Establishment of in-depth architectural and cultural diagnoses,
      3. Strengthening of the monitoring and control of town planning and construction rules and the application of regulations by all concerned public and private actors,
      4. Capacity building for heritage and construction professionals,
      5. Establishment of a monitoring committee for restoration work;
  6. Further requests the State Party to strengthen the management of the site, by giving more resources to the Heritage House and to relocate it in a heritage building, thus giving it an emblematic and exemplary character at the heart of the site;
  7. Also welcomes the draft revision of the conservation and management plan (including a risk management plan) and encourages the State Party to finalize it;
  8. Thanks the Government of Norway for its financial support for the implementation of a support programme for the preservation of the property, which includes in particular the inventory work, the finalization of the management plan, the revision and publication of an interventions guide on the property and the establishment of a monitoring committee for restoration work;
  9. Also encourages the State Party to strengthen measures to safeguard and promote the intangible heritage of the N'zima community;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.

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Code: 41COM 7B.67

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 8B.17, 37 COM 7B.37 and 39 COM 7B.38, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for the implementation of the conservation and valorization measures in response to the points raised by the Committee in its previous decisions, notably Decision 39 COM 7B.38;
  4. Takes note with satisfaction of the continuation of international partnerships, in particular for training in conservation and management, as well as the involvement and mobilization of local communities and efforts to promote the property;
  5. Encourages the State Party to continue to implement the specific actions requested by the Committee in its previous decisions and reflected in the Action Plan aimed at strengthening the protection and conservation of the property, further the documentary research on the property, keep the inventory up to date, and regularly verify the applicability of the reglementary texts for a sustainable and efficient conservation and management of the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to keep the Committee informed of the implementation of major projects, namely the restoration in conformity with the ancient Palace of Justice, restoration of the Grand Bassam Cultural Heritage House, the development of the road network for the property, operational projects in the framework of the application of the Sanitation Master Plan, and the reopening of the river mouth, and reminds the State Party of the need to inform the Committee, through the World Heritage Centre, of any future projects likely to affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including its authenticity or integrity, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, before hard-to-reverse decisions are taken;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above-mentioned points.

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Code: 39COM 7B.38

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37, adopted respectively at its 36th (St. Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions,
  3. Commends the State Party for the implementation of most of the points raised in Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37, and for the various cooperation initiatives developed at national level between stakeholders, and at international bilateral and multilateral levels;
  4. Takes note of the extension of the boundaries of the buffer zone and encourages the State Party to continue its reflection on the revision of the boundaries of the zone;
  5. Notes with satisfaction the State Party's efforts for the establishment of the Heritage House and the development of conservation and daily management tools for the architectural, urban and landscape heritage, and for the restoration operations and the monitoring of natural threats;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement the specific actions required by Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37 and reflected in the Action Plan to strengthen the protection and conservation of the property and bearing on the following themes:
    1. Urban conservation, planning and integrated urban development, taking into account the historic urban landscape and archival documentation,
    2. Training and capacity building in architectural, urban and landscape conservation at local and national level,
    3. Strengthening of financial resources and the technical and administrative capacities of the Heritage House to raise funds and implement activities,
    4. Application of emergency and restoration measures in conformity with the old Palais de Justice;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016 an updated report, including a 1-page analytical summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.

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Code: 37COM 7B.37

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 8B.17 adopted at the 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Takes note of the information provided by the State Party, in particular the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone;

4.  Notes with satisfaction the inscription of all the outstanding monuments and sites of the property on the National Heritage List, the establishment of the local Management Committee, the institutionalisation of the Heritage Centre, an improved functioning of the Building Permits Commission and the implementation of different restoration programmes for the outstanding monuments and houses of the property;

5.  Encourages the State Party to pursue its efforts for the improved knowledge of the property (cadastral inventory) and further to continue its efforts to strengthen the protection of the property through the Building Permits Commission, the conservation of the property and its monitoring as concerns the privately owned buildings and tree-lined areas, daily management (illegal habitations, waste and pollution) and the surveillance of natural threats (closure of the lagoon and its consequences, coastal erosion);

6.  Requests the State Party to:

a)  Provide a global map showing the boundary of the property and its new buffer zone,

b)  Indicate the human resources of the local Management Committee and the Heritage Centre responsible for the management of the property,

c)  Confirm that the notifications of the Heritage Centre and/or the local Management Committee of the property, for the attention of the Building Permits Commission are, in fact, suspensive and not simply consultative, as indicated in some of the documents provided at the time of inscription,

d)  Implement a policy to assist in the conservation of private immovable property at both the technical level (practical conservation guide) and financial (combined public/private assistance),

e)  Implement a plantation and green spaces programme that respects the authenticity of the property in this domain, and carry out the necessary prior studies,

f)   Define more diversified and precise monitoring indicators for conservation, to be applied to both monuments and houses, public squares and plantations.  They must cover all the constitutive components of the property, both public and private;

7.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2015 , a report on the state of conservation of the property providing information on the implementation of the above-mentioned points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

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Code: 36COM 8B.17

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Documents WHC-12/36.COM/8B.Add and WHC-12/36.COM/INF.8B1.Add,

2.   Inscribes the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (iii) and (iv);

3.   Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief synthesis

The historic town of Grand-Bassam is an example of a colonial town built at the end of the 19th century and during the early 20th century. It follows a planning concept based on the specialisation of quarters for commerce, administration, housing for Europeans and housing for Africans. It embodies, on the one hand, colonial architecture and town planning, based on the principles of functionalism and hygiene of the time, and adapted to climatic conditions, and, on the other hand, an village N’zima which demonstrates the permanency of indigenous cultures. Grand-Bassam was the first colonial capital, and the most important port, economic centre and legal centre of Côte d’Ivoire; it bears witness to the complex social relations between Europeans and Africans, and then to the popular movement in favour of independence.

Criterion (iii): Grand-Bassam bears witness, through its well preserved urban organisation, to an important cultural tradition linked to its role as a colonial capital, an administrative centre for the former AOF (Afrique occidentale française) and a regional commercial hub. From the 1880s to the 1950s, the town brought together various African, European and Middle Eastern populations. Cohabitation between them was harmonious but at the same time conflictual. 

Criterion (iv): Grand-Bassam constitutes an outstanding example of rational colonial town planning, with its specialised quarters in an overall urban network in which vegetation has an important role. The colonial architecture is characterised by a sober and functional style, using principles of hygiene adapted to a tropical location. The organisation of the vernacular house in the N'zima village echoes this approach, expressing the permanency of indigenous values.

Integrity

The integrity of the urban fabric is generally good. The property includes sufficiently large ensembles of characteristic built structures to enable them to be well understood. However, the architectural integrity of the buildings is under threat in many cases, because of abandonment and lack of maintenance. The integrity of the urban landscape might be under threat from the pressure for property linked to beach tourism.

Authenticity

The authenticity of the urban fabric has been generally conserved, enabling satisfactory expression of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. While some buildings, which are generally the public ones, have been acceptably restored and reused, the architectural integrity of a large number of buildings is often mediocre or poor, and their authenticity has in some cases been adversely affected by alterations which are not in keeping with the original design.

Protection and management requirements

Protection of the property and its management system are appropriate and their implementation is under way, including through the establishment of the Cultural Heritage Centre and through the overarching Building Permits Commission. However, it is essential to confirm the suspensive effect of decisions of the latter and strengthen the human and financial resources dedicated to the conservation of the property. The boundaries of the unified buffer zone should be extended around the Petit Paris embankment and the lighthouse as in the original nomination dossier.

4.   Requests the State Party to implement the following regulatory measures:

a)   Refine the already well advanced definition of the contour of the property on the basis of cadastral boundaries,

b)   Enlarge the property’s buffer zone by reverting to the initially planned boundaries near the Quai du Petit Paris and the lighthouse, while retaining the current extension which unifies the buffer zone,

c)   Inscribe all the “buildings of heritage interest” in the local inventory on the National Cultural Heritage List,

d)   Clarify, in the near future, the land ownership situation, as the number of land lots announced is the same as in the initial dossier (of 2008), even though the property has been extended to include the N’zima village, and in relation to land lots for which there is no property deed,

e)   Define operational monitoring indicators (in addition to the current indicators) which correspond to precise, periodic and quantified monitoring actions, by considering international standards in this area,

f)    Strengthen and give details of the permanent human resources of the Local Committee and/or of the Cultural Heritage Centre for the property conservation monitoring actions; the presence of an architect and of conservation specialists is necessary;

5.   Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:

a)   Providing a progress report on the setting up and functioning of the Building Permits Commission,

b)   Continuing the efforts undertaken to reinforce the practical and operational dimension of the Plan for the Conservation and Management of the property,

c)   Confirming the measures to provide encouragement for the restoration and conservation of the privately owned buildings;

6.   Requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2013, a report to the World Heritage Centre outlining progress made in the implementation of the demands and above-mentioned recommendations to be examined by the Committee at its 37th session in 2013.

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