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World Heritage Convention

Decision 43 COM 7B.109
Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove (Nigeria) (C 1118)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.70, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Reiterates its concern that the main recommendations of the 2015 mission relating to vulnerabilities recognized by the Committee still remain unaddressed;
  4. Expresses its great concern that inadequate progress has been made on conservation, management and protection since inscription on the World Heritage List, with the result that what were only vulnerabilities are now turning into threats:
    1. Many sculptures are now in state of disrepair, some have collapsed and some have been reconstructed,
    2. There are no recurring funds for conservation,
    3. No progress has been made with detailed digital documentation,
    4. The river water is too polluted for any use as a result of effluent pollution from upstream,
    5. An artists’ village has been constructed within the property without notification being provided and against the advice of the 2015 mission,
    6. No progress has been made on realigning the road,
    7. No progress has been made with updating the now outdated Management Plan, as recommended by the 2015 mission to make the management more inclusive and to put the property onto a more sustainable basis;
  5. Takes note that a brief Conservation Methodology has been provided, but considers that it is not a satisfactory basis for conservation, as it has not been underpinned by any research into appropriate materials for the mud sculpture as an alternative to cement, as recommended by the 2015 mission, and it also approves the complete or partial reconstruction of sculptures;
  6. Expresses its concern that, while a sampling exercise of the river water has been undertaken, the water is not regularly sampled and that the negative outcomes have not been translated into any action to try and improve water quality, and urges the State Party to ensure warnings are provided to prevent people from any use of river water;
  7. Welcomes the fact that the Festival Committee has reinvested some profits in the property, but also expresses great concern that these funds have been used to create an artists’ village within the property against the recommendations of the 2015 mission and without any details being submitted for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and requests the State Party to explore the possibility that the artists’ village be moved outside the property;
  8. Also considers that the lack of real progress over many years is leading to potential threats to the key attributes of Outstanding Universal Value, and also urges the State Party to approve the necessary resources to allow the management team and the relevant local authorities to begin to address the many recommendations that have been made;
  9. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICCROM/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to address the abovementioned conservation issues in order to assess whether the threats facing the property would, in conformity with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines, represent or not a case for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and also to consider how the overall management of the property can be put on more inclusive and sustainable footing;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on steps taken to implement the recommendations abovementioned and those of the Reactive Monitoring mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Decision Code
43 COM 7B.109
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2019 Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove
Decisions adopted during the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee (Baku, 2019)
Context of Decision