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-present

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

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-2004)
Total amount approved: USD 164,115
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

World Heritage Centre mission in January 2004, July 2004 (with ICOMOS) and February 2005.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

- No delimitation and protective measures for the buffer zone of the property;

- No management plan;

- Urban development pressure;

- Flooding risks and waste management problems.

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

From 14 to 16 February 2005, a World Heritage mission went to Timbuktu to participate in a Round Table meeting organised by the State Party on conservation issues of the city of Timbuktu. The mission made the following observations:

a) Implementation of Emergency assistance granted in 2004 following the flooding of the city in 2003:

On the recommendation of ICOMOS, a summary strategic conservation plan was prepared in July 2004, thanks to financial support from the Italian Government. This plan contains a number of recommendations and rules that should be taken into account when implementing emergency assistance. The border fountain was repaired and once again provides drinking water to the Sankoré Mosque quarter. One of the 50 dwellings was rebuilt and will serve as a model for the other houses. The restoration of three mosques is underway. All work should be finished by August 2005.

b) Impact of technical missions financed in the framework of the UNESCO-Italy cooperation agreement:

To date, the Italian technical missions organised since 2002 have enabled:

(i) the detailed inventory of 16 mausoleums inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

(ii) the provision of assistance to the cultural mission of Timbuktu and the imams of the three mosques to energetically re-launch the conservation activities on the site, re-mobilising involvement of the community of the old city;

(iii) the collection of a wealth of documentation on the site (summary conservation plan, technical reports, aerial photographs, socio-economic surveys, etc.);

(iv) an architectural survey of the inhabited zone around the Sankoré Mosque;

(v) the preparation of a project document for the rehabilitation of the old city of Timbuktu which was submitted to the Italian Government.

The mission noted with satisfaction that the endangered state of the property had been alleviated. However, the State Party had still to take legal and administrative measures for the delimitation of the buffer zone and obtain a clear vision of the entire ensemble, in particular by means of a management/rehabilitation plan, which would help to preserve the character of the old city. Thus, the Mali authorities would perceive that any project to asphalt the ringway around the old city could have a negative impact on the authenticity of the site.

ICOMOS indicated that the management and rehabilitation plan would recommend a sustainable conservation and development approach for the World Heritage property, and reinforce the following actions: organisation of regular maintenance of the site, organisation of training programmes for craftsmen and masons, development of a cultural tourism strategy, involvement of the residents, development of a realistic approach to sanitation issues, and finally, the development of risk prevention in the event of other floods. ICOMOS also considered that financial and technical support for a project of a minimum of 5 years is necessary in order to put in place a management and rehabilitation plan that would permit the old city to develop in a sustainable manner.

Moreover, on 15 April 2005, the World Heritage Centre received a letter from the State Party informing it of the steps currently being taken with Timbuktu Municipality. They concern the strengthening of legal measures for protection around the property by means of a decree delimiting a buffer zone of about 26 hectares. This zone includes the old city and will be the focus of a sectoral urban plan in accordance with the national decrees in force. The delimitation plan of the buffer zone, as well as the draft Municipal Order has been transmitted to ICOMOS. The afore-mentioned letter informed the World Heritage Centre that, in 2006, the Mali authorities plan to submit a request for the extension of the property to include the totality of the old city. With regard to past achievements and future projects, the State Party wishes the property to be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2005 onwards. 

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


Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7A.14

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 28 COM 15A.15, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Noting the results of the mission carried out by the World Heritage Centre, the results of the implementation of the recommendations set out in its Decision 28 COM 15A.15, the measures undertaken for the legal reinforcement of protection around the property, and the impact of the technical missions financed in the framework of the UNESCO-Italy cooperation agreement,

4. Also noting the wish of the State Party of Mali for the property to be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger,

5. Congratulates the State Party for all the efforts that have been made to significantly improve the state of conservation of the property;

6. Recommends that the State Party make a complete inventory of the Old City of Timbuktu which would be useful for any extension proposal submitted in the future;

7. Invites international partners to support the development project for the rehabilitation of the architecture of Timbuktu;

8. Decides to remove Timbuktu (Mali) from the List of World Heritage in Danger, on the condition that a management and rehabilitation plan to facilitate the preservation and sustainable development of the Old City of Timbuktu be completed, as recommended by the joint ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre mission;

9. Also decides that if there is no substantial progress towards the implementation of condition set out in paragraph 8, the property will be inscribed again on the World Heritage List in Danger at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

10. Requests the Director of the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with ICOMOS, to ensure that the report regarding the state of conservation of Timbuktu (Item 14 of Document 29/COM.7A) reflects the debate of the Committee at its 29th session (Durban, 2005).

Decision Adopted: 29 COM 8C.3

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-05/29.COM/7A and WHC-05/29.COM/7A.Add),

2. Decides to remove the following properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger: