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Old Towns of Djenné

Mali
Factors affecting the property in 2005*
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Solid waste
  • Other Threats:

    Dilapidation of dwellings

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

In 1998, the Committee identified the following threats, amongst others: dilapidation of dwellings, sanitation problems, socio-cultural changes.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2005
Requests approved: 1 (from 1981-1981)
Total amount approved : 7,977 USD
Missions to the property until 2005**

Joint mission World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS, April 2004

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

From 17 to 18 February 2005, the World Heritage Centre sent a mission to Djenné to assess the conservation measures undertaken by the State Party since 1998.  The mission reported on the progress made in the implementation of the Programme for the rehabilitation of mud brick architecture of the Town.  This programme was launched in 1996, in the framework of the bilateral cooperation between the State Party and The Netherlands.  The main objectives of the programme were to restore the deteriorated banco (mud brick) houses, set up an economic system that would ensure their annual maintenance, and resolve the sanitation problems.  The first phase of this programme was completed in January 2003.  The mission observed that activities funded by The Netherlands produced very positive results with a visual impact on the major conservation problems faced by the Town, making it one of the rare World Heritage towns today with an urban and architectural unity entirely of mud brick.  In particular, the mission noted the following achievements: 

a)  98 dwellings of the ‘”toucouleur “ and “marocaine” types have been completely restored thanks to the training of local masons in the traditional banco technique ;

b)  A very economical pilot system for wastewater treatment introduced in 2002, and based on the installation of a wastewater infiltration system outside each house, has eradicated stagnating wastewater, which was often the cause of illness and weakened the walls of the houses.  A technical evaluation of this system, carried out in 2003 by the Civil Engineering and Geosciences Faculty of Delft (The Netherlands), noted no loss in soil density or backup of infiltrated wastewater.  In view of the considerable improvement in the sanitation of the experimental zones, this system is being extended to the entire town; 

c)  Lateric earth has been used instead of tar for the peripheral road of the town, as well as teak poles imported from Ghana for the installation of electricity.  The choice of these materials, which are compatible with the town environment, shows the will of the State Party to prioritise preservation of the outstanding universal value of the property in the planning of its major infrastructure projects. 

With regard to town management, the mission was informed, by the Cultural Mission of Djenné, of increasingly intense urban development pressure in Djenné.  With the delimitation of the property spread over a radius of four km around the city (due to the presence of nearly 70 archaeological properties identified at the time of inscription), the building of new houses outside the old town by inhabitants is forbidden.  This situation causes constant conflict between some inhabitants, the local municipal authorities and the Ministry of Culture.  The State Party has expressed the wish that this protective boundary be reviewed, notably to the east of the town, where, according to its studies, the archaeological properties are completely infiltrated by alluvia.  The Ministry of Culture has also requested assistance from the World Heritage Centre to seek a solution to free new areas for urban development.  The mission also noted the lack of a development plan that would enable efficient town management.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2005
29 COM 7B.36
Old Towns of Djenné (Mali)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Takes note of the results of the mission undertaken by the World Heritage Centre;

3. Congratulates the State Party of Mali for all the conservation activities undertaken since 1998 in order to improve the state of conservation of the property;

4. Requests the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM to undertake, in collaboration with the State Party, a joint evaluation mission, in order to study alternative solutions to relieve urban development pressure in the property, and to submit recommendations for examination by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).

Draft decision: 29 COM 7B.36

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Takes note of the results of the mission undertaken by the World Heritage Centre;

3.  Congratulates the State Party for all the conservation activities undertaken since 1998 in order to improve the state of conservation of the property;

4.  Requests the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM to undertake, in collaboration with the State Party, an evaluation mission for the property during which alternative solutions will be studied to relieve urban development pressure, and to make recommendations to the Committee for consideration at its 30th session.   

Report year: 2005
Mali
Date of Inscription: 1988
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2016-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 29COM (2005)
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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