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Royal Palaces of Abomey

Benin
Factors affecting the property in 2004*
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Serious degradation of nearly 2/3 of the mud-brick constructions

Corrective Measures for the property

See in the Decision below

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2004
Requests approved: 5 (from 1985-1997)
Total amount approved : 113,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2004**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

In 1999, a conservation and management plan for the Royal Palaces of Abomey was prepared and contained a list of priority activities whose implementation would result in the property being removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger within five years.

 On 10 February 2004, the government of Benin transmitted to the Secretariat a copy of the monitoring report on the Royal Palaces of Abomey. That report, which the Cultural Heritage Office of Benin prepared in December 2003, underlined the recent conservation works, including, among others:

a)  Restoration of the Béhanzin's Palace :

The restoration was made possible thanks to financing from Japan's funds in trust to UNESCO. Of the 6.50-hectare area, Béhanzin's Palace (one of the important palaces that the site includes) consists of seven buildings and many great walls. Conservation works on the buildings consisted on restorations and a few reconstructions. The bas-reliefs were also restored, using mostly local materials (soot, seeds, kaolin, earth, etc.). The great walls were almost totally rebuilt of stabilized Cob. An Interpretation Centre, open to the public, will be created there and a study of tree species found at the site is also planned, with the aim of creating an interpretative ecological trail.

b)   Restoration of the huts of Queens Agadja and Béhanzin in the Dossèmè Queens quarter :

The restoration, carried out with the Abomey Museum's equity capital, mainly consisted in repairing and stabilizing the fences, repairing the earthen plaster, repairing the roof structures and protecting the foundation walls.

According to the same report, the diversification of the international partnership was very beneficial to the site. It made it possible, among other things, to entirely restore the Agassou temples and its main gravesites (Glèlè, the Glèlè spouses, Agonglo, the Agonglo spouses, Guezo, the Guezo spouses, Akaba). The principle international partners were Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. In addition to the usual museum visit, visitors may now take a specific route to see the temples and graves.

During its 27th session, the World Heritage Committee asked the Centre and ICOMOS to carry out, in co-operation with the State Party, a site evaluation mission with a view to drafting a report that will enable the Committee to study this property's state of conservation and then to decide whether or not to remove it from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 28th session in 2004. The evaluation mission is ongoing and its findings will be orally submitted to the World Heritage Committee as soon as it is completed.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2004
28 COM 15A.14
Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Taking note of the results of the joint mission undertaken by the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS,

2. Congratulates the State Party on its efforts to improve the conservation of the property;

3. Expresses its appreciation to the governments of Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States of America and Italy for their generous contributions to the protection of the property;

4. Encourages the State Party to pursue the implementation of the following measures to enable the Committee to consider removing the property in the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2007:

a) finalize the national legislative and administrative mechanism for the protection of Cultural heritage in Benin,

b) to establish new boundarieis of the property and clearly define the buffer zone which aims to protect its integrity,

c) evaluate and update the conservation and management plan of the property,

d) pursue restoration and conservation activities to cover at least half of the remaining structural components of the property considered to be in a serious deterioration;

5. Invites donors who are currently assisting Benin in the protection of Royal Palaces of Abomey to continue, as well as with the support of the rest of the international communities;

6. Decides to retain the Royal Palaces of Abomey on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

28 COM 15C.2
List of World Heritage in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-04/28.COM/15A Rev),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

  • Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam, Afghanistan (Decision 28 COM 15A.21)
  • Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan (Decision 28 COM 15A.22)
  • Butrint, Albania (Decision 28 COM 15A.28)
  • Tipasa, Algeria (Decision 28 COM 15A.16)
  • Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower, Azerbaijan (Decision 28 COM 15A.29)
  • Royal Palaces of Abomey, Benin (Decision 28 COM 15A.14)
  • Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park, Central African Republic (Decision 28 COM 15A.1)
  • Comoé National Park, Côte d'Ivoire (Decision 28 COM 15A.2 )
  • Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, Côte d'Ivoire/Guinea (Decision 28 COM 15A.5)
  • Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Virunga National Park, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Garamba National Park, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Salonga National Park, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Sangay National Park, Ecuador (Decision 28 COM 15A.12)
  • Abu Mena, Egypt (Decision 28 COM 15A.17)
  • Simien National Park, Ethiopia
  • (Decision 28 COM 15A.4)
  • Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, Honduras (Decision 28 COM 15A.13)
  • Group of Monuments at Hampi, India (Decision 28 COM 15A.24)
  • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, India (Decision 28 COM 15A.10)
  • Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat), Iraq (Decision 28 COM 15A.18)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, Jerusalem (Decision 28 COM 15A.31)
  • Timbuktu, Mali (Decision 28 COM 15A. 15)
  • Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (Decision 28 COM 15A.25)
  • Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves, Niger (Decision 28 COM 15A.6)
  • Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan (Decision 28 COM 15A.26)
  • Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone, Peru (Decision 28 COM 15A.30)
  • Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, Philippines (Decision 28 COM 15A.27)
  • Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Senegal (Decision 28 COM 15A.7 )
  • Ichkeul National Park, Tunisia (Decision 28 COM 15A.9)
  • Everglades National Park, United States of America (Decision 28 COM 15A.11)
  • Historic Town of Zabid, Yemen (Decision 28 COM 15A.20)

Draft decision:  28 COM 15A.14

 The World Heritage Committee,

 1.   Congratulates the State Party's efforts to improve the conservation of the property;

 2.   Expresses its appreciation to the governments of Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States of America for their generous contributions to the protection of the site,

 3.   Encourages the State Party to pursue the implmementation of the restoration works and  presentation as defined in the management plan;

 4.   Decides to retain the Royal Palaces of Abomey on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2004
Benin
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 1985-2007
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 28COM (2004)
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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