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Tomb of Askia

Mali
Factors affecting the property in 2013*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • War
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of site management
  •  Armed conflict
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Following the coup d’état in March 2012, the town is occupied by Islamist groups. This situation led to the absence of maintenance and management of the site although it is threatened to collapse

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

 

Corrective Measures for the property

In progress

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
In progress 
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2013

Total amount granted: UNESCO Emergency Fund: USD 20,000 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2013
Requests approved: 2 (from 2000-2012)
Total amount approved : 54,200 USD
Missions to the property until 2013**

May 2012: Emergency UNESCO mission to Bamako; October and December 2012: World Heritage Centre monitoring missions to Bamako.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

A report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party on 29 January 2013.  This report was prepared in a particular context due to the absence at the site of the management structure for the property since 1 April 2012, because of its occupation by armed groups. This period of occupation extended over more than 10 months during which no practical traditional maintenance activities were carried out at the site. Following the military intervention on 11 January 2013, the town of Gao was liberated but security conditions are not fully in place to ensure a precise report on the state of conservation of the property or to envisage the reinstallation of the management structure for the property. Thus, the report is based on information gathered from resource persons who remained at the site. It provides a very summary overview of the state of conservation of the property.

a) Measures undertaken by the Ministry of Culture

The report indicates that following inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the State Party undertook protection measures aiming to reinforce surveillance at the site, implement an appropriate communication plan on the different components of the site and to postpone the traditional maintenance practices causing the massive exodus of worshippers, men and women.

The report also mentions that awareness-raising activities were carried out, thus “avoiding the anger of Islamists who refuse the cultural practices associated with the religious sites”. It also indicates that no acts of vandalism occurred at the site.

b) Maintenance of the building

The report indicates that because of the aging of the materials, the Tomb of Askia experiences recurrent problems of collapse of the columns provoking large areas of the roof of the building falling down due to extremely heavy rainfall.  The lack of maintenance caused by the crisis situation has accelerated the deterioration of the architectural components and the risk of collapse of the building, with the collapse of one of the columns in 2011. This situation also increases the risk of looting and the confiscation of furniture from the surrounding necropolises.

c) Progress in the implementation of World Heritage Committee decisions

See the report on the state of conservation for Timbuktu (C119)

d) Actions undertaken by UNESCO for protection of the property

See the report on the state of conservation for Timbuktu (C119)

e) Organization of an evaluation mission to Gao

As soon as security conditions permit, a UNESCO evaluation mission to Gao will be fielded. Its main objective will be a detailed technical evaluation of the state of conservation of the property to determine the priority actions for the rehabilitation and conservation to be carried out in cooperation with the Government of Mali and the United Nations Coordination Bureau for Mali.  It will also aim to specify the Action Plan adopted on 18 February 2013 in UNESCO.  This mission will include Advisory Body expertise.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2013

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that due to the armed conflict in the northern regions of Mali, no mission has been to the site to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and propose corrective measures and the Desired State of Conservation, as requested by the Committee. They recommend that the Committee express its concern regarding the lack of maintenance of the property that is provoking the deterioration of its architectural elements and increasing the risk of collapse of its columns. They commend the commitment and availability of the State Party throughout the crisis to raise awareness and mobilise the international community and prepare an action plan for Mali.

They consider that the UNESCO mission to Gao will be decisive in envisaging corrective measures and the Desired State of Conservation and in defining the rehabilitation and safeguarding strategy of the property, which should strongly involve the local communities.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2013
37 COM 7A.20
Tomb of the Askia (Mali) (C 1139)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.106 and 36 COM 7B.107 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Commends the State Party for its request for emergency assistance from the World Heritage Fund to implement priority actions to strengthen protection for the Tomb of Askia property;

4.  Expresses its concern with regards to the lack of maintenance of the property causing the deterioration of its architectural elements and increasing the risk of collapse of its columns, due to the closure of the management structure of the property since April 2012, which constitutes a threat to the conservation of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);

5.  Also expresses its concern that the State Party has been unable to carry out a field mission, due to armed conflict in the region, and evaluate the precise state of conservation of the property and propose measures for the preservation of its OUV;

6.  Thanks the Director-General of UNESCO for the efforts undertaken to respond to Decisions 36 COM 7B.106 and 36 COM 7B.107 through notably the creation of a special account for the safeguarding of Mail’s cultural heritage and awareness-raising of the international community;

7.  Also thanks France, Mali and UNESCO for organizing a solidarity day for Mali during which an international expert meeting was held, which resulted in the adoption of an action plan for the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and ancient manuscripts of Mali;

8.  Further thanks the UNESCO expert group on Mali, composed of the Advisory Bodies (ICOMOS, ICCROM), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the School of African Heritage (EPA), African World Heritage Fund  (AWHF), and the International Centre for Earth Construction – Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture, Grenoble CRA-Terre-ENSAG), for having contributed in the preparation of this action plan in close collaboration with Mali and French experts;

9.  Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to prepare all the corrective measures, as well as a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, once a return to stability in the northern regions of Mali is effective, and following the UNESCO evaluation mission to Gao;

10.  Launches an appeal to the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention , the African Union, the European Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), and to other African organizations and the international community for their contribution in the implementation of the action plan for the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and the ancient manuscripts of Mali;

11.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, and in particular on progress achieved for the preservation of its OUV, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

12.  Decides to retain the Tomb of Askia (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

37 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (retained properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 37 COM 7A.29 )
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 37 COM 7A.30 )
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 37 COM 7A.16 )
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 37 COM 7A.37 )
  • Colombia, Los Katíos National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.17 )
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.2 )
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 37 COM 7A.3 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.4 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.5 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.6 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.7 )
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 37 COM 7A.8 )
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 37 COM 7A.23 )
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.10 )
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 37 COM 7A.32 )
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 37 COM 7A.33 )
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 37 COM 7A.18 )
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 37 COM 7A.14 )
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 37 COM 7A.24 )
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 37 COM 7A.25 )
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 37 COM 7A.26 )
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 37 COM 7A.11 )
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 37 COM 7A.19 )
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 37 COM 7A.20 )
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 37 COM 7A.12 )
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 37 COM 7A.27 )
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 37 COM 7A.36 )
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 37 COM 7A.38 )
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.13 )
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 37 COM 7A.34 )
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 37 COM 7A.21 )
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 37 COM 7A.22 )
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 37 COM 7A.35 )
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 37 COM 7A.15 )
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 37 COM 7A.39 )
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 37 COM 7A.28 )
Draft Decision:             37 COM 7A.20

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.         Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.106 and 36 COM 7B.107, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.         Commends the State Party for its request for emergency assistance from the World Heritage Fund to implement priority actions to strengthen protection for the Tomb of Askia property;

4.         Expresses its concern with regard to the lack of maintenance of the property causing the deterioration of its architectural elements and increasing the risk of collapse of its columns, due to the closure of the management structure of the property since April 2012, which constitutes a threat to the conservation of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).

5.         Also expresses its concern that the State Party has been unable to carry out a field mission, due to armed conflict in the region, and evaluate the precise state of conservation of the property and propose measures for the preservation of its Outstanding Universal Value;

6.         Thanks the Director-General of UNESCO for the efforts undertaken to respond to Decisions 36 COM 7B.106 and 36 COM 7B.107 through notably the creation of a special account for the safeguarding of Mail’s cultural heritage and awareness-raising of the international community;

7.         Also thanks France, Mali and UNESCO for organizing a solidarity day for Mali during which an international expert meeting was held, which resulted in the adoption of an action plan for the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and ancient manuscripts of Mali;

8.         Further thanks the UNESCO expert group on Mali, representing the Advisory Bodies, the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the School of African Heritage (EPA), African World Heritage Fund  (AWHF), and the International Centre for Earth Construction – Ecole nationale superieure d’architecture, Grenoble CRA-Terre-ENSAG), for having contributed in the preparation of this action plan in close collaboration with Mali and French experts;

9.         Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to prepare all the corrective measures, as well as a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, once a return to stability in the northern regions of Mali is effective, and following the UNESCO evaluation mission to Gao;

10.      Launches an appeal to the States Parties of the World Heritage Convention, the African Union, the European Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), and to other African organizations and the international community for their contribution in the implementation of the action plan for the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and the ancient manuscripts of Mali;

11.      Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, and in particular on progress achieved for the preservation of its OUV, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;

12.      Decides to retain the Tomb of Askia (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2013
Mali
Date of Inscription: 2004
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2012-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 37COM (2013)
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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