1.         Old Towns of Djenn√© (Mali) (C 116rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-2012)
Total amount approved: USD 59,577
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 110,000 (Italian Funds-in-Trust); USD 23,100 (Croisi Europe); USD 86,900 (European Commission)

Previous monitoring missions

2002, 2005: World Heritage Centre missions; 2006: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 27 January 2013 as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012).

a) State of conservation of the historic city

The report includes an assessment of conditions that currently impact the protection, conservation and management of the property. These include, as noted in past years, the progressive change evidenced in the urban fabric of the property that remain unaddressed to date given the lack of implementation of strong planning and regulatory policies and the lack of regular maintenance. It notes that in addition to existing conservation issues, strong precipitation in August 2012 had a strong impact on the heritage buildings and led to the collapse of 50 historic houses distributed in the 10 quarters of the city. The collapsed buildings had previous structural problems and poor quality of construction materials, as evidenced by their frailty. No information is provided in the report with regards to the actions to be implemented to address these serious conditions. The report also notes that the sewage and general sanitation problems are still far from resolved, in spite of the numerous efforts implemented to date. The State Party highlights that the municipal authorities need to identify and habilitate deposits for solid waste management so that the banks are finally cleaned. In addition, the State Party reports on activities implemented to raise awareness regarding the heritage buildings at Djenné including training of guides, the distribution of booklets with heritage information and the development of touristic guides. 

b) State of archaeological components of the property

Work continued in 2012 at the archaeological sites of Djenné Djeno and Hambarkétolo mainly on the renewal of stone limits, the installation of anti-erosion responses and the planting of trees. A new request for financial support has been submitted to implement the same measures at Kaniana and Tonomba. In addition, the State Party has increased surveillance and monitoring at the sites, has finalized the demarcation of all archaeological sites and has put signs at the four sites. These efforts will be increased in 2013 with emergency activities aiming at stopping erosion, through funding provided by the Government of the Netherlands and the World Heritage Fund.

c) Demolition of the Old Courthouse


As reported in 2012, the Old Courthouse building was demolished in September 2011. The Cultural Mission at Djenné halted the works. Several meetings have been held to identify alternative solutions for the now empty space. These include the reconstruction of the building to house the Chamber of Commerce, which would include a craft market.  

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that no substantial progress has been achieved on addressing pressing concerns regarding the protection, conservation and management of the property due to the conflict situation in the northern region of the country. They consider that for many years there has been a lack of effective collaboration mechanisms between local authorities and also minimal financial resources for the implementation of planning and regulatory measures. If the state of conservation of the property and the complex socio-economic issues being faced remain unaddressed, the attributes that warranted the inscription of this property on the World Heritage List will become highly vulnerable. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the joint reactive monitoring mission requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session assist the State Party in the development of an emergency action plan to address these longstanding concerns.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.41

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.44 adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Takes note of the actions implemented by the State Party at the property;

4.  Notes with deep concern the existing conservation conditions, including the recent collapse of historic buildings, and the limited progress that has been made in past years to address them;

5.  Urges the State Party, within the framework of the UNESCO Mali Action Plan adopted on 18 February 2013, to cooperate with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, as well as any other relevant international bodies, to identify means to implement the existing urban regulations, to update and approve a conservation and management plan for the property and to identify mechanisms to improve synergies among different stakeholders to ensure adequate protection and conservation of the historic fabric and the archaeological sites;

6.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre a boundary clarification in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory process;

7.  Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to assess the state of conservation of the property, in particular the vulnerability of its distinctive architecture, the conditions of the archaeological components of the property and development proposals for different sectors, and to develop an emergency action plan for the implementation of priority conservation and protection measures;

8.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.