1.         Island of Saint-Louis (Senegal) (C 956bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (ii)(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/956/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 11,500
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 192,697.13 from the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement

Previous monitoring missions

March-April 2004: Joint World Heritage Centre/ France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement mission;April 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission; 2007: France-UNESCOCooperation Agreement mission; February 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROMreactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party submitted a very brief report dated 28 January 2013 with partial responses to Decision 35 COM 7B.43 of the Committee. There was no information regarding precise details of the present situation of the state of conservation of the property, the practical functioning of its institutions, notably as concerns the overall control of the new constructions and renovations, the work carried out, ongoing and future, and the overall management of the property and its conservation. 

a)  Establishment of a management mechanism, coordination with the municipality

The State Party recalls the decree for the creation of the Safeguarding Committee for Saint-Louis and its Permanent Secretariat (No. 3395 of 29 March 2011), as well as the appointment of the site manager (23 April 2011). The Committee is responsible for the application of the Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan of Saint-Louis and the Secretariat should carry out the technical examination of the rehabilitation, restoration  or construction  projects for consideration by the Committee. However, the human, financial and technical resources available for these management structures are not indicated. No reference is made to the links with municipality actions and projects for heritage conservation (Local Development Agency, Heritage Centre) except for a possible representation of the municipality within the Committee as “non-State” representatives.

b)  Conservation of the property, Management Plan and Tourism Development Programme

Different programme frameworks and projects are discussed. The main information is the financial consolidation of the Tourism Development Programme  for Saint-Louis and its region, with a total amount of 29M EU through a loan and assistance from the French Development Agency (24.5M EU). It will comprise 7.37M EU for conservation of the property, to encourage the regulated restoration of the private buildings by the municipality (Heritage Centre). A part of this budget will be allocated to the upgrading of the open areas (7.82M EU) and to the eradication of unauthorized dumping of household waste (3M EU). The State Party indicated the need to accompany this programme with a “more detailed plan” with regard to conservation of the property. The nature of the conservation activities to be financed in the framework of this development programme at the property is not clear. The manager of the property is indicated as participating in the Steering Committee of the Tourism Development Programme. 

Furthermore, the report refers to the Safeguarding and Enhancement Programme for the property (PSMV, 2008) which today no longer appears operational, nor its recommendations respected; only organized monitoring of conservation will enable an evaluation of its compatibility with the conservation component of the Tourism Development Programme, and its updating should be envisaged.

Rehabilitation of the Faidherbe Bridge is indicated as completed, but this is an old project (2007). Other restoration projects concerning the fishing quays, public squares and buildings are announced in partnership with the FDA; however, there is still no conservation plan for the whole property, for its urban fabric nor for its public buildings and private residencies.

c)  Control mechanisms for constructions and granting of building permits


According to the report, building permits are approved by the local representative of the Architectural Office for Historic Monuments of the Ministry of Culture (BAMH). The report does not provide information regarding the state of the new constructions that do not respect the authenticity and integrity of the property, nor the establishment of a monitoring mechanism for conservation to ensure efficacy.  There is no evidence of coordination as regards the control of the construction work, neither with the Secretariat of the Safeguarding Committee nor the Town Hall of Saint-Louis.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are concerned about the lack of information, in particular with regard to progress achieved in the Tourism Development project for Saint-Louis and its region, with assistance from the French Development Agency. They are also concerned about the implementation of such a project in the absence of a site manager and a management and conservation plan for the property. Moreover, there is no guarantee there are adequate means available to the property for its conservation and the maintenance of its Outstanding Universal Value. However, it isnecessary to ensure that the work foreseen for the quays and the squares respect the authenticity and integrity of the property. More broadly, the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies need to be informed of the detailed programme of the Tourism Development project prior to its implementation.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies have since noted the establishment of the Safeguarding Committee and its Secretariat and the appointment of a site manager, but no significant progress has been accomplished and there is no apparent progress in cooperation at the national, regional and local levels. Clear and precise division of responsibilities for the protection, conservation and monitoring of the property is not evident.


The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that to date no significant action has been undertaken to halt the degradation of the architectural heritage and the urban fabric, which continues to negatively affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. Consequently, they recommend that a joint reactive monitoring mission by the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS take place to evaluate the state of conservation of the property, progress made in management and the existence of the necessary criteria for the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Furthermore, all the information available to date indicates that the architectural and urban heritage of Saint-Louis continues to deteriorate, for both natural and socio-economic reasons, with insufficient coordinated management, and this despite the efforts undertaken by the State Party. Also, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies continue to draw the attention of the World Heritage Committee to the degradation of the state of conservation of a large area of the historic urban fabric and the replacement of traditional historic buildings by new constructions that do not respect the authenticity and integrity of the property.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.42

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.43 adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Notes with satisfaction the progress accomplished by the State Party with regard to the financial consolidation of its tourism development projects for Saint-Louis and its region, with an important percentage to be allocated to the conservation of the property;

4.  Expresses its deep concern with regard to the continued degradation of the historic urban fabric and the construction of non-conform  buildings that affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

5.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to consolidate the conservation and management mechanisms for the property, and in particular:

a)  Ensure sufficient human resources necessary in the conservation and management of the property,

b)  Apply, without derogation, the control mechanisms for constructions and grant building permits, in coordination with the Secretariat of the Safeguarding Committee of the property and the municipality of Saint-Louis,

c)  Ensure adequate coordination between the initiatives carried out at the site and between the different institutional actors at the national, regional and local levels,

6.  Invites the State Party and the municipality to provide the World Heritage Centre with detailed information concerning the rehabilitation projects for the quays and surrounding areas, including major public buildings such as the Governance, the Cathedral and the Rognât as well as on the Tourism Development Programme and in general any major project foreseen on the Island of Saint-Louis and its region;

7.  Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, in cooperation with the France-UNESCO Convention, to evaluate the general state of conservation of the property and progress in its management;

8.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2014 , a report on the state of conservation of the property indicating progress in the implementation of the above points for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.