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Royal Palaces of Abomey

Benin
Factors affecting the property in 1995*
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Storm in 1984 (issue resolved)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 1995
Requests approved: 4 (from 1985-1995)
Total amount approved : 93,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1995**

April 1985: UNESCO mission; July 1995: experts mission 

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1995

At its eighteenth session, the Committee requested the World Heritage Centre to send a "monitoring" mission to the group of eleven of the Palaces of Abomey to evaluate their state of conservation. The Centre transmitted this information to the Benin authorities by letter of 8 January 1995. Furthermore, following the approval by the Committee in December 1994 of a request of US$ 33,000, a contract has already been established with ICCORM/PREMA and the GAIA project for the training of a professional team and craftsmen-technician team for the restoration and maintenance of the palaces.

Action Required

The Bureau recommends the Centre and the Benin authorities to organize this mission as soon as possible, as the report should not only describe the state of conservation of each palace and define the measures to be undertaken to remedy the situation, but also define in general terms the conservation techniques suitable for the natural environment of the site (history, typology, materials, etc.).

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1995

In accordance with the recommendation adopted by the Bureau at its eighteenth session, the mission comprising two Italian experts: Professor Spini (architect) and Ms Antongini (archaeologist), visited Benin from 3 to 28 July 1995. The mission reviewed and completed the nomination documents by making recordings of the entire nominated site, that is 44 hectares. The state of conservation of the enclosing wall, the entrance doors of the twelve palaces, the two palaces of the museum area and the remains of the ten other palaces, as well as buffer zones around the site, were examined. This completes the diagnostic provided by CRATerre-EAG/ICCROM in the framework of their intervention on site, and which also includes a pathological analysis of the "banco".

This report is illustrated by abundant unpublished cartographic material and a wealth of photographic documentation which in particular allows the comparison of the state of conservation of the buildings between 1987 and 1995. The state of conservation of the bas reliefs was also examined. Furthermore, the report presents an anthropological analysis of the site and an interpretation of the inner and outer areas. This anthropological dimension is thus emphasized. It will give meaning to possible itineraries on the site and facilitate the visitor's comprehension.

With this report, the Benin authorities possess all the necessary documentation for the preparation of a management and conservation plan for the site.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 1995

The Bureau may wish to recommend to the Committee to adopt the following text:

"The Committee recommends that the Benin authorities prepare, as soon as possible, and in cooperation with CRATerre-EAG and ICCROM, a conservation management plan which could be presented to the World Heritage Committee at its 21st session (December 1997), at the latest".

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1995
19 BUR VI.21
Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin)

At its eighteenth session, the Committee-requested the World Heritage Centre to send a ‘monitoring” mission to the World Heritage site (44 ha) to evaluate its state of conservation. A mission comprising two experts, Professor Spini (architect) and Ms Antongini (anthropologist) left Paris at the beginning of July for Abomey. These two experts, who have worked at the site, were designated by the Directorate of Heritage of Benin, which requested them to:

i) review the nomination dossier for the site and complete it in accordance with the new nomination format which will be presented at the nineteenth session of the World Heritage Committee in December 1995:

ii) establish a conservation plan which,

provides the history of conservation works carried out on each of the palaces, defines a preventive conservation policy based on priorities -to be established in function of the fragility of the structures and the dangers threatening the site, and

iii) propose the creation of an organism which will be responsible for the protection and the management of the site, placed under the authority of the Directorate of Heritage, and with which associations and other governmental partners concerned with preservation and enhancement of the site may participate.

The Bureau congratulated the Benin authorities and encouraged them to continue their efforts for the protection of the site. The Secretariat will present to the World Heritage Committee, at its nineteenth session, a report on the results of this mission undertaken in July 1995.

19 COM VII.C.1.25
SOC: Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin)

VII.25 Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin)

In accordance with the recommendation adopted by the Bureau at its eighteenth session in July 1995, the Committee was informed of a mission organized by the World Heritage Centre to Abomey to complete and update the nomination documents and prepare a state of conservation report. The mission recommended to the authorities concerned:

1) to identify more precisely the boundaries of the site and enhance the respect of the buffer zone which should take into account the enclosing walls and the old entrance doors;

2) establish a global conservation and management plan which should take account of the fragility of the material and immaterial structures;

3) foresee a management structure under the authority of the Cultural Heritage Directorate and in which the partners involved in the enhancement of the site, notably representatives of the Royal families and the development associations would be participating.

The Committee took note of the recommendations contained in the report and commended the Benin authorities and invited them to prepare, in cooperation with CRATerre - EAG and ICCROM, a conservation and management plan to be presented to the World Heritage Committee at its twentieth session (December 1997) at the latest. The Committee decided to maintain this site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Secretariat recommends the Committee to take note of the written information provided by the Secretariat and to adopt the following:

"The Committee recommended that the Benin authorities prepare, as soon as possible, and in cooperation with CRATerre-EAG and ICCROM, a conservation management plan which could be presented to the World Heritage Committee at its 21st session (December 1997), at the latest. The Committee decided to retain the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger."

Report year: 1995
Benin
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 1985-2007
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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