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Timbuktu

Mali
Factors affecting the property in 1997*
  • Desertification
  • Financial resources
  • Legal framework
  • Water (rain/water table)
  • Wind
  • Other Threats:

    Vulnerability of the mosques

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Sand encroachment ;
  • Vulnerability of the mosques; 
  • Lack of financial resources;
  • Deterioration of the rainwater drainage system;
  • Aeolian erosion;
  • Need for appropriate laws
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1997
Requests approved: 5 (from 1981-1995)
Total amount approved : 114,115 USD
Missions to the property until 1997**

June-July 1990: expert missions; early 1994: UNESCO mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1997

Mosques of Sankoré, Djingareyber, Sidi Yahia

A pilot workshop financed by the World Heritage Fund and organized by CRATerre in co-operation with the Cultural Mission of Timbuktu, was held from 22 November to 20 December 1996. This project was based on the fact that the Mosques of Timbuktu are made of fragile materials which are regularly threatened by rare but violent bad weather and have only survived several centuries due to the annual maintenance carried out by the local population, under the direction of the Imman and the responsibility of the corporation of masons, and with funding from the wealthy personalities of the town for the more costly works.This in situ conservation action falls within the framework of the training strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa which was adopted by the 20th session of the Committee.

The pilot workshop was concerned with three mosques and permitted the local teams (traditional masons responsible for the maintenance of the mosques, as well as higher level personnel: management committees, national, regional and local services of Mali) to strengthen their practical maintenance knowledge, launch complementary activities concerning the revitalization of the City and permit the inclusion of Timbuktu as a "Historic Cities" project, financed by a World Bank loan and which foresees the restoration and safeguarding of the mosques, the revitalization of cemeteries and mausoleums situated outside the City and the development of the tourist infrastructure.

The consultant report recommended the Mali authorities "to be prudent and vigilant" , because "ambitious" conservation projects risk destabilizing and even destroying certain aspects of a living tradition which allows the local populations to participate annually in the maintenance of the mosques. Thanks to the pilot workshop the major risks threatening the mosques have been avoided. However, it is advisable that, on a short term basis, an evaluation be carried out. Furthermore, it would appear necessary that a conservation plan be established to define the long-term conservation objectives for the three mosques.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1997
21 COM VII.B.27
SOC: Timbuktu (Mali)

VII.27 Timbuktu (Mali)

Mosques of Sankoré, Djingareyber, Side Yahia

In accordance with paragraph 56 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, the Committee invited the Mali authorities to:

i) co-ordinate international aid for the mosques and the City of Timbuktu;

ii) inform the World Heritage Committee, through the UNESCO Secretariat of their intentions to undertake or authorize in a zone protected by the Convention, major restoration work or new constructions, which could modify the value of the World Heritage site, and

iii) evaluate in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre the effectiveness and sustainability of the work undertaken on the three mosques;

iv) prepare a conservation plan for the three mosques;

v) report to the Committee as its twenty-second session.

The Committee may wish to adopt the following text:

"In accordance with para. 56 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, the Committee invites the Mali authorities to:

i) co-ordinate international aid for the mosques and the City of Timbuktu;

ii) inform the World Heritage Committee, through the UNESCO Secretariat of their intentions to undertake or authorize in a zone protected by the Convention, major restoration work or new constructions, which could modify the value of the World Heritage site, and

iii) evaluate in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre the effectiveness and

iv) sustainability of the work undertaken on the three mosques;

v) prepare a conservation plan for the three mosques;

vi) report to the Committee at its twenty-second session."

Report year: 1997
Mali
Date of Inscription: 1988
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(v)
Danger List (dates): 1990-2005, 2012-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 21COM (1997)
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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