1.         Timbuktu (Mali) (C 119rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1990-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-1995)
Total amount approved: USD 114,115
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

June-July 1990: expert missions; early 1994: UNESCO mission; 2002: UNESCO mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003


The mosques of Timbuktu are one of the World Heritage sites that have been evaluated during the periodic reporting exercise for Africa. The three mosques of Sankore, Djingareyber and Sidi Yaya were placed in the list of World Heritage in Danger in 1990. While in situ actions have been on going since 1994 to improve their state of conservation, the old city of Timbuktu continues to face tremendous urban development pressures, insufficient awareness of urban heritage values, and difficulties to promote tourism.

In order to evaluate the situation, the World Heritage Centre was able to send a UNESCO mission to Timbuktu in 2002. The mission was organized within the Joint Declaration on Cooperation for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage between the Italian Government and UNESCO. The mission report highlighted the following problems facing Timbuktu old town:

·  Lack of a conservation and management plan for three World heritage sites;

·  Deterioration of the historic urban fabric;

·  Problems of boundaries delimitation and buffer zones for the three mosques;

·  Insufficient awareness programs among local population and religious authorities on urban heritage conservation.


Based on the above, the mission recommended a number of complementary activities, which aim at safeguarding the old town and the three mosques as one entity:

·  Organization of two workshops in Timbuktu on management plans elaboration of Malian World Heritage sites and on restoration of African earthen urban fabric;

·  Elaborate in partnership with Malian authorities, a management plan to define the long-term conservation objectives of the mosques including conservation of the historic town values;

·  Organization of a pilot work site for restoration of a sample of urban fabric;

·  Rehabilitation and improvement of access to mausoleums and cemeteries.


Finally, within the Africa 2009 Programme training activities, a professional working for the Cultural Mission of Timbuktu attended in 2000, in Benin, the 2nd Regional Course on Site Management and Conservation of immovable cultural heritage. 

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


Decision Adopted: 27 COM 7A.16

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Noting the report of the UNESCO mission undertaken in 2002, and the recommendations aimed at safeguarding Timbuktu Old Town and the three mosques inscribed in the List of World Heritage in Danger;

2. Expresses its appreciation to the Italian Government for its support towards the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Africa;

3. Recalling the ICOMOS evaluation of the nomination dossier in 1987, recommending the inclusion of the Timbuktu Old Town in the World Heritage List;

4. Invites the State Party to implement to the extent possible the recommendations made by the UNESCO mission and contained in the Africa Periodic Report, such as considering the possibility of submitting a new nomination dossier to extend the current World Heritage property by including the entire Old Town of Timbuktu; elaborating management plans for the three mosques; organizing two workshops in Timbuktu on the elaboration of a management plan and on the restoration of earthen urban structures in African historic towns;

5. Decides to retain Timbuktu on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 27 COM 8B.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-03/27.COM/7A),;

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: