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Timbuktu

Mali
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • War
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Occupation of the property by armed groups
  • Lack of management structure at the site
  • Armed conflict
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Occupation of the property by armed groups;
  • Absence of management;
  • Destruction of 14 mausoleums and degradation of the three mosques in the serial property.
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress 

Corrective Measures for the property

In progress

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
In progress
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

Total amount granted: USD 100,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust; USD 55,000 from the UNESCO Emergency Fund; USD 1,000.000 from Action plan Fund for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of ancient manuscripts in Mali

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 7 (from 1981-2012)
Total amount approved : 188,315 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

2002, 2004, 2005, 2006: World Heritage Centre missions; 2008, 2009, 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; May, October and December 2012: UNESCO emergency missions to Mali; June 2013: UNESCO assessment mission to Timbuktu

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 18 February 2015, the State Party submitted a brief report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/documents/. The State Party reports the following:

  • 15 of the 16 mausoleums in the serial World Heritage property have been destroyed. Only the mausoleum of Cheick Al Imam Saïd has survived intact, though it shows serious damage to its roof and walls.
  • Concerning the three mosques in the serial property, all have suffered from a lack of maintenance during the recent occupation. Local authorities have recently begun to remove nearby piles of garbage around the Djingareyber mosque that had amassed over a period of two years. Sections of the Sankore Mosque’s wall collapsed and the minaret wavered following a suicide bomber attack in Timbuktu in September 2013. The interior wooden beams are now rotten and the walls are crumbling. The Sidi Yahia Mosque has also suffered from the occupation and its collateral effects, including the suicide bomber attack that shattered doors and windows. Its minaret is undermined. Restoration of its secret western door, broken down in 2012 by armed groups, is foreseen as part of the implementation of the 2013 Action Plan for the Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage and the Safeguarding of Ancient Manuscripts in Mali.
  • Taking into account previous comments and recommendations by the World Heritage Committee, the State Party has undertaken a programme of information and local community awareness-raising; study and documentation around the monuments; and emergency rehabilitation and restoration works of various kinds. The official launch of reconstruction work on the mausoleums and other buildings took place in Timbuktu on 14 March 2014. Two razed mausoleums adjacent to the Djingareyber Mosque (but not components of the inscribed serial property) have been completely rebuilt in April 2014 after two months of work organized with Timbuktu’s masons. The reconstruction of these mausoleums allowed an thorough assessment of the cost of materials and their durability and workmanship.

The State Party considers that communities understand the significance of the heritage, and of World Heritage, and fully adhere to the reconstruction/rehabilitation plan shared with them during a sensitization workshop held in September 2014; and that the masons are equipped for the rehabilitation of these earthen sites after a series of workshops on traditional masonry supervised by Malian architects with the support of CRAterre-ENSAG and ICOMOS-Mali.

  • In addition to the information included in the State Party’s report, the following activities were also conducted in the framework of the implementation of the joint UNESCO and Mali Action Plan for the Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage and the Safeguarding of Ancient Manuscripts in Mali,: The team of Malian experts who are supervising reconstruction and rehabilitation activities received a specialized training in France in July 2014. This training was made possible thanks to the financial support provided by the USA (USAID). The tools acquired during this training session conducted by CRAterre-ENSAG has permitted a satisfactory completion of all the required technical and architectural studies, which were submitted to ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre;
  • The rehabilitation of 4 ancient manuscripts libraries started in November 2014 with funding from UNESCO and the Quick Impact Projects programme of MINUSMA. A first library was fully rehabilitated in February 2015 (Al Imam Ben-Essayouti library);
  • The last phase of the reconstruction of destroyed mausoleums was launched on 24 February 2015. This phase which will permit to rebuild 13 mausoleums including those that are non-World Heritage components, will be completed in July 2015. The reconstruction sites were visited on 8 April 2015 by a group of Ambassadors and Heads of missions from South Africa, Morocco, Switzerland, Germany, France, European Union, USAID, the World Bank, and MINUSMA.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The continuing progress made in rehabilitating and reconstructing the damaged mosques and destroyed mausoleums, in building awareness and support for the built heritage of Timbuktu, and in ensuring the technical capacity to care for this heritage is well noted. The State Party should be encouraged to complete the documentation work begun in June 2013, as well as the remaining studies and diagnostics that are still required to define the different technical restoration solutions of mosques, and to submit the additional results to the World Heritage Centre, for examination by the Advisory Bodies. The State Party should also prepare a maintenance plan to ensure that mausoleums are sustainably conserved once reconstructed.

Once the situation in the northern region of Mali is stable, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission to evaluate the general state of conservation of the property and progress achieved in the restoration of the mosques and the reconstruction of the mausoleums, and to prepare all the corrective measures as well as a Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

It is recommended that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and continue to apply the reinforced monitoring mechanism.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7A.21
Timbuktu (Mali) (C 119rev)
The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.24, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes with satisfaction the continuing progress being made in restoring and reconstructing the damaged mosques and destroyed mausoleums, building awareness and support for the built heritage of Timbuktu, and ensuring the technical capacity to care for this heritage;
  4. Expresses its appreciation to the following countries and institutions for their contribution to UNESCO-Mali Action Plan, and for their gesture of support to the reconstruction of mausoleums, which their representatives showed on 8 April 2015 in Timbuktu: South Africa, Morocco, Switzerland, Norway, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Croatia, Mauritius, Bahrain, Andorra, European Union, USAID, and the World Bank;
  5. Encourages the State Party to complete the documentation work begun in June 2013, as well as the remaining studies and diagnostics that are still required to define the different technical restoration solutions of mosques, and to submit the results to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Requests the State Party, once the situation in the northern region of Mali is stable, to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to evaluate the general state of conservation of the property and progress achieved in the restoration of the mosques and the reconstruction of the mausoleums, and to prepare all the corrective measures as well as a Desired State of Conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  8. Decides to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism of the property;
  9. Also decides to retain Timbuktu (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
39 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of the World Heritage in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-15/39.COM/7A and WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 39 COM 7A.38)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 39 COM 7A.39)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 39 COM 7A.18)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosi (Decision 39 COM 7A.44)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 39 COM 7A.45)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 39 COM 7A.24)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.10)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 39 COM 7A.40)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 39 COM 7A.41)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.20)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 39 COM 7A.15)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 39 COM 7A.25)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 39 COM 7A.26)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 39 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 39 COM 7A.11)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 39 COM 7A.21)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 39 COM 7A.22)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 39 COM 7A.12)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 39 COM 7A.28)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 39 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 39 COM 7A.46)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 39 COM 7A.47)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.13)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 39 COM 7A.42)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 39 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 39 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 39 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 39 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 39 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 39 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 39 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 39 COM 7A.23)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 39 COM 7A.43)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.14)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.17)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 39 COM 7A.48)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 39 COM 7A.37)
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7A.21

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.24, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes with satisfaction the continuing progress being made in restoring and reconstructing the damaged mosques and destroyed mausoleums, building awareness and support for the built heritage of Timbuktu, and ensuring the technical capacity to care for this heritage;
  4. Expresses its appreciation to the following countries and institutions for their contribution to UNESCO-Mali Action Plan, and for their gesture of support to the reconstruction of mausoleums, which their representatives showed on 8 April 2015 in Timbuktu: South Africa, Morocco, Switzerland, Norway, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Croatia, Mauritius, Bahrain, Andorra, European Union, USAID, and the World Bank;
  5. Encourages the State Party to complete the documentation work begun in June 2013, as well as the remaining studies and diagnostics that are still required to define the different technical restoration solutions of mosques, and to submit the results to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Requests the State Party, once the situation in the northern region of Mali is stable, to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission to evaluate the general state of conservation of the property and progress achieved in the restoration of the mosques and the reconstruction of the mausoleums, and to prepare all the corrective measures as well as a Desired State of Conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  8. Decides to continue the application of the reinforced monitoring mechanism of the property;
  9. Also decides to retain Timbuktu (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2015
Mali
Date of Inscription: 1988
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(v)
Danger List (dates): 1990-2005, 2012-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 39COM (2015)
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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