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Historic Town of Grand-Bassam

Côte d'Ivoire
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Housing
  • Human resources
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water (rain/water table)
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Upon inscription of the property on the World Heritage List in 2012, the Committee requested the State Party to:

  • Clarify the property’s limits for the land parts following the cadastral boundaries
  • Enlarge the property’s unified buffer zone to the Petit Paris neighbourhood and the lighthouse
  • Clarify the land ownership situation (N’zima village, land lots with no property deed)
  • Inscribe all the “buildings of heritage interest” in the property on the National Cultural Heritage List
  • Define operational monitoring indicators which correspond to precise, periodic and quantified monitoring actions
  • Strengthen and give details of the permanent human resources of the Local Committee and/or of the Heritage Centre
  • Confirm the suspensive role of the Heritage Centre’s views’ in the functioning of the Building Permits Commission of Grand-Bassam for conservation purposes
  • Reinforce the practical and operational dimension of the Plan for the Conservation and Management of the property
  • Confirm the measures to provide encouragement for the restoration and conservation of the privately owned buildings
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

Total amount granted: USD 32,634 from the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 1 (from 2015-2015)
Total amount approved : 5,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**
2013 and 2014: Technical assistance missions in the framework of the Convention France-UNESCO for management in 2013 and restoration of the ancient Palace of Justice in 2014 ; Technical Assistance mission for the AfriCAP2016 project financed by the European Union in the framework of the ACP Cultures+ Programme.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 29 January 2015, in response to Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37, the State Party sent a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1322/documents/, informing of the following progress:

  • A 1/4000 map, indicating the boundaries of the property and the new buffer zone beyond the lighthouse, was prepared and submitted in duplicate;
  • A detailed list of the18 members of the Local Management Committee, established in 2012, and of the 13 members of the Heritage House was provided;
  • The suspensive nature of the building permit has been confirmed;
  • Monitoring, control and maintenance mechanisms of the old buildings have been put in place;
  • A preliminary study based on the archives and collection of evidence was completed;
  • A map of the areas to replant has been established and a first tree planting operation was conducted in December 2014 by the City Council and the Heritage House;
  • Follow-up indicators for the conservation of the property have been defined;
  • Monitoring, control and maintenance mechanisms of the old buildings and the road network were established, and traditional skills were mobilized to manage the water of the lagoon;
  • Restoration operations were conducted; diagnoses are underway for the former Palais de Justice;
  • Actions are being undertaken for the opening up of the river mouth, the closure of which had serious socio-economic and environmental consequences;
  • An architectural and urban inventory has been launched to help in the conservation, and the Heritage House is working on a best practice guide to assist in the application of the safeguarding plan;
  • A list of strengths and weaknesses that remain to be addressed was prepared. The issue of financial resources for the restoration of public and private buildings has not yet been resolved, nor that of the Heritage House resources.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The quality of the report submitted by the State Party should be noted, in which it reaffirms its full commitment to the conservation and enhancement of the World Heritage property. Its very detailed and specific content provides concrete information on the actions undertaken and in progress under the Action Plan developed following inscription, and those still to be implemented, as well as on the functioning of the institutions, and the cooperations and partnerships developed. It provides a detailed picture of the progress of the measures taken and the actions implemented.

This report and those of the technical assistance missions emphasize the implementation of various initiatives and projects to develop the necessary conservation and management tools, and the State Party should be encouraged to finalize these tools, notably the inventory, the safeguarding plan and the identification of land titles.

These reports describe several bilateral and multilateral cooperation initiatives for the development and conservation of the property, and the State Party should be encouraged to continue these actions that specifically strengthen skills for management and conservation, as well as competencies with regard to the regulatory and institutional framework.

It also stressed the need to strengthen the role and resources of the Heritage House, its capacity for action and for ensuring the training of its staff, particularly in urban conservation. To enable this House to fulfill its missions, funding sources should be identified, and administrative and financial mechanisms should be developed to raise funds.

The analysis of the technical reports and that of the State Party reveals a lack of architects and urban heritage planners, at both the Heritage House and in the local Management Committee or the Building Permits Commission, and in the municipal services. This problem is partly compensated by the support of international cooperation (France-UNESCO Convention, AfriCAP2016 project) but it remains a major long-term challenge to ensure the effectiveness of the safeguarding and management mechanisms. As indicated in the Action Plan of the Heritage House appended to the report of the State Party, the establishment of specialized training should be pursued, both short- and long-term, for architects and urban heritage planners, and craftsmen skilled in restoration at local, national and regional levels. In a medium- and long-term perspective, the urban conservation of Grand Bassam should be associated with the urban development of the City, based on the approach centered on the historic urban landscape, in order to develop a large scale plan to support and monitor the urbanization in an integrated manner.

In order to ensure the conservation of the urban characteristics of the property, ongoing efforts to develop historical research and the development of a specific literature on the architectural and urban history of Grand Bassam should be continued, and also to develop integrated planning tools and small- and large-scale urban planning documents to prevent ruptures of templates, urban sprawls and other urban development likely to affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. This implies the continuation and strengthening of dialogue between stakeholders. It is also important to study the coherence of the safeguarding plan for the property with an urban development plan on a larger scale to manage the development of suburbs and major infrastructures, to concord with the master plan of Greater Abidjan, and to address the issues of sanitation, waste management, the road network. The limits of the buffer zone will be reconsidered in accordance with the results of this analysis.

The reports indicate efforts to conduct actions of restoration, regeneration of the urban landscape (reestablishment of tree alignments) and lagoon management. These initiatives implemented with different partners should be encouraged.

Concerning the restoration of important buildings, including the former Palais de Justice, the State Party should be encouraged to continue these operations and promote vocational training in situ. For the old Palais de Justice, the reports recommend concrete and urgent actions concerning the stages of the restoration (protection and shoring, documentation and diagnosis...) and a prior reflection on the use and reuse of the building.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7B.38
Historic Town of Grand-Bassam (Côte d’Ivoire) (C 1322rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37, adopted respectively at its 36th (St. Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions,
  3. Commends the State Party for the implementation of most of the points raised in Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37, and for the various cooperation initiatives developed at national level between stakeholders, and at international bilateral and multilateral levels;
  4. Takes note of the extension of the boundaries of the buffer zone and encourages the State Party to continue its reflection on the revision of the boundaries of the zone;
  5. Notes with satisfaction the State Party's efforts for the establishment of the Heritage House and the development of conservation and daily management tools for the architectural, urban and landscape heritage, and for the restoration operations and the monitoring of natural threats;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement the specific actions required by Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37 and reflected in the Action Plan to strengthen the protection and conservation of the property and bearing on the following themes:
    1. Urban conservation, planning and integrated urban development, taking into account the historic urban landscape and archival documentation,
    2. Training and capacity building in architectural, urban and landscape conservation at local and national level,
    3. Strengthening of financial resources and the technical and administrative capacities of the Heritage House to raise funds and implement activities,
    4. Application of emergency and restoration measures in conformity with the old Palais de Justice;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016 an updated report, including a 1-page analytical summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.38

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37, adopted respectively at its 36th (St. Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions,
  3. Commends the State Party for the implementation of most of the points raised in Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37, and for the various cooperation initiatives developed at national level between stakeholders, and at international bilateral and multilateral levels;
  4. Takes note of the extension of the boundaries of the buffer zone and encourages the State Party to continue its reflection on the revision of the boundaries of the zone;
  5. Notes with satisfaction the State Party's efforts for the establishment of the Heritage House and the development of conservation and daily management tools for the architectural, urban and landscape heritage, and for the restoration operations and the monitoring of natural threats;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement the specific actions required by Decisions 36 COM 8B.17 and 37 COM 7B.37 and reflected in the Action Plan to strengthen the protection and conservation of the property and bearing on the following themes:
    1. Urban conservation, planning and integrated urban development, taking into account the historic urban landscape and archival documentation,
    2. Training and capacity building in architectural, urban and landscape conservation at local and national level,
    3. Strengthening of financial resources and the technical and administrative capacities of the Heritage House to raise funds and implement activities,
    4. Application of emergency and restoration measures in conformity with the old Palais de Justice;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016 an updated report, including a 1-page analytical summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Report year: 2015
Côte d'Ivoire
Date of Inscription: 2012
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
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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