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Old Towns of Djenné

Mali
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Solid waste
  • War
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration of dwellings

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • No management and conservation plan
  • Pressure from urban development
  • Deterioration of dwellings
  • Waste disposal problems
  • Encroachment of the archaeological sites
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

Total amount granted: USD 110,000 (Italian Funds-in-Trust); USD 23,100 (Croisi Europe); USD 86,900 (European Commission), USD 53,000 (Netherland Funds-in-Trust)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 4 (from 1981-2015)
Total amount approved : 84,577 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

2002, 2005: World Heritage Centre missions; 2006: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission, 2014: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 13 February 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/fr/list/116/documents/. This report should be completed by a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission report in accordance with Decision 38 COM 7B.50, however this mission was postponed due to the precarious security situation in Mali. The State Party report provides the following information:

  • Several measures have been adopted to respond to land pressure issues, encroachment of animals and looting of artefacts at all four archaeological sites of the property: strengthening of surveillance, recruitment of guards, clear boundary markers, renewal and setting up of signposting;
  • The Ministry responsible for State-owned Property, Land Affairs and Heritage was requested to transfer the land of the archaeological sites directly to the Ministry of Culture to provide security and protection against urban pressure;
  • The Ministry of Urban Planning was also requested to accelerate the procedure for the adoption of local urban regulatory measures;
  • The Geographical Institute of Mali was also requested to redefine the boundaries of the archaeological sites and their buffer zones, taking into account the earlier construction works;
  • Measures have been adopted to combat illegal and unsanitary occupation of the river banks that border the site.

Furthermore, on 4 May 2015, the State Party submitted an intermediary report in the framework of the international assistance project for the reinforced protection of the property. This project has as objective the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan, adopted by Decision 38 COM 7B.50. The important points of this report are as follows:

  • An information and awareness raising meeting was organized to strengthen the involvement of local communities in the protection and conservation of the site;
  • Three panels have been prepared to raise awareness of the local communities regarding the management of waste disposal along the river banks;
  • Anti-erosion measures have been implemented at the Djenne-Djeno archaeological site;
  • A mission was organized to finalize the adoption of the urban regulatory measures.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The State Party has undertaken numerous efforts in the implementation of Decision 38 COM 7B.50, and more particularly in the implementation of activities of the Emergency Action Plan for the conservation and protection of the property. However, these efforts are far from sufficient in view of the many problems and threats that affect the integrity and authenticity of the property.

The precarious security situation of Mali has hindered the capability of the State Party to intervene at site. The actions carried out are mostly of an administrative nature, oriented towards security procedures, the archaeological sites and the adoption of urban regulatory measures.  These actions also include measures for solid waste management and illegal occupation of the river banks. The urban and architectural situation of the old urban fabric (earthen constructions, the oldest of which date back to the 15th-16th centuries), is also seriously threatened by illegal works, as indicated in the State Party report. In addition to the institutional coordination measures between the different authorities, technical measures of a general nature are mentioned: inventory of traditional practices, standards for the conservation of earthen architecture in respect of new needs of comfort, cadastral plan and stocks of traditional materials. In the face of a particularly difficult situation, it is recommended that the Committee express its deep concern and insist on the need to urgently implement concrete and operational actions in respect of all the components of the property: the archaeological sites and the old urban fabric.

Together with the measures envisaged by the State Party, the intermediate report of the international assistance project as allows to observe an initial response to the main challenges evoked. The State Party should implement without delay the different stages of the international assistance project, mobilizing additional means to do so. Other than the World Heritage Fund, the State Party has not been able to raise additional funds for the property, and more important international assistance would be welcome. In the absence of significant progress in the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan, the property is likely to respond to conditions set out in paragraphs 177-182 of the Operational Guidelines referenced at the time of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  Before this however, a Reactive Monitoring mission should confirm this eventuality.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7B.41
Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) (C 116 rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 C0M 7B.50, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Takes note of the efforts undertaken by the State Party in the operational implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the conservation and protection of the property;
  4. Notes with concern the precarious security situation in Mali that has hindered the capability of the State Party at the site;
  5. Expresses its deep concern regarding the low level of implementation of the Emergency Action Plan in view of the numerous threats to the integrity and authenticity of the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to increase its efforts and mobilize additional means to accelerate the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan;
  7. Calls upon the international community to provide the necessary support for the protection and safeguard of the property through the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan;
  8. Reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission as soon as the security situation permits, to assess the progress achieved in the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan and the ascertained or potential danger to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
  9. 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, with a view to considering, in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan and the ascertained or potential danger to the Outstanding Universal Value, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.41

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 C0M 7B.50, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Takes note of the efforts undertaken by the State Party in the operational implementation of the Emergency Action Plan for the conservation and protection of the property;
  4. Notes with concern the precarious security situation in Mali that has hindered the capability of the State Party at the site;
  5. Expresses its deep concern regarding the low level of implementation of the Emergency Action Plan in view of the numerous threats to the integrity and authenticity of the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to increase its efforts and mobilize additional means to accelerate the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan;
  7. Calls upon the international community to provide the necessary support for the protection and safeguard of the property through the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan;
  8. Reiterates its request to the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission as soon as the security situation permits, to assess the progress achieved in the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan and the ascertained or potential danger to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
  9. 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, with a view to considering, in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan and the ascertained or potential danger to the Outstanding Universal Value, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2015
Mali
Date of Inscription: 1988
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2016-present
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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