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Island of Saint-Louis

Senegal
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Housing
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water (rain/water table)
  • Other Threats:

    Extremely poor state of conservation of numerous derelict buildings endangering occupants

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of monitoring and control mechanism
  • Lack of a conservation and management plan (existence of a Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan serving as a Conservation and Management Plan)
  • New constructions, architectural modifications and urban projects affecting authenticity and integrity
  • Inappropriate housing restoration
  • Environmental disorder due to the modification of the mouth of the Senegal River
  • Extremely poor state of conservation of numerous derelict buildings endangering occupants
  • Lack of a site manager (Issue resolved)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount granted: USD 192,697.13 from the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 1 (from 1997-2007)
Total amount approved : 11,500 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

March-April 2004: Joint World Heritage Centre/France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement mission; April 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission; 2007: France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement mission; February 2009: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; March 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission with participation of an expert from the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 10 December 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/documents/. This report provides the following information:

  • An Action Plan 2015-2020 was developed for the implementation of the Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan of Saint-Louis (PSMV). This PSMV which was developed in 2006 is a planning tool and is considered as the Conservation and Management Plan of the property but has scarcely been implemented to date. The new Action Plan was developed in a participatory and inclusive approach with local stakeholders and the support of the UNESCO Office in Dakar. It was submitted to technical and financial partners in November 2015 for funding;
  • The new Action Plan will function as a single window with a commission that will meet monthly to process all applications for rehabilitation and construction permits and other work on the property;
  • Two international experts, one in urban heritage planning, and one historic monuments specialist, provided technical support to strengthen management and conservation capacities on the ground with financial support from the World Heritage Centre. Information and awareness-raising sessions were held on several topics, including best practices for rehabilitation. Recommendations were also made to improve the effectiveness of management and conservation mechanisms at the site;
  • Three sectoral studies were initiated with support from the French Development Agency (AFD): a land survey to identify issues of ownership, a socio-economic study to assess the financial capacity of the owners and a diagnostic and architectural study;
  • Many awareness-raising sessions on the protection and conservation of the property were organized for local communities;
  • In addition, on 19 January 2016, the Governor of Saint-Louis issued a decree suspending all demolition operations of buildings falling in ruin in Saint-Louis. Several weeks later, an old building collapsed, injuring children.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The efforts made by the State Party to develop a 2015-2020 Action Plan for the implementation of the PSMV are salutary. The participatory and inclusive approach developed for this purpose with the full involvement of local stakeholders is appreciable. It is recommended that the Committee commends the State Party for the progress made, and it encourages it to continue and strengthen its efforts.

The State Party considers the PSMV as a Conservation and Management Plan, but this document does not include many useful provisions such as the precise arrangements for management and decision-making, ways to strengthen collaboration and promote the integration of regulatory measures in force. In addition, the conditions required to ensure effective implementation of the new Action Plan are not specified, and the risk remains of the repeat situation of low performance as for the PSMV.

More generally, the recommendations of the previous monitoring mission have scarcely been implemented, like those made by the Committee since 2010. Although the decree of the Governor of Saint-Louis suspending any demolition operation of buildings threatening ruin is highly salutary, the significant state of degradation and lack of restoration and maintenance of several historic buildings is extremely worrying. The recent collapse of a building injuring children is very revealing and significant. In addition, the technical, material and financial resources necessary for management and conservation still seem to be lacking.

Thus, there appear to be very few signs of improvement in the state of conservation of the property. Conservation problems even seem to be on the increase, putting the property in specific and proven imminent danger. It is therefore recommended that the Committee expresses its grave concern over the fact that most of its recommendations, made since 2010 in Decisions 34 COM 7B.51, 35 COM 7B.43, 37 COM 7B.42 and 38 COM 7B.54, are not implemented, and it urges the State Party to take urgent measures to remedy the situation. It is also recommended that the Committee requests the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the general state of conservation of the property, and that it considers that in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of its recommendations, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger could be considered, in accordance with paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.18
Island of Saint-Louis (Senegal) (C 956bis)

The World Heritage Committee, 

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 34 COM 7B.51, 35 COM 7B.43, 37 COM 7B.42 and 38 COM 7B.54 adopted at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for its efforts in developing a 2015-2020 Action Plan for the implementation of the Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan of Saint-Louis (PSMV), in a participatory and inclusive approach with local stakeholders;
  4. Takes note of the decree of the Governor of St. Louis issued on 19 January 2016 to suspend all demolition operations of buildings threatening ruin inside the property;
  5. Expresses nonetheless its grave concern about the significant state of disrepair and lack of restoration and maintenance of several historic buildings, illustrated by the collapse of an old building in an advanced state of disrepair in March 2016, injuring children;
  6. Also expresses its concern at the very low level of implementation of the recommendations of the reactive monitoring mission of 2014 and the recommendations made by the Committee since 2010, and urges the State Party to take urgent measures to accelerate the implementation of these recommendations, with particular attention to the following:
    1. Establish provisions specifying management and decision-making modalities as well as the means to strengthen collaboration between stakeholders, notably the municipal development agency, the town hall, and the management body of the property,
    2. Promote the integration of regulatory measures in force already contained in the PSMV, and recruit sworn-in agents to reinforce the application of these regulatory measures, including sanction measures,
    3. Define mechanisms to study, advise and vet projects proposing modifications of structures or new constructions, and to control and monitor these projects during their implementation by heritage architects,
    4. Conduct a diagnostic study on the most degraded public buildings, and seek funding to carry out emergency restoration work to increase occupant safety and improve heritage protection,
    5. Strengthen existing capacities in conservation and management at various local, district and national levels, and provide technical, material and financial resources for the implementation of sustainable conservation and management measures,
    6. Strengthen conservation and protection of the property through information and awareness raising actions targeting local communities and institutional and policy decision-makers;
  7. Requests the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the general state of conservation of the property and progress made in the implementation of these recommendations; 
  8. Considers that the lack of significant progress in the urgent implementation of these recommendations would put the property in specific and proven imminent danger, in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the points mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017, with a view to considering, in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of these recommendations, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.18

The World Heritage Committee, 

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 34 COM 7B.51, 35 COM 7B.43, 37 COM 7B.42 and 38 COM 7B.54 adopted at its 34th (Brasilia, 2010), 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for its efforts in developing a 2015-2020 Action Plan for the implementation of the Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan of Saint-Louis (PSMV), in a participatory and inclusive approach with local stakeholders;
  4. Takes note of the decree of the Governor of St. Louis issued on 19 January 2016 to suspend all demolition operations of buildings threatening ruin inside the property;
  5. Expresses nonetheless its grave concern about the significant state of disrepair and lack of restoration and maintenance of several historic buildings, illustrated by the collapse of an old building in an advanced state of disrepair in March 2016, injuring children;
  6. Also expresses its concern at the very low level of implementation of the recommendations of the reactive monitoring mission of 2014 and the recommendations made by the Committee since 2010, and urges the State Party to take urgent measures to accelerate the implementation of these recommendations, with particular attention to the following:
    1. Establish provisions specifying management and decision-making modalities as well as the means to strengthen collaboration between stakeholders, notably the municipal development agency, the town hall, and the management body of the property,
    2. Promote the integration of regulatory measures in force already contained in the PSMV, and recruit sworn-in agents to reinforce the application of these regulatory measures, including sanction measures,
    3. Define mechanisms to study, advise and vet projects proposing modifications of structures or new constructions, and to control and monitor these projects during their implementation by heritage architects,
    4. Conduct a diagnostic study on the most degraded public buildings, and seek funding to carry out emergency restoration work to increase occupant safety and improve heritage protection,
    5. Strengthen existing capacities in conservation and management at various local, district and national levels, and provide technical, material and financial resources for the implementation of sustainable conservation and management measures,
    6. Strengthen conservation and protection of the property through information and awareness raising actions targeting local communities and institutional and policy decision-makers;
  7. Requests the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the general state of conservation of the property and progress made in the implementation of these recommendations; 
  8. Considers that the lack of significant progress in the urgent implementation of these recommendations would put the property in specific and proven imminent danger, in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the points mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017, with a view to considering, in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of these recommendations, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2016
Senegal
Date of Inscription: 2000
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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