1.         Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) (C 116rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2016-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Corrective measures identified

In progress

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1981-2015)
Total amount approved: USD 84,577
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

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

Previous monitoring missions

2002, 2005: World Heritage Centre missions; 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; 2014, 2016: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 25 January 2017, in response to Decision 40 COM 7B.13, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/documents/, and supplemented by a more detailed evaluation report submitted on 3 May 2017, available at the same web address. These reports provide the following information:

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

The efforts made by the State Party to initiate the implementation of corrective measures to ensure the best conditions for the integrity and authenticity of the property are well noted. The fragility of the security situation in Mali is slowing down the State Party's response capacity, resulting in a low level of implementation of the corrective measures (5 out of 20 measures being implemented). This situation is also explained by a low level of financing mobilized for Djenné, the financial partners having mainly expressed interest in Timbuktu and concentrated their support on that site. It is therefore recommended that the Committee take note of the progress made by the State Party and encourage it to continue, and to increase awareness amongst its partners for supporting Djenné in the framework of the Action Plan for the second phase of rehabilitation of the cultural heritage of Mali.

It is also noted with concern that new problems emerged after the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2016. This includes the collapse or degradation of some monumental houses, of which the old Moroccan Palace dating from the 16th century. Added to this is the appearance of cracks, following flooding caused by the torrential rains in August 2016, on the pillars of the emblematic Djenné Mosque, the first edifice of which was built in the 13th century. Despite the efforts deployed, there are also difficulties as regards the archaeological sites, which remain subject to risks of degradation and looting owing to an upsurge of insecurity and attacks by terrorist groups. To this end, it is recommended that the Committee express its concern and encourage the State Party to seek a request for international assistance from the World Heritage Fund.

Moreover, the review of the Conservation and Management Plan for the property, as well as the implementation of the urban planning reglementation, and the reinforcement of the operational capacities of the Cultural Mission of Djenné, appear to be of high priority. It is therefore necessary to update and supplement the provisional corrective measures adopted by the Committee (Decision 40 COM 7B.13). It is also essential to prepare as soon as possible a proposal for a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) as requested by the same decision.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the overall state of conservation of the property and the progress made in the implementation of the corrective measures. The security situation made it impossible to organize the mission requested by the Committee in 2016.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7A.28

The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.13, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Takes note of the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of some of the corrective measures adopted at its 40th session, in a difficult security context in Mali, and with the lack of adequate resources at the local level, which slowed down their implementation;
  4. Notes that despite the inadequate financial and logistical resources available to the Cultural Mission of Djenné, resources have been allocated to the finalization of the Conservation and Management Plan by the end of 2017, and that measures are ongoing for awareness raising with the fight against illicit traffic;
  5. Also expresses its concern with the appearance of further deterioration in the old urban fabric of the property after the flooding caused by the torrential rains in August 2016, which led to the collapse of certain monumental houses, including the old Moroccan Palace dating back to the 16th century; and about the risks of degradation and looting of the archaeological sites;
  6. Encourages the State Party to seek a request for International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund in order to implement priority actions for the rehabilitation of these damaged monumental houses;
  7. Notes with appreciation the Aga Khan Trust for Culture's support for the sustainable riverbank conservation measures;
  8. Expresses its concern with the fragility of the security situation in Djenné, which prevented the organization of the requested joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission and reiterates its request to the State Party to invite, when the security situation will be stabilized in Mali, this joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the overall state of conservation of the property and the progress made in the implementation of the corrective measures;
  9. Also notes that international support for the buildings has focused mainly on Timbuktu, and calls upon the international community to support the State Party, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, by all possible means, for the conservation and protection of the property, in particular in the implementation of the Action Plan for the second phase of the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage of Mali;
  10. Requests the State Party to update and finalize the list of corrective measures, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM, with an updated implementation calendar, and a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and to submit them to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2018 for adoption by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018;
  11. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018;
  12. Decides to retain Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: