1.         Island of Saint-Louis (Senegal) (C 956bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (ii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 11,500
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

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

Previous monitoring missions

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; May 2017: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission with the participation of an expert from the European Space Agency (ESA)

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 30 January 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/956/documents and providing the following information:

In conformity with Decision 40 COM 7B.18, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission took place from 6 to 12 May 2017.

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

During its 40th session in 2016, the Committee expressed strong concern regarding the very low rate of implementation of the 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission recommendations, as well as the recommendations formulated by the Committee since 2010 relating to : severe degradation and the lack of restoration and maintenance of several historic buildings; the participatory management of the property; the integration of regulatory measures; the recruitment of sworn-in agents; the control mechanism for monitoring modifications and new constructions; diagnostic study on the most derelict public buildings; securing funding resources; capacity building and awareness raising.

The 2017 mission noted that, although a significant number of the 2014 reactive monitoring mission recommendations are gradually being implemented, several listed or remarkable buildings are in a reasonable state of conservation, and the overall situation is nevertheless rather more contrasted. Slow degradation has been noted in some cases, particularly for buildings already identified in 2005 (PSMV) as being in a bad state of conservation or ruin, and 45% of the 117 units studied in the framework of the Tourism Development Programme (PDT). There are several cases of degradation where, in 2005, the buildings were considered healthy (26% of the 117 units studied).

The priority areas identified in the report submitted in 2017 by the State Party concern, notably, the Cathedral, the Governor’s Palace, the mosque and interventions on private buildings. Indeed, the Tourism Development Programme has been able to raise strong support for rehabilitation from the private sector. Therefore, it is essential that this dynamic is continued and that pilot rehabilitation actions are carried out in order to sustain motivation.

With regard to the breach and its evolution, the problems have not yet been resolved; however, an international call for tender was launched and the EIFFAGE Group has been retained.

Concerning management, a distinct improvement in the coordination of the stakeholders is noted compared to 2014. Some collaboration tools have been introduced (extended Safeguard Committee, Action Plan, some joint conservation or enhancement projects, etc.). Nonetheless, major efforts must be pursued to consolidate and formalize this collaborative framework.

With regard to the control, monitoring and protection measures, the basis for an efficacious monitoring system has been established, following a long consultation process with all the stakeholders. It still remains for the State Party to examine the operational implementation by organizing systematic meetings and by imposing construction permits for all works.

The mission also noted the conclusions of the audit, requested by the French Development Agency (AFD) to assess the implementation of the PDT, following the analysis which showed a very negative balance in terms of disbursement rate (less than 8%), too complex technical set-up, and a very complex thematic (heritage) requiring precise and regular monitoring to respond to both local and international expectations.

It should be noted that the Committee has expressed its concern with regard to the very low rate of implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission and those it emitted since 2010 and evoked during its 40th session in 2016, that is the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger in the absence of significant progress.

Although progress has been achieved as regards an agreement for the strengthening of management and planning, and some conservation activities have been carried out, the overall condition of the property is not yet stabilized and in some parts there remains a state of deterioration compared to that of 2005. Until such times as a more precise revitalization plan is established and strengthened monitoring reveals that the deterioration has been curbed in time, the property remains threatened by the degradation of its attributes. The inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger can only be avoided by supporting the progress already begun to counterbalance the permanent threats to the property. 

Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.71

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B.Add.2,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.18, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Notes the recent measures taken by the State Party to strengthen and adapt the governance of the property and deal with the issues to conserve its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), in particular:
    1. The creation of a single Regional Committee responsible for the authorization of the constructions and work concerning the property,
    2. The creation of a specialised police unit installed at Saint Louis for surveillance and ground soil conservation activities,
    3. The announcement of the establishment of an inventory of the most threatened public and private buildings and a plan for priority restoration to be conducted with support from a dedicated financial fund,
    4. The proposal to recruit an architect-urbanist for the project;
  4. Commends the consistent mobilization of the local communities (Associations, District Councils, etc.) and the effective involvement of the private partners in the safeguarding actions for the property;
  5. Notes nevertheless, that the property remains vulnerable because the earlier deterioration was not halted and urges the State Party to pursue its efforts to improve the management and governance of the property, and to put in place the following measures:
    1. Revitalize the management structure of the property and clarify the role of the many bodies involved in the current management of the property and their coordination,
    2. Confirm the preparation of a documented technical inventory (database) of the endangered buildings to envisage their maintenance and appropriate restoration, and to achieve this, to implement the following points:
      1. The Commission for the authorization of work must have the resources to monitor their implementation and intervene in the event of non-conformity,
      2. Planning with a timetable of priority work to be urgently conducted and in the medium-term to rehabilitate the most dilapidated or threatened historic buildings,
      3. The effective establishment of the public and private fund to guarantee the implementation of these works, and its operating methods,
      4. The confirmation of the recruitment of an architect town planner specialized in the technical and architectural direction of a plan for the restoration of historic buildings expressing an Outstanding Universal Value,
      5. The development of a permanent team to prescribe good practices and technical intervention for conservation, in support of the architect-urbanist to be made available to the project,
      6. The development and implementation of a monitoring system to record building conditions over time,
    3. Develop a communication strategy aimed at sharing the values of the property with the inhabitants, in particular through the establishment of the Heritage House,
    4. Establish monitoring of the geomorphological evolution of the mouth of the Senegal River to assess the potential or possible threats to the conservation of the physical integrity of the soil supporting the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 43rd session in 2019.