1.         Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons) (Mali) (C/N 516)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1989

Criteria  (v)(vii)

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/516/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1988-2018)
Total amount approved: USD 124,444
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/516/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/516/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 29 November 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/516/documents/, providing the following information:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

Despite the persistent problems regarding the security situation, the actions carried out by the State Party, through the Cultural Mission of Bandiagara, has notably enabled the updating of the 2018-2022 Management and Conservation Plan, which benefited from a broad consultation with the local communities. It is recommended that the Committee congratulate the State Party for the work achieved, that formalizes the framework of crucial involvement of communities in the conservation of the property and the different elements of its heritage. In this context, community initiatives such as those of ADI and the creation of village committees are to be applauded, because they have enabled the conduct of restoration work in several villages (restoration of Gin’na and Toguna). Moreover, these committees are key bodies in the conduct of information and awareness-raising campaigns. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the continuance and strengthening of these campaigns by and with the communities, in particular by involving young people.

Efforts to combat illicit trafficking of cultural property should also be welcomed. Therefore, at the level of communities, the holding of a capacity building workshop in November 2017 is appreciated, but it is important to support the implementation of the recommendations of this workshop and maintain the mobilization of all the stakeholders involved. Also, the pursuit of the measures to sanction those responsible for the acts of vandalism and illicit trafficking, such as the opening of legal investigations to this end should be pursued.

At the international level, the conclusion of partnership agreements, like that between Mali and the United States of America concerning the restriction of the importation of archaeological material from the Niger Valley and the Cliff of Bandiagara, are important initiatives and deserve to be multiplied, notably with neighbouring countries. The State Party should be further encouraged to initiate such agreements, and it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its appeal to the States Parties to support Mali in its combat against illicit trade in the framework of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970). It is also appropriate to renew the appeal to the international community to encourage contributions towards the implementation of the second phase of the Rehabilitation Programme of cultural property and safeguarding the ancient manuscripts of Mali.

The report rightly recalls the impact of the crisis on the property at several levels and the fact that the effects observed and experienced are mutually dependent, namely the impact on the tourist economy and its infrastructures, the degradation of the flagship sites and monuments, the increase in looting, vandalism and illicit trafficking of cultural property, and the erosion of cultural identity linked to the progress of radical Islamists. It is why it is essential to strengthen all actions in this respect covering all forms of heritage, coordinating these actions with assistance from the concerned UNESCO Cultural Conventions (1954, 1970, 1972 and 2003).

Finally, it is recommended that in response to the extremely difficult conditions prevailing at the property and the isolation of the staff, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies examine the possibility of establishing a short-term distance support programme to enable dialogue on capacity building and the strengthening of the sustainable management of the property.    

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.65

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.64, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Congratulates the State Party for the revision and updating of the 2018-2022 Management and Conservation Plan for the property, and notably for the important involvement of local communities, despite the persisting problems caused by the security situation;
  4. Favourably welcomes the measures taken to involve communities in the conservation of the property and the different components of their heritage, and more particularly the community initiatives such as the Dogon Initiative Association (ADI) and the creation of village committees, enabling the restoration work in several villages, and encourages the State Party to continue and strengthen the information and awareness-raising campaigns by and with the communities, notably by including young people;
  5. Appreciates the measures taken to combat illicit trafficking of cultural property at both local community levels as well as at the international level, and urges the State Party to increase support to the local communities and intensify cooperation, especially with neighbouring countries to reinforce the combat against illicit trafficking of cultural property;
  6. Reiterates its appeal to all the States Parties who are also States Parties to the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property to support Mali in its fight against illicit trade;
  7. Also launches an appeal to the international community to support the efforts of the State Party and contribute towards the implementation of the second phase of the Rehabilitation Programme for cultural heritage and safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts of Mali;
  8. Also encourages the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to explore the possibility of establishing a short-term distance support programme to enable dialogue for capacity building and the strengthening of the sustainable management of the property;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above points, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.