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Old Towns of Djenné

Mali
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Civil unrest
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Solid waste
  • 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
  • Instable security situation
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Serious deterioration of materials in the historic town and continued decay at the archaeological sites
  • Inappropriate interventions
  • Erosion of the architectural coherence of the town
  • Lack of enforcement and implementation of regulatory and planning tools
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress

Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

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); USD 71,090 (Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 6 (from 1981-2018)
Total amount approved : 110,194 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

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; April 2017: UNESCO Expert mission to assess the state of conservation of Mali's World Heritage properties

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 31January 2018, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/documents/, providing the following information:

  • A new 2018-2020 Management and Conservation Plan was developed in close cooperation with the local community;
  • A Management Committee was created and ensures regular consultation of the Counsellors of the districts;
  • Awareness-raising activities to combat looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property have been carried out in the communities and in schools;
  • Other awareness-raising activities for the conservation of the property, such as regular radio broadcast messages or community meetings, are implemented;
  • An interpretation plan for the property has been prepared, including tourist information (orientation panels and information). Informative signposting at the Djenné-Djeno site has been updated and panels forbidding the use of archaeological sites, for example, for making bricks and excavations, have been installed;
  • The degradation and looting of the archaeological sites has decreased thanks to the effective involvement of the communities;
  • Several dilapidated houses have been restored or are in the process of restoration;
  • A request for International Assistance, approved in 2018, will enable rehabilitation work of monumental houses and the Moroccan Palace, partially collapsed due to torrential rains in August 2016;
  • With support from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), a system for the evacuation of rainwater has been installed, and 200 metres of river banks have been developed;
  • Mechanisms to combat erosion caused by rainwater have been strengthened at the level of the mini-dams and stone barriers with piles of clay-filled sacks;
  • The boundaries and the buffer zones of the archaeological sites of Djenné-Djano, Hambarketolo and Kaniana have been redefined and indicated; missing bollards have been installed throughout the property, except Tonomba;
  • An architectural diagnostic and solar electrification project of the Grand Mosque of Djenné is ongoing, with support of the Spanish Developing Cooperation Agency (AECID).

The State Party highlights certain threats that weigh on the property, in particular:

  • Water erosion;
  • Clandestine excavations and encroachment of the archaeological sites;
  • Transformation of the buildings and increased use of modern materials;
  • Inscriptions on walls of the houses by adolescents;
  • Implantation of metal kiosks and publicity posters.

Due to security concerns, the reactive monitoring mission was not organized. However, in April 2017, a cultural heritage expert was assigned by UNESCO to carry out a field mission to assess the state of conservation of the property (the mission report is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116/documents/).

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

The efforts undertaken by the State Party and the progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures are warmly welcomed. Indeed, at least 10 corrective measures of the 20 are being implemented (against 5 in 2017), with particular appreciation for the development of the new 2018-2020 Management and Conservation Plan and the creation of a Management Committee.

The different interventions carried out at the property are to be congratulated, all the more so as the security situation remains very fragile. In this context, the progress achieved is appreciated, in particular the restoration work of the dilapidated houses, measures to combat water erosion and the development of a section of the river banks, and also the installation of visible bollards marking the boundaries of the property. In addition, enhancement and awareness-raising measures of the property enable the local community to better appreciate the heritage of the city and to increase mobilization for conservation and management efforts.  Thus, the Grand Mosque project, funded by Spain, will enable the provision of a new solar electricity plan for the building, including new public lighting surrounding the building, which will provide increased visual value.

Notwithstanding this progress, several areas of concern remain. Thus, threats continue to weigh on the earthen architecture and the number of dilapidated houses is still very high, despite ongoing restoration work.  As already noted in 2014, it appears that the problems, such as the use of materials like clay-baked bricks and cement, brilliant paintwork on the door and window surrounds as well as the elimination of some decorative elements like the “sarafales” are not yet resolved. Therefore, it is advocated that the Committee recommend that the State Party accelerate the definition of conservation and maintenance regulations for the buildings of the historic Town (corrective measure), including urban standards for the reconstruction of dilapidated houses.

It is also recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party, through the Cultural Mission of Djenné, in addition to the signposting measures, to pursue awareness-raising and information efforts of the local population to slow down degradation in the ancient urban fabric and lessen the negative impacts on the buildings, but also to reduce encroachment of the archaeological sites.

It is also recommended that in response to the extremely difficult conditions prevailing at the site and the comparative isolation of the staff, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies explore the possibility of setting up a short-term distance support programme in order to allow dialogue on capacity-building and the drafting of the Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

Finally, whilst acknowledging the funds obtained from Spain and UNESCO in the framework of International Assistance, it is essential that financial means and the capacity of the Cultural Mission of Djenné be increased for the implementation of the Management Plan and future activities. It is also recommended that the Committee renew its appeal to the international community to contribute to the implementation of the second phase of the Action Plan for the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts of Mali (2017-2020).

In view of all these concerns, it is recommended that the Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7A.13
Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) (C 116rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.28, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Notes with satisfaction the projects carried out by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures, in particular the rehabilitation of degraded or dilapidated houses and the securization of the archaeological sites, the measures to combat water erosion, development of a section of the banks, as well as enhancement and awareness-raising measures;
  4. Congratulates the State Party for the development of the new 2018-2020 Management and Conservation Plan and the creation of a Management Committee;
  5. Also notes with appreciation the financial support of the Spanish Developing Cooperation Agency (AECID) to carry out an architectural diagnostic and solar electrification of the Grand Mosque of Djenné and welcomes the granting of International Assistance to the State Party for rehabilitation work on the monumental houses and the Moroccan Palace;
  6. Expresses its concern about the continuing problems linked notably to the degradation of the ancient urban fabric and the negative impacts affecting the buildings, the effects of water erosion, and encroachment of the archaeological sites that suffer from clandestine and superficial excavations;
  7. Recommends that the State Party accelerate the definition of the conservation and maintenance regulations for the buildings of the historic Town (corrective measure), including urban standards for the reconstruction of dilapidated houses, and encourages, through the Cultural Mission of Djenné, the pursuit of the awareness-raising and information efforts of the local population with a view to slowing down the degradation of the ancient urban fabric, lessen the negative impacts on the buildings, and reduce encroachment of the archaeological sites;
  8. 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 Programme for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts of Mali;
  9. Encourages the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to explore the possibility of setting up a short-term distance support programme, in order to  allow dialogue on capacity building and on drafting the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 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 43rd session in 2019;
  11. Decides to retain the Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
42 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (Retained Properties)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/18/42.COM/7A, WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add and WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 42 COM 7A.1)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 42 COM 7A.2)
  • Austria, Historic Centre of Vienna (Decision 42 COM 7A.5)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 42 COM 7A.8)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.45)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 42 COM 7A.9)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.46)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.47)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.48)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.49)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.50)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.51)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 42 COM 7A.17)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.44)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 42 COM 7A.40)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 42 COM 7A.18)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 42 COM 7A.19)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 42 COM 7A.20)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 42 COM 7A.21)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 42 COM 7A.22)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 42 COM 7A.23)
  • Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 42 COM 7A.24)
  • Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 42 COM 7A.25)
  • Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 42 COM 7A.26)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 42 COM 7A.53)
  • Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 42 COM 7A.13)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 42 COM 7A.14)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 42 COM 7A.15)
  • Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 42 COM 7A.3)
  • Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 42 COM 7A.54)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 42 COM 7A.27)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 42 COM 7A.29)
  • Palestine, Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Decision 42 COM 7A.28)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 42 COM 7A.10)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 42 COM 7A.11)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.55)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 42 COM 7A.6)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 42 COM 7A.41)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 42 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 42 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 42 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 42 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 42 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 42 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 42 COM 7A.16)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 42 COM 7A.7)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 42 COM 7A.56)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 42 COM 7A.42)
  • Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 42 COM 7A.4)
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 42 COM 7A.12)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 42 COM 7A.37)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 42 COM 7A.38)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 42 COM 7A.39)
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7A.13

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7A.28, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Notes with satisfaction the projects carried out by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures, in particular the rehabilitation of degraded or dilapidated houses and the securization of the archaeological sites, the measures to combat water erosion, development of a section of the banks, as well as enhancement and awareness-raising measures;
  4. Congratulates the State Party for the development of the new 2018-2020 Management and Conservation Plan and the creation of a Management Committee;
  5. Also notes with appreciation the financial support of the Spanish Developing Cooperation Agency (AECID) to carry out an architectural diagnostic and solar electrification of the Grand Mosque of Djenné and welcomes the granting of International Assistance to the State Party for rehabilitation work on the monumental houses and the Moroccan Palace;
  6. Expresses its concern about the continuing problems linked notably to the degradation of the ancient urban fabric and the negative impacts affecting the buildings, the effects of water erosion, and encroachment of the archaeological sites that suffer from clandestine and superficial excavations;
  7. Recommends that the State Party accelerate the definition of the conservation and maintenance regulations for the buildings of the historic Town (corrective measure), including urban standards for the reconstruction of dilapidated houses, and encourages, through the Cultural Mission of Djenné, the pursuit of the awareness-raising and information efforts of the local population with a view to slowing down the degradation of the ancient urban fabric, lessen the negative impacts on the buildings, and reduce encroachment of the archaeological sites;
  8. 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 Programme for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts of Mali;
  9. Encourages the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to explore the possibility of setting up a short-term distance support programme, in order to  allow dialogue on capacity building and on drafting the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 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 43rd session in 2019;
  11. Decides to retain Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2018
Mali
Date of Inscription: 1988
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2016-present
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
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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