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

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see page  http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6678   

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 1981-2018)
Total amount approved: USD 110,194
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); USD 71,090 (Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation)

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

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 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:

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

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 Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

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.

Decision Adopted: 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 the Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 42 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/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: