State of Conservation
Old Towns of Djenné
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
- Civil unrest
- 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
Corrective Measures for the property
Adopted, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6678
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019
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 2019
Requests approved: 6
Total amount approved : 110,194 USD
|2018||RÉUNION DE VALIDATION DES PLANS DE GESTION ET DE ... (Approved)||1,037 USD|
|2018||Protection et mise en valeur du bien "Villes anciennes ... (Approved)||24,580 USD|
|2015||Protection des sites du patrimoine mondial de Djenné (Approved)||25,000 USD|
|2012||Assistance internationale d’urgence pour la protection ... (Approved)||21,600 USD|
|2007||Plan de gestion et de conservation des villes anciennes ... (Approved)||30,000 USD|
|1981||Provision of one expert and financial assistance for ... (Approved)||7,977 USD|
Missions to the property until 2019**
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 missions; April 2017: UNESCO Expert mission to assess the state of conservation of Mali's World Heritage properties
|2014||Mission de suivi réactif des Villes Anciennes de Djenné (Mali, 116 rev) 10 - 15 mars 2014|
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 31 January 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on the property, available at http://whh.unesco.org/en/list/116/documents/ providing the following information:
- Incivility of the population has decreased and good relations have been established between the Cultural Mission and the stakeholders with the involvement of the population in all the activities concerning the visits to inspect the state of the property with the Management Committee, local media and district Councilors;
- A partial census (March 2018) revealed that some people wished to take care of the maintenance of their own houses. In May 2018, an inventory carried out in all the districts enabled the identification of more than 2,000 houses having been plastered with banco by the owners themselves. In some districts, the population has established canalization channels to drain waste waters to the river, thus making the streets less muddy and access to some areas of the city easier;
- Raising awareness among young people, through youth meetings, has considerably reduced the graffiti on the houses;
- Many house owners refuse the restoration of the buildings, thinking that their maintenance is the responsibility of UNESCO and others, basing the upkeep of the monumental houses on availability of funds;
- International Assistance enabled the restoration of the Gartahou complex (the vestibule of the Maiga of the chieftaincy and the adjacent houses), six monumental houses and four mausoleums;
- Financial support from the Spanish Developing Cooperation Agency enabled the architectural diagnostic of the grand mosque and its solar electrification, improving the conditions of reception of the worshippers;
- In order to provide ownership rights, the official journal Essor, in its edition of 23 November 2018, published the notice requesting the registration of the four archaeological sites of Djenné (Djenné djeno, Hambarké Tolo, Kagnana and Tonomba);
- Laws governing the buffer zones for the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are being prepared;
- Strengthening of the mechanism to combat erosion by rain waters at the level of the mini-dams and the stone barrier continues;
- The antiquity of the water supply causes the degradation of the buildings (leaks and fissures, etc.);
- The project for the installation of pylons and communication relays in the old fabric of the town has been adjourned;
- In the face of requests for demolition and hard construction, attempted speculation or the obtaining of land titles of plots, the National Directorate of Cultural Heritage sent a letter to the Prefect and the Mayor, recalling the inalienable character of listed heritage;
- Recurring difficulties are:
- The collapse of houses during rain season,
- The abandon of houses due to inheritance issues,
- Increased plugging of houses in banco with cement,
- Proliferation of sheet or tin hangars in front of the shops used as reserves,
- The use of signs without authorization,
- Illegal excavations.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019
In reading the report submitted by the State Party and through the monitoring of the actions carried out by the UNESCO Office in Bamako, it emerges that of the 20 corrective measures, four have been accomplished, 12 are ongoing with two provisionally halted, and four others have not yet been addressed. No particular mention of the security situation is made; however, it remains a cause for concern and is volatile. The efforts deployed by the State Party are commendable in the light of this fragile situation, hindering the implementation of many activities.
The State Party places emphasis on the collaboration of the Cultural Mission with concerned parties and the involvement of the local population, which is fully welcomed. Support from the Management and Conservation Plan, adopted in 2018, has enabled awareness of the challenges facing heritage conservation or the clarification of the roles of the State Party and the partners, as well as increasing voluntary involvement and initiatives by the population in heritage management. The inventory and census work was particularly beneficial.
The restoration of several monumental houses with International Assistance is favourably welcomed. Financial support from the Spanish Developing Cooperation Agency enabling the architectural diagnostic of the Grand Mosque and providing it with electricity through the discrete installation of solar panels is also appreciated. Although these actions for improved reception facilities for the worshippers are recognized, their numbers are on the increase at prayer time, causing new pressure to the building. Adequate measures should be undertaken to absorb this increased number of people and avert possible impact on the mosque.
However, it appears that the intensification of the actions at the site and financial support from International Assistance, granted in 2018, and the Spanish Developing Cooperation Agency, have created a misunderstanding according to which all restoration and reconstruction was now the responsibility of UNESCO. This provoked the refusal to undertake such work and the claim of financial support for the work. It is therefore recommended that a maintenance handbook be prepared and the inventory work be continued, with a view to initiating a programme that would attract international support to enable the granting of subsidies to support restoration and reconstruction work of the dilapidated houses.
Despite increased mobilization of the population, major concerns remain regarding the built heritage, notably the collapse of houses, their abandon or increased plugging with cement.
It is also appreciated that the request for registration of the four archaeological sites of Djené has been published in the official journal Essor, in line with the corrective measure to provide ownership titles. On the other hand, the illegal excavations continue to threaten these sites. The sites need to be fenced in to control their access, and the work to update the maps to identify all their components needs to be resumed.
In spite of these efforts and progress noted, several measures still need to be taken. The Cultural Mission ensures commendable work in this context and enjoys a recognized authority, but its capacities still remain insufficient to carry out its mission. Efforts must therefore be continued, with the actors and concerned parties regularly collaborating with the Cultural Mission, to develop the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).
In view of this situation, it is recommended that the Committee decides to maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.53
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.13, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
- Congratulates the State Party for all the efforts undertaken to strengthen the conservation and management of the property placing emphasis on the full involvement of stakeholders and the local population, through visits to inspect the state of the property with the Management Committee, the media (local radio) and district Councellors, and awareness-raising measures with the local population, particularly the youth;
- Expresses its keen acknowledgement, notably of the population of Djenné for its willingness and mobilization in the conservation of its built heritage, demonstrated in the plastering, maintenance and drainage initiatives, and calls upon the State Party to continue awareness-raising activities, information and liability of house owners in order to clarify the roles of all concerned parties, including the State institutions and UNESCO, to avoid any misunderstanding and issues that might occur at the time of restoration interventions;
- Commends the restoration of several monumental houses thanks to the International Assistance, as well as the architectural diagnostic of the Great Mosque and the installation of new electrification with financial support from the Spanish Developing Cooperation Agency, but recommends the State Party to take adequate measures to absorb the increased number of worshippers during prayer times and avert any possible impact on the mosque;
- Also expresses its satisfaction on the census and inventory measures of the plaster- rendered houses, but remains concerned as regards the continuing threats to the built heritage, in particular the collapse of houses during the rainy season, their abandonment due to inheritance issues or the use of inappropriate material such as cement for the plugging of the houses of banco, and requests the State Party to continue the inventory work, notably for the abandoned houses;
- Also requests the State Party to prepare a maintenance handbook for the houses with a view to initiating a programme which will attract international support and enable the granting of subsidies for the restoration and reconstruction work of the houses in ruins on an fair basis;
- While appreciating the publication of the notice requesting the registration of the four archaeological sites of Djenné in the official journal Essor to provide ownership titles, expresses its concern with regard to the continued illegal excavations at these sites and also recommends that the State Party erects fencing to control access and avoid degradation caused by animals and people, and to resume the work of updating the maps to identify all their components;
- Notes that the capacities and the means of the Cultural Mission remain insufficient, and recalls to the State Party the importance of further strengthening these capacities, and to also develop, with support from the World Heritage Centre, the UNESCO Office at Bamako and the Advisory Bodies, including the actors and concerned parties regularly collaborating with the Cultural Mission, the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, 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 44th session in 2020;
- Decides to retain Old Towns of Djenné (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
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”).