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 missions; 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 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:

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

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.

Decision Adopted: 43 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/19/43.COM/7A, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3 and WHC/19/43.COM/7A.Add.3.Corr),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: