State of Conservation
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
- Deliberate destruction of heritage
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Occupation of the property by armed groups
- Lack of management structure at the site
- Armed conflict
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
- Occupation of the property by armed groups
- Absence of management
- Destruction of 14 mausoleums and degradation of the three mosques in the serial property
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 https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6622
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019
Total amount granted: USD 100,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust; USD 55,000 from the UNESCO Emergency Fund; USD 2,100,000 from the Action plan Fund for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of ancient manuscripts in Mali
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 8
Total amount approved : 189,352 USD
|2018||RÉUNION DE VALIDATION DES PLANS DE GESTION ET DE ... (Approved)||1,037 USD|
|2012||Assistance internationale d’urgence pour la protection ... (Approved)||24,200 USD|
|2004||Emergency Assistance request for Timbuktu (three main ... (Approved)||50,000 USD|
|1995||Second phase of the pilot project for the conservation ... (Approved)||40,000 USD|
|1994||Safeguarding of 3 mosques in Timbuktu (Sankore, ... (Approved)||15,500 USD|
|1990||Timbuktu: consolidation of the Djingareiber mosque and ... (Approved)||45,138 USD|
|1989||Mission for the preparation of a proposal for putting ... (Approved)||5,500 USD|
|1981||Provision of one expert and financial assistance for ... (Approved)||7,977 USD|
Missions to the property until 2019**
2002, 2004, 2005, 2006: World Heritage Centre missions; 2008, 2009 and 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; May, October and December 2012: UNESCO emergency missions to Mali; June 2013: UNESCO assessment mission to Timbuktu; April 2017: UNESCO Expert mission to assess the state of conservation of Mali's World Heritage properties
|2008||Rapport de la mission conjointe de suivi réactif ICOMOS-UNESCO/WHC à Tombouctou (Mali), 10 - 17 juin 2008|
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 31 January 2019, in response to Decision 42 COM 7A.14, the State Party submitted a state of conservation of the property, available at the address http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/documents/, which contained the following information:
- In the framework of the State Party’s Action Plan for Phase II of the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts (2017-2021), the programme funded by the European Union enabled the execution of the conservation work at the site with the following results:
- Completion of rehabilitation work, in particular of the main minaret of the mosque of Sidi Yahia; the enclosures of the Alpha Moya and Three Saints cemeteries, containing four mausoleums; buildings of the Municipal Museum and the Al Mansur Korey Museum, and the setting up of new exhibitions and development of reserves;
- Plastering of the Sankoré Mosque (November 2018);
- Completion of the reconstruction of the Al Farouk monument and the ongoing development of the Place de l’independence;
- Development of a green area around the Djingareyber Mosque to retain the silting, with support from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission of Mali (MINUSMA);
- Establishment of a fencing in local material for the Governorate (MINUSMA funding);
- The digitization of the manuscripts in three libraries, directly attached to the three listed mosques, is ongoing;
- Consultations and awareness-raising actions have been undertaken with civil society and the Town and regional authorities for the rehabilitation and management of the property.
- Several difficulties and challenges are encountered, including some earlier problems, such as:
- The continuing precarious security situation;
- Insufficient intervention capacities and operational budget, and antiquated office equipment of the Cultural Mission;
- Vibrations caused by the passage of heavy military equipment in the vicinity of some buildings, in particular the Djingareyber Mosque, are a potential threat;
- Illegal installations (containers, houses of sheet metal) and the deposit of rubbish in the old urban fabric have a visual and environmental negative impact on the site. The consequent blocking of the accesses to the mosques and mausoleums can represent a danger and prevent any intervention in the event of an emergency. A letter raising this issue was sent by the Cultural Mission to the Town authorities but remains without response;
- The municipality is unable to ensure the management of the cemeteries containing the mausoleums: it is responsible for ensuring maintenance and providing guards. The mausoleums are vulnerable to the deposit of rubbish and the risk of looting and acts of vandalism;
- Silting around Sankoré and the cemeteries containing the mausoleums is worsening;
- Following heavy rains in 2018, the Djingareyber Mosque and the mausoleums have not benefited from conservation work and are extremely dilapidated.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019
The progress achieved by the State Party in the rehabilitation, conservation and management of the property and in the implementation of the corrective measures is favourably welcomed. As is the continued support by the principal partners, notably the European Union (EU), and the MINUSMA, in the implementation of the Action Plan of Phase II for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts. The compelling results bear witness to the efficacy of this mobilization by the State Party and the international community, in particular the interventions, among others, on the Al Farouk monument, the Sidi Yahia and Sankoré Mosques, the cemeteries containing the mausoleums of the saints, the local museums and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts.
All these actions have in fact enabled the consideration, in a concrete and perceptive manner, of cultural heritage in all its facets, thus also accentuating its enhancement by and for the local community.
However, an important number of recurring issues need to be further attended to. This is not entirely explained by the still unstable security situation, and which represents a major obstacle to the efforts deployed for the implementation of the corrective measures.
Thus, the Cultural Mission continues to face a lack of staff, sufficient operating budget and office equipment for it to ensure the efficient management of the property, particularly the implementation of the 2018-2022 Management and Conservation Plan. To this, according to the State Party, is added the disinterest and inaction of the municipal and regional authorities, despite an important awareness-raising action and lobbying with the Town authorities, the district chiefs, the Prefect and the Governor of the region.
Consequently, the property suffers in synergy of action on the part of all these actors. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its recommendations to the State Party to increase the financial, logistical and human resources of the Cultural Mission, and strengthen the awareness-raising and consultative actions to stimulate interest, interaction and coordination of the actors at every institutional level.
In regard to the implementation of the Plan for protection and maintenance for collective repair works of the victims of Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi, author of the destruction of the Timbuktu mausoleums and the secret door of the Sidi Yahia Mosque, it is commendable that the Fund of the International Criminal Court (CCI) for victims has initiated consultations with the local civil society, the management committees of the Sankoré and Djingareybar Mosques and those responsible for the mausoleums, proposing to foresee collective repair work, including a strengthening of the operational and logistical capacities of the Cultural Mission.
With regard to the components of the property, it is noted that the Djingareybar Mosque and the mausoleums did not benefit from conservation work due to heavy rains. The vibrations caused by the passage of heavy military equipment remains worrisome and the Committee could reiterate its request to the State Party to study, together with the MINUSMA, options for the redirection of traffic in the vicinity of the buildings concerned to mitigate these effects.
In addition, pollution of the ancient fabric of the town and the cemeteries by illegal installations and rubbish, while having a negative visual and environmental impact, can also prevent access to the mosques and mausoleums in the case of emergency, as indicated by the Regional Directorate for Civil Protection. It is therefore recommended that the State Party call upon the municipal and regional authorities to resolve this situation.
Other recurring challenges concern the security of the cemeteries containing the mausoleums, silting or also improvement in the reception of the faithful attending the mosques. As proposed by the State Party, it would appear useful to foresee future measures, such as solar-powered electricity of the Djingareyar and Sankoré mosques, the creation of maintenance funds for the mausoleums, support for the masons’ corporation and the continued strengthening of the enclosures of the cemeteries. In respect of all these activities, it is recommended that the Committee renew its appeal to the entire international community to support the efforts of the State Party and contribute to the implementation of Phase II of the Action Plan for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts.
Taking account of all these comments, it is recommended that the Committee maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7A.54
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 42 COM 7A.29, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
- Notes with satisfaction the continued progress accomplished by the State Party in the rehabilitation, conservation and management of the property and in the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the Committee (Decision 40 COM 7A.6);
- Commends the support of the principal partners, notably the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), in the implementation of Phase II of the Action Plan for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts of Mali, enabling the intervention, among others, of the Al Farouk monument, the Sidi Yahia and Sankoré Mosques, the cemeteries containing mausoleums of the saints, the local museums and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts;
- Notes with satisfaction the organization of consultation and awareness-raising meetings with the town authorities, district chiefs, Prefect and the Governor of the region and civil society, but expresses its concern as regards the lack of synergy of action of all the concerned and necessary actors;
- Is concerned about the lack of sufficient staff, operating budget and office equipment of the Cultural Mission that curbs the efficient management of the property, in particular the implementation of the 2018-2022 Management and Conservation Plan, and reiterates its encouragements to the State Party to increase financial, logistical and human resources of the Cultural Mission, to enable the strengthening of awareness-raising and consultation actions to revitalize interest, interaction and coordination of the actors at all institutional levels;
- Is concerned by the state of conservation of some components of the property, such as the Djingareyber Mosque and the mausoleums which have not benefited from conservation work due to heavy rains during the winter, as well as vibrations caused by the passage of heavy military vehicles, particularly threatening the Djingareyber Mosque, and reiterates its request to the State Party to study, in consultation with the MINUSMA, options to redirect traffic in the vicinity of the buildings concerned to mitigate these effects;
- Urges the State Party to undertake adequate measures, in close cooperation with all the municipal and regional authorities, to prevent the illegal installation of containers or sheet metal constructions, and to combat the pollution by rubbish of the ancient fabric of the town and the cemeteries, constituting a possible negative visual and environmental impact and thus threatening the property and preventing access to the mosques and mausoleums in the event of an emergency;
- In respect of the necessary conservation, awareness-raising and enhancement actions, renews its appeal to the whole international community to support the efforts of the State Party and contribute to the implementation of Phase II of the Action Plan for the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts;
- 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 pursue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
- Also decides to retain Timbuktu (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”).