State of Conservation
Tomb of Askia
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
- Deliberate destruction of heritage
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of site management
- Armed conflict
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
- Occupation of Gao city by armed groups
- Inability to ensure daily management in the protection and conservation of the property
- Risk of collapse of the 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/6623
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021
Total amount granted: UNESCO Emergency Fund: USD 40,000; Action Plan for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of ancient manuscripts in Mali: USD 50,000; USD 500,000 funded by the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) for the rehabilitation of the property.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 4
Total amount approved : 79,822 USD
|2018||RÉUNION DE VALIDATION DES PLANS DE GESTION ET DE ... (Approved)||1,037 USD|
|2018||Restauration et mise en valeur du Tombeau des Askia à ... (Approved)||24,585 USD|
|2012||Assistance internationale d’urgence pour la protection ... (Approved)||24,200 USD|
|2000||Préparation d'un dossier d'inscription pour le Tombeau ... (Approved)||30,000 USD|
Missions to the property until 2021**
May 2012: Emergency UNESCO mission to Bamako; October and December 2012: World Heritage Centre monitoring missions to Bamako; February 2014: UNESCO assessment mission to Gao; April 2017: UNESCO Expert mission to assess the state of conservation of Mali's World Heritage properties
|2014||Report on the Joint UNESCO- Mali assessment mission, Tomb of Askia|
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021
On 28 January 2020, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on the property (available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1139/documents/, providing the following information in response to Committee Decision 43 COM 7A.55:
- The International Assistance granted in 2018 has enabled the execution of restoration work at the property, replacing and abandoning the eucalyptus poles by hasu poles on the central tower and around the property, and the repair of the roof of the men’s prayer room. Regeneration of hasu plants to respond to the lack of poles required for the conservation of the property has been launched;
- The fine layer of sand in the prayer room has enabled the consolidation of the mechanism installed to combat water erosion;
- Awareness has been raised through radio programmes and exchanges at the work site and has contributed towards a better comprehension of the restoration work and mobilized the local communities to safeguard the property;
- A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry for Culture and ALIPH was signed on 19 December 2019 concerning the rehabilitation project of the property, the granting of equipment and strengthening of the property funded by the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH). A grant agreement between ALIPH and the National Directorate for Cultural Heritage (DNPC) was signed on 9 January 2020 and a Pilot Committee for the Project was established in January 2020, following a launch ceremony celebrated on 11 March 2020;
- The Memorandum of Understanding, signed in November 2018 by the State Party with the Italian Organization Archi-Media-Truste-Onlus, enabled the development and submission of three projects to different partners (MINUSMA, African World Heritage Fund, ALIPH). These projects aimed to better manage and conserve the property, to document and rehabilitate some historic graves of the Necropolis, and promote culture for the maintenance of peace;
- The Blue Shield International Committee has been approached regarding the creation of a Blue Shield National Committee in Mali to strengthen the capacities of the cultural heritage managers and the protection of all the cultural properties in Mali;
- A new risk is the possible occupation of the buffer zone by the neighbouring population;
- The development of two parking areas, in front of the main gate of the property and behind the road, is envisaged;
- The major problem remains insecurity.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021
The progress achieved by the State Party for the conservation of the property is commendable, notably thanks to International Assistance, enabling important actions to be implemented for the repair of the roof of the men’s prayer room, the reduction of water erosion, and the plantation of hasu trees. The immediate reaction of the Cultural Mission of Gao in response to the request of the Committee in 2019 to avoid planting eucalyptus trees within the property, which would have been likely to weaken it, and replacing them with hasu trees, should be appreciated, as it demonstrates efficient communication between the different stakeholders.
Support efforts on the part of the State Party, particularly through the Cultural Mission, to establish partnerships such as the one signed with the Italian Archi-Media-Truste-Onlus Organization that mobilizes funds from various donors such as MINUSMA, African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), ALIPH, and the Blue Shield International Committee in order to strengthen local capacities for an improved conservation and management of the property, document its components, and thus contribute towards future conservation measures, should also be applauded. The State Party has also submitted a rehabilitation project for the property funded by ALIPH to an amount of 500,000 US dollars. It is noted and appreciated that the project objectives aim to achieve significant progress in accomplishing at least six corrective measures (out of nine) with a considerable positive impact on conservation, management, and the use and knowledge of the property. However, it is recommended that the Committee encourages the State Party to cooperate with the different partners and donors concerning the projects developed for the mobilization of funds to ensure greater coherence between the actions proposed and to establish a consultation between these partners for efficient follow-up.
The details submitted with regard to the ALIPH project in response to the Committee request and the information that work should begin in February-March 2020 has been noted. A meeting was organized by the World Heritage Centre with the State Party, the partner CRAterre, ICOMOS, ICCROM, and the Bamako Bureau in order to clarify certain points of concern, notably relating to the projects to lighten the roof of the men’s mosque and the creation of a new covering structure. This meeting provided improved understanding of the nature of interventions and agreement on future information sharing, to be facilitated by the UNESCO Bureau in Bamako, which is a member of the Pilot Committee for the project.
Nevertheless, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed with regard to the development of two parking areas foreseen in front of the main gate of the property and behind the road. This project should be submitted for examination by the Advisory Bodies before the work begins to ensure that these projects do not affect the integrity and authenticity of the property.
In addition, in January 2021, the State Party informed the World Heritage Centre of a project to build a water tower near the Tomb of Askia, acknowledging that the place intended for this construction would not be visually harmonious with the architectural environment, would likely alter the authenticity of the property and would be incompatible with the interpretation and the historical, cultural and aesthetic values of the property as well as with national legislation. In response to a letter sent to the State Party on 1st February 2021 requesting to suspend the implementation of this project, the State Party responded by letter dated 1st April 2021 confirming the abandonment of this project, pending the identification of a more suitable alternative location for the water tower, which is noted with satisfaction. A new site for this project will therefore have to be designated outside the property and its buffer zone, and the State Party should be requested to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of this project with details of its new location and possible connection works to the city’s drinking water network. This would allow the Advisory Bodies to determine, if applicable, whether the works could affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.
The actions carried out to inform and raise awareness in the local community on current and future activities, through messages broadcasted by radio, further motivate their involvement in the safeguarding and promotion actions and are to be applauded. However, the State Party should be encouraged to strengthen its information campaigns in order to alert the local community of certain risks, such as the possible impacts of illegal occupation of the buffer zone by the population.
Progress on the corrective measures could already contribute towards establishing the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) that still remains to be prepared. In this respect, the World Heritage Centre has committed funds from the World Heritage Fund and has developed a distance support capacity-building programme to develop the DSOCR for each of the three Malian properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. This programme is expected to begin in 2020.
In view of the particularly precarious security situation in Mali, it is recommended that the Committee decide to maintain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and to continue the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7A.3
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC21/44.COM/7A,
- Recalling Decision 43 COM 7A.55, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
- Expresses its satisfaction with the important actions undertaken by the State Party for the repair of the roof of the men’s prayer room, the decrease in water erosion, and the plantation of hasu trees, particularly congratulates the Cultural Mission and the local stakeholders concerned for having decided to renounce replacing the hasu plantation with eucalyptus plants following a fruitful communication between the parties;
- Also congratulates the State Party for supporting efforts to establish partnerships and mobilize funds from the various donors such as MINUSMA, the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) and the Blue Shield International Committee, and for strengthening local capacities for an improved conservation and management of the property;
- Further congratulates the State Party for the recent launching of the rehabilitation project for the property with funding from the International Alliance for Heritage Protection in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), for the exchange of information between all the parties clarifying the issues of concern regarding the planned interventions, and requests the State Party to submit detailed documentation at every stage of the project to constitute archives on the work to be accomplished;
- Also requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible, with the detailed plans of the development project for the two parking areas in front of the main gate of the property and behind the road for examination by the Advisory Bodies before work begins, in order to ensure that these projects do not affect the integrity and authenticity of the property;
- Notes with satisfaction that the project to build a water tower near the property, which could negatively impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, has been abandoned, and requests the State Party to identify an alternative location more appropriate for this water tower outside the property and its buffer zone, and to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of the revised project with details of its new location and possible works to connect to the drinking water network of the city, in order to allow the Advisory Bodies to determine, if necessary, if the works could affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
- Encourages the State Party to share the different projects developed with the diverse partners and donors in order to mobilize funds and ensure greater coherence between the proposed actions and establish a consultation mechanism between these partners for efficient monitoring;
- Further requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with plans for the development of two car parks planned in front of the main gate of the site and behind the road for examination by the Advisory Bodies, before the start of works, in order to ensure that these projects do not affect the integrity and authenticity of the property.
- Notes with satisfaction the actions to inform and raise awareness in the local community regarding the activities undertaken and to further motivate it to become more involved in safeguarding and promotional activities, and also encourages the State Party to reinforce these information campaigns to alert the local community of certain risks, such as the possible impacts of illegal occupation of the buffer zone by the population;
- Also expresses its satisfaction regarding the establishment of funds for a distance support capacity-building programme to prepare the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session in 2022;
- Decides to maintain the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property;
- Also decides to retain Tomb of Askia (Mali) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
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”).