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Royal Palaces of Abomey

Benin
Factors affecting the property in 2008*
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Legal framework
  • Other Threats:

    Major deterioration of almost 50% of the earthen structural components;

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Absence of a national legislative mechanism for the protection of cultural heritage;

b) Major deterioration of almost 50% of the earthen structural components;

c) Lack of presentation and interpretation at the site.

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2008

Total amount provided to the property: USD 400,000 was granted by the Government of Japan in 1998 ; USD 50,000 granted in 2005 by the Riksantikvaren (Norwegian Cultural Heritage Directorate).

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2008
Requests approved: 5 (from 1985-1997)
Total amount approved : 113,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2008**

2004 and 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS missions; 2006: World Heritage Centre / CRATerre-ENSAG / Getty Conservation Institute monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

The report submitted by the State Party on 15 January 2008 provides information on progress achieved to date :

a) Finalisation of the legislative and administrative mechanism for the protection of cultural heritage and natural heritage of a cultural character in Benin:

The proposed Law transmitted to the National Assembly by Decree N° 2006-425 of 28 August 2006, was voted by the National Assembly on 17 August 2007 under the title « Law 2007-20 of 17 August 2007 concerning the protection of cultural heritage and natural heritage of a cultural character in the Republic of Benin ». Promulgation by the President of the Republic is still outstanding.

b) Progress in conservation work undertaken on the remaining components still under threat:

Safeguarding work continues at a steady pace since 2007. All the structural components for which safeguarding work has been undertaken are fully completed, totalling almost 80% of all the structural components safeguarded to date. Recent work is concentrated on the Houegbadja royal area, and this thanks to funding from the Federal Republic of Germany. The following reconstruction work has been carried out :

a) Four buildings in ruin (tassinoho, logodo accessing the inner courtyard of the Palace, logodo accessing the women’s courtyard, waiting room) ;

b) Three djeho (temples) spirit houses of the King, and the cabin of the guardian of the Adonon Tomb ;

c) More than 250 linear metres of surrounding wall.

The report indicates that drainage work for pluvial waters will also be carried out in this royal area.

Mention is also made of preparations for reconstruction work and presentation of the Agadja Royal area, work which will begin in April 2007, thanks to funding from the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Directorate, the city of Albi (France) in the framework of its decentralised cooperation with the city of Abomey, and the Public Investment Plan (PIP).

Finally, the report indicates that in the framework of the overall management for the World Heritage property, and in particular the improvement of its state of conservation, all maintenance work is documented by means of daily inspection forms, systematically filed. Studies are also being elaborated for landscape maintenance and interpretation for the property.

 

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note with satisfaction that the dynamic set in motion by the State Party for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger has continued without respite. However, they wish to draw the attention of the State Party to the risks of a systematic reconstruction of all the palaces that could, in the end, be negative to the outstanding universal value of the property and create management and conservation difficulties. This systematic reconstruction strategy, based on a reconstruction policy, should be examined by the Advisory Bodies, and included in the framework of a global reflection on the future reuse of the palaces and their capacity to generate income to cover their permanent daily maintenance.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2008
32 COM 7B.45
Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin) (C 323)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.14, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes with satisfaction that the safeguarding work for the totality of the structural elements of the property has been progressing since July 2007 in the framework of the implementation of the 2007-2011 management plan;

4. Draws the attention of the State Party to the need to integrate its entire reconstruction activities concerning the royal areas in the framework of a global reflection on their future reuse and their capacity to generate income to cover their daily maintenance;

5. Requests the State Party to submit, no later than 31 October 2008, a reconstruction policy document for the palaces, that takes into consideration the objectives of the management and conservation plan, for examination by ICOMOS, ICCROM and the World Heritage Centre;

6. Encourages the State Party to pursue its funding strategy for conservation activities and presentation of the property thanks to income generated by the entrance fees to the property;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, no later than 1 February 2010, a report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.

Draft Decision : 32 COM 7B.45

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7A.14, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes with satisfaction that the safeguarding work for the totality of the structural elements of the property has been progressing since July 2007 in the framework of the implementation of the 2007-2011 management plan ;

4. Draws the attention of the State Party of the need to integrate its entire reconstruction activities concerning the royal areas in the framework of a global reflection on their future reuse and their capacity to generate income to cover their daily maintenance ;

5. Requests the State Party to submit, no later than 31 October 2008, a reconstruction policy document for the palaces, that takes into consideration the objectives of the management and conservation plan, for examination by ICOMOS, ICCROM and World Heritage Centre;

6. Encourages the State Party to pursue its funding strategy for conservation activities and presentation of the property thanks to income generated by the entrance fees to the property;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, no later than 1 February 2010, a report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.

 

Report year: 2008
Benin
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 1985-2007
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 32COM (2008)
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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