Emergency actions in Mali

Minaret of the Djingarey Ber Mosque seen from the Northern entrance, Timbuctu, Mali, 2003 ©T. Joffroy /CRATerre-EAG

In response to the conflict taking place in the northern regions of Mali since April 2012, UNESCO, in collaboration with the National Directorate of Cultural Heritage in Mali and the International Centre for Earthen Architecture (CRAterre), has produced two publications on the cultural heritage of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. The first is an illustrated map with detailed texts in two formats (A3-doublesided and poster versions). The second publication is a brochure entitled "Passeport pour le patrimoine” (Heritage Passport). Available in French, they provide detailed information on the location and the importance of cultural sites in the northern region of Mali. They were developed to raise awareness among the armed forces, NGOs, the international community and local communities about the importance of safeguarding these heritage sites.

During a World Heritage Centre mission to Bamako in December 2012, UNESCO distributed these new information materials to military and humanitarian organizations in Mali. They are currently being distributed to all countries involved in the military operation underway in Mali since the beginning of 2013.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova announced on January 30 that UNESCO will do everything possible to safeguard and rebuild Mali’s extraordinary cultural heritage, which she described as “a vital part of the country’s identity and history and fundamental for its future. Its restoration and reconstruction will give the people of Mali the strength and the confidence to rebuild national unity and look to the future.”

Aditionally, on the second February, the Director-General is visited Mali with French President François Hollande, with the goal to launch the assessment of the state of Mali’s cultural heritage and manuscripts after the recent fighting and tensions and to define a plan of action with the Government of Mali that will guide UNESCO’s support to its reconstruction and safeguarding.

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