"Rebuilding Timbuktu: The restoration of an intellectual and spiritual capital and its vital role in Mali's post-conflict recovery"
UNESCO in partnership with the European Union and other donors have embarked on an ambitious plan to reconstruct Timbuktu following the destruction inflicted on the iconic World Heritage Site during that country's recent conflict. UNESCO is supporting the government’s work in rehabilitating cultural heritage and safeguarding manuscripts in and around Timbuktu that were severely damaged in the conflict that took place in the country between 2012 and 2013. With 500,000 euros provided by the European Union, UNESCO will coordinate the reconstruction of destroyed mausoleums, the rehabilitation of mosques and private libraries, as well as ancient manuscript conservation projects. Local personnel will also be trained to ensure lasting preservation. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has said the work will "ensure that the people of Mali can reclaim heritage that is essential to their identity and that can contribute to reconciliation. This is vital for Mali and this is important for the rest of the world because World Heritage is common to all of."
The purpose of the Malian heritage reconstruction project is to support the government’s work in rehabilitating cultural heritage and safeguarding manuscripts in and around Timbuktu that were severely damaged in the conflict that took place in the country between 2012 and 2013. Fourteen of the 16 mausoleums of Timbuktu inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List were destroyed by armed groups during the conflict.
The manuscripts of Mali, constitute a unique documentary collection that bears testimony to the history of Africa and of humanity as a whole. Some of them date back to the 13th century. During the conflict, more than 4,000 of the 40,000 manuscripts kept at the Ahmed Baba Institute were lost. Some were burned or stolen, while more than 10,000 remain in a critical condition. Local communities secretly transferred more than 300,000 manuscripts to Bamako. They are now conserved in conditions that are not optimal for their safeguarding. The heritage programme will be led in cooperation with the Malian ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Scientific Research. UNESCO will also ensure the involvement of the communities concerned.