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UNESCO Recommends Venice to be Inscribed on the World Heritage Endangered List

PARIS, JULY 31 – UNESCO has once again recommended the inclusion of Venice on the list of endangered world heritage sites. The World Heritage organization noteds that “ongoing development, the impacts of climate change, and mass tourism risk causing irreversible changes to Venice’s exceptional universal value.” As a result, UNESCO “recommends the inscription of Venice on the list of endangered world heritage sites.”

Two years ago a similar request for inclusion was narrowly avoided by a series of measures adopted to preserve the city, especially after the record-high water levels reached in 2019. In just one week, between November 12 and 17, the tide exceeded 140 cm four times. Among the new measures was the activation of the mobile dam system “Mose”, but the environmental impact report is still pending. In the meanwhile the government decided to ban large ships from entering the San Marco Canal, and there was a promise to launch an ambitious conservation plan for the city on the Lagoon.

However, according to UNESCO, these measures have been insufficient to combat the deterioration of the situation, particularly due to mass tourism that overwhelms the city and climate change.

The World Heritage Centre believes that tall buildings that can “have a significant negative visual impact” on the city should be risen far from the center of Venice. Meanwhile, rising sea levels and other extreme weather phenomena linked to climate change “threaten the integrity” of the site. According to UNESCO experts, the resolution of these “long-standing but urgent” issues is “hampered by the lack of a common global strategic vision” as well as “poor effectiveness and coordination” between local and national authorities in Italy.

Experts consider that Venice is facing a “real risk,” and therefore, they recommended including the city in the black list of “endangered world heritage,” hoping that “this inscription will prompt stronger commitment and broader mobilization of local, national, and international actors.”

At the moment, UNESCO’s opinion, which considers the measures taken by Italy “insufficient,” is just a proposal. For Venice to truly be added to the list of endangered world heritage sites, the approval of the member states convened for a meeting of the World Heritage Committee scheduled from September 10 to 25 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will be required.

Founded in the 5th century and later becoming one of the world’s major maritime powers – a cradle of arts and commerce – Venice sprawls across 118 islands. It became part of UNESCO’s World Heritage in 1987. “Venice as a whole is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece because even the smallest monument contains works by some of the greatest artists in the world, such as Giorgione, Tiziano, Tintoretto, Veronese, and others,” explains the UN body in a statement. Due to its exceptional and unique conditions, it is both one of the most visited cities and one of the most fragile on the planet. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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