Paris – The UN’s cultural agency Unesco on Monday (July 31) recommended that Venice be added to its list of world heritage in danger, saying the Italian authorities needed to step up efforts to secure the historic city and its surrounding lagoon.
Unesco said in its recommendation that Venice risked “irreversible” damage due to a string of issues ranging from climate change to mass tourism. The recommendation will now go to a meeting of Unesco’s World Heritage Committee in Riyadh in September for adoption.
“The effects of the continuing deterioration due to human intervention, including continuing development, the impacts of climate change and mass tourism threaten to cause irreversible changes to the outstanding universal value of the property,” said Unesco.
“Some of these long-standing issues have already led to the deterioration of the inherent characteristics of the property and its attributes,” Unesco said, warning that developments including high rise buildings risk “having significant negative visual impact”.
“Moreover, the combined effects of human induced and natural changes are causing deterioration and damage to build structures and urban areas,” it added.
It said that overall, there was a “lack of significant progress” by Italy in addressing these issues and this was further “hindered by a lack of overall joint strategic vision”.
A draft resolution prepared for adoption by the World Heritage Committee said there had not been “a significant level of progress in addressing the persistent and complex issues” and added measures proposed by Italy were “still insufficient and need to be further developed”.
Unesco said it hoped inscription on the danger list “will result in greater dedication and mobilisation of local, national and international stakeholders.”
The World Heritage Committee, which oversees the awarding of the coveted World Heritage label to sites around the world, is due to meet in Riyadh from Sept. 10-25.
It is due to consider 53 new candidate sites for addition to the World Heritage List.
The “in danger” label aims to encourage the better preservation of the site for the future. In exceptional circumstances a site can be stripped of its World Heritage label if the steps are deemed unsatisfactory.
Top: Overcrowded Venice. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images and published by CNN
Insert: The overcrowded Grand Canal during the masquerade parade during Venice Carnival in February 2017. Photo: AFP/Getty Images and published by CNN
Front Page: Mass tourism is one of Venice’s problems, Unesco says. Photo: AFP/Andrea Pattaro and published by CNA