Unesco raises alarm: Venice risks inclusion in endangered sites

Unesco is sounding the alarm for Venice: Italy is doing little or nothing to spare it from degradation, and as a result is at serious risk of being placed on the World Heritage in Danger list.

Unesco is ready to put Venice on the World Heritage in Danger list if Italy does nothing to stop the degradation affecting it. That, in a nutshell, is the content of a recommendation by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which will meet in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in September, from the 10th to the 25th, to decide on new sites to be listed (there are 53 candidates for the new annual session), and on those to be put on the endangered list.

Venice, gripped by a host of problems ranging from mass tourism to the effects of climate change, is experiencing consequences that could cause it extremely serious damage: “the effects of continuing deterioration due to human intervention, including ongoing development, the impacts of climate change and mass tourism threaten to cause irreversible changes to the exceptional universal value of the site,” UNESCO lets it know.

“Some of these long-standing problems have already led to the deterioration of the intrinsic features of the site and its elements,” Unesco said, warning that urban development projects that include the construction of tall buildings are likely to “have significant negative visual impacts.”

“In addition, the combined effects of natural and human-induced changes are causing deterioration and damage to building structures and urban areas,” added the organization, which said there has been a lack of significant progress by Italy in addressing these problems and this has been further “hampered by the lack of a comprehensive common strategic vision.”

A draft resolution prepared for adoption by the World Heritage Committee says there has been “no significant level of progress in addressing persistent and complex issues,” and additional measures proposed by Italy are “still insufficient and need to be further developed.” At this point, UNESCO hopes that the listing of endangered sites, which at this point becomes imminent, “will result in greater dedication and mobilization of local, national and international stakeholders.”

Unesco raises alarm: Venice risks inclusion in endangered sites
Unesco raises alarm: Venice risks inclusion in endangered sites

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