Sorry, Italian officials. We are on the side of UNESCO on this point. Venice faces long-standing but pressing problems, such as overtourism and climate change. This global jewel needs a coordinated strategic vision for its preservation.
A UNESCO committee has decided not to add Venice to the organization’s List of World Heritage in Danger, regardless an expert recommendation and sparing the Italian government an embarrassing verdict on the state of the city.
“The World Heritage Committee… has taken the decision not to include Venice and its lagoon on the List of World Heritage in Danger”, UNESCO, the cultural agency of the United Nationssaid in a statement as the committee met in Riyadh.
Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said adding Venice to the list would have been an “undue decision” not based on objective facts. “Venice is therefore not in danger,” he said in a statement.
Venice, known for its canals and cultural sites, has long been threatened by flooding and mass tourism.
Sangiuliano said UNESCO had positively assessed Italian attempts to address these issues through the MOSE anti-flood system and through the recent approval of an entrance fee for touristswhich will come into force next year.
However, UNESCO said more efforts were needed to protect the fragile lagoon city.
“The Committee reiterated its concerns regarding the important issues that remain to be resolved for the proper conservation of the site, including those related to mass tourism, development projects and climate change,” it said.
(Reporting by Angelo Amante in Rome and John Irish in Paris; editing by Alvise Armellini and David Holmes)