Venice is on the endangered list, but the impact is criticized

To protect the fragile ecosystem and its amazing architecture, Venice has taken bold steps. In recent years, the city has banned cruise ships from entering its lagoon and built walls to prevent high tides.

Even so, the city remains seriously threatened, as experts from HIM this week.

The UN cultural agency, the Unesco, proposed in a document made public on Monday 31, the inclusion of Venice and its lagoon in the list of World Heritage in Danger. The document says the city has not made sufficient progress in preventing damage caused by mass tourism, climate change and development projects, adding that the remedial measures proposed by Italy “remain insufficient”.

The Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy on July 5, 2022. A former government minister said the city was “fragile” but is now well placed to meet its challenges. Photo: Laetitia Vancon / NYT

Some prominent Venetians disagreed with UNESCO’s criticism. Renato Brunetta, a former government minister who now heads a foundation that aims to make Venice the sustainability capital of the world, said the city was better equipped than most places to face today’s challenges thanks to initiatives including sea walls and banning cruise ships.

“Venice was a more fragile city than the others,” he said. “Paradoxically, now she is the safest.” He warned that the agency’s recommendation to divert large ships to other ports would harm the city’s livelihood.

The Office of the Mayor of Venice and its Ministry of Culture Italy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Climate activists said Venice and Italy should not miss this opportunity to protect the city.

The UNESCO list, which includes 55 endangered sites from Jerusalem’s Old City to Timbuktu, is meant to encourage conservation, according to the organization. Listing a site obliges the United Nations to develop a corrective action plan with national authorities and then monitor implementation.

Crowds on the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy on August 9, 2022. Photo: Francesca Volpi / NYT

UNESCO’s recommendation is not yet final: It will be voted on next month by the World Heritage Committeeconsisting of 21 member states, including Italy.

Venice has been near the endangered list in the past.

In 2019, UNESCO warned the city of “damage caused by a constant flow of cruise ships,” and in 2021, the government banned ships to avoid what it called a “real risk” of the city being designated a World Heritage Site. in danger.

A new system of sea walls came into operation in 2020 and has already protected Venice from dozens of high tides that have flooded the city and eroded ancient buildings.

However, UNESCO said this week that the seawall system was not complete and needed modernization and maintenance. The agency acknowledged that projects are planned or underway to improve the lagoon’s ecosystem, but added that work must continue on measures to mitigate environmental damage resulting from sea walls.

A test of the sea barrier system in Venice in 2022. Photo: Laetitia Vancon / NYT

Modeling and preventing the effects of climate change would also be needed as tides in Venice become more frequent, UNESCO said.

The agency said Italy had not responded to its invitation to cooperate on the remedies it had previously requested.

He also urged the authorities to reduce pollution in the nearby industrial port of Marghera.

In previous years, Venice has implemented technological tools to monitor and control the flow of tourists and has promised a ticket reservation system for visits to the city. This idea met with strong backlash from many residents and has yet to materialize.

Brunetta, the former minister, recalls that when he was young, he used to help his father sell figurines from a gondola near the train station in Venice. While the city suffers from over-tourism, it also needs tourists to survive, he added.

“Tourism has always been the soul of Venice,” he said.

#Venice #endangered #list #impact #criticized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *