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Decision 33 COM 8B.6
Natural properties - Properties deferred or referred back by previous sessions of the World Heritage Committee - The Dolomites (Italy)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-09/33.COM/8B and WHC-09/33.COM/INF.8B2,

2. Inscribes The Dolomites, Italy, on the World Heritage List on the basis of natural criteria (vii) and (viii);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief Synthesis

The nine components of The Dolomites World Heritage property protect a series of highly distinctive mountain landscapes that are of exceptional natural beauty. Their dramatic vertical and pale coloured peaks in a variety of distinctive sculptural forms is extraordinary in a global context. This property also contains an internationally important combination of earth science values. The quantity and concentration of highly varied limestone formations is extraordinary in a global context, whilst the superbly exposed geology provides an insight into the recovery of marine life in the Triassic period, after the greatest extinction event recorded in the history of life on Earth. The sublime, monumental and colourful landscapes of the Dolomites have also long attracted hosts of travellers and a history of scientific and artistic interpretations of its values.

Criterion (vii): The Dolomites are widely regarded as being among the most attractive mountain landscapes in the world. Their intrinsic beauty derives from a variety of spectacular vertical forms such as pinnacles, spires and towers, with contrasting horizontal surfaces including ledges, crags and plateaux, all of which rise abruptly above extensive talus deposits and more gentle foothills. A great diversity of colours is provided by the contrasts between the bare pale-coloured rock surfaces and the forests and meadows below. The mountains rise as peaks with intervening ravines, in some places standing isolated but in others forming sweeping panoramas. Some of the rock cliffs here rise more than 1,500 m and are among the highest limestone walls found anywhere in the world. The distinctive scenery of the Dolomites has become the archetype of a "dolomitic landscape". Geologist pioneers were the first to be captured by the beauty of the mountains, and their writing and subsequent painting and photography further underline the aesthetic appeal of the property.

Criterion (viii): The Dolomites are of international significance for geomorphology, as the classic site for the development of mountains in dolomitic limestone. The area presents a wide range of landforms related to erosion, tectonism and glaciation. The quantity and concentration of extremely varied limestone formations is extraordinary in a global context, including peaks, towers, pinnacles and some of the highest vertical rock walls in the world. The geological values are also of international significance, notably the evidence of Mesozoic carbonate platforms, or "fossilized atolls", particularly in terms of the evidence they provide of the evolution of the bio-constructors after the Permian/Triassic boundary, and the preservation of the relationships between the reefs they constructed and their surrounding basins. The Dolomites also include several internationally important type sections for the stratigraphy of the Triassic Period. The scientific values of the property are also supported by the evidence of a long history of study and recognition at the international level. Taken together, the combination of geomorphological and geological values creates a property of global significance.


The nine component parts that make up the property include all areas that are essential for maintaining the beauty of the property and all or most of the key interrelated and interdependent earth science elements in their natural relationships. The property comprises parts of a national park, several provincial nature parks and Natura 2000 sites, and a natural monument. Buffer zones have been defined for each component part to help to protect it from threats from outside its boundaries. The natural landscapes and processes that are essential to maintaining the property's values and integrity are in a good state of conservation and largely unaffected by development.

Management and protection requirements

As a serial property, the Dolomites require an adequately resourced, inter-provincial governance arrangement that ensures all five provinces with territory in the property are bound together within a common management system, and with an agreed joint management strategy and a monitoring and reporting framework for the property as a whole. Common policies and programmes for the management of public use and the presentation of the property are also required for the property and its buffer zones. The property requires protection from tourism pressures and related infrastructure.

Each of the component parts of the serial property requires its own individual management plan, providing not only for the protection and management of land use, but also the regulation and management of human activities to maintain its values, and in particular to preserve the qualities of its natural landscapes and processes, including extensive areas which still have wilderness character. Areas that are subject to more intensive visitation need to be managed to ensure visitor numbers and activities are within the capacity of the property in relation to the protection of both its values and the experience of visitors to the property. Adequate resources and staffing, and coordination between the staff teams in the different components of the property are also essential.

4. Notes that the decision to inscribe the property is made on the understanding that the State Party is in agreement with the following requests of the Committee, which should be implemented prior to the 35th session of the Committee in 2011 in order to address fully the requirements of the Operational Guidelines:

a) That the anticipated inter-provincial foundation: "Dolomiti - Dolomiten - Dolomitis - Dolomites UNESCO" is established following the inscription of the property and provided with the budget indicated by the State Party;

b) That an action-oriented overall management strategy for the whole of the serial property is developed, in consultation with the full range of relevant stakeholders, to establish:

(i) governance arrangements for the effective management of the property;

(ii) operational management actions, in relation to key themes specific to the nominated World Heritage property and the criteria for which it is inscribed;

(iii) monitoring and reporting on the State of Conservation of the property as a whole and the management effectiveness of the property and,

(iv) practical options to achieve the financial sustainability for conserving and managing the property;

c) That complete individual management plans for each one of the component parts of the serial property are completed, to ensure consistent and effective delivery of the overall framework, as well as effective local management of conservation and use appropriate to the component part in question;

d) That a comprehensive strategy for sustainable tourism and visitor use covering the property, its buffer zones and considering appropriate links to the wider region is developed, in order to fully consider the requirements for maintaining the Outstanding Universal Value and conditions of integrity of the property under the scenario of expected increase in visitation after the inscription. This strategy should aim to manage visitor levels in areas already at or over capacity, to prohibit intensification of infrastructure or inappropriate uses that could impact the values of the property, and to ensure effective presentation and tourism benefits compatible with the long-term conservation of the property;

5. Commends the State Party for the considerable efforts in implementing previous recommendations regarding the establishment of an appropriate serial property and for the measures taken to establish overall management arrangements for the property, and also takes note of the presentation of the different component parts in relation to the values of the property as a whole as an example of good practice;

6. Requests the State Party to invite a mission to the property in 2011 to assess progress with the implementation of the overall management framework and governance for the property, the establishment of management plans for the different component parts of the property, and the establishment of a tourism strategy, in order to allow the World Heritage Committee to assess the progress that has been made in relation to its requests noted above.

Decision Code
33 COM 8B.6
Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties 1
Properties 1
Final Decisions of the 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee (Seville, 2009)
Context of Decision