UNESCO Director-General receives the Mayor of Venice
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, received the Mayor of Venice, Mr. Luigi Brugnaro, at UNESCO Headquarters, in the presence of representatives of the Italian government, to discuss the protection of the city of Venice and its Lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
This meeting follows the Director-General's visit to Venice on 3 and 4 November 2016, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Venice flood.
The discussion focused on measures taken by the Italian authorities and the Municipality of Venice to ensure the long-term protection of the site. The meeting of the World Heritage Committee in July 2016 made a number of recommendations and asked that Italy report on its actions before 1 February 2017.
The Italian authorities reaffirmed their total commitment to respond to the concerns raised by the World Heritage Committee in July 2016 regarding the preservation of the city of Venice. This commitment resulted in the adoption of a new "Pact for Venice", signed on 26 November last, planning for the investment of some 457 million Euros in preservation initiatives in the city and its lagoon over the next four years. In addition, as part of the National Strategic Plan for the Development of Tourism presented by the Ministry of Cultural Activities and Tourism on 16 December last, the objective of which is to put sustainable tourism at the center of national policies, a specific pilot action is planned to monitor and manage tourist flows in Venice.
"Venice is a shared heritage of outstanding universal value. Working hand-in-hand, UNESCO with the Government, the Municipality, and all stakeholders, is the only way forward. This morning the mayor of Venice presented to me in detail the great number of measures taken and the concrete projects that he intends to carry out. I understand the strength of the commitment jointly led by the municipality and the Government -- we will continue to move forward in this spirit.” said Irina Bokova.
"My presence today is a sign of Venice’s trust and commitment to the international cooperation. I have presented this morning to the Director-General the progress made during the last 15 months by the city of Venice, which shows a strong commitment to the revitalization of the city and a clear trend reversal. I hope that this meeting will be the starting point of a cooperation that builds a new vision for Venice in the next 20 years, where all are committed to a better future for young people and future generations.” said Mayor Luigi Brugnaro.
The bilateral meeting between the Director-General and the Mayor was followed by working meetings to explore various aspects of the management of the World Heritage site.
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.27, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
- Expresses its extreme concern that the combination of previous developments, ongoing transformations and proposed projects within the property which are threatening serious deterioration of the eco and cultural systems of the Lagoon and irreversible changes to the overall relationship between the City and its Lagoon, as well as the loss of architectural and town-planning coherence of the historic city, all of which would lead to substantive and irreversible loss of authenticity and integrity;
- Considers that the property requires an immediate improvement to the planning tools available through the creation of:
- an integrated strategy for all on-going and planned developments within the property,
- a three-dimensional morphological model and
- a sustainable tourism strategy,
all of which should be reflected in an updated Management Plan for the property; this revised planning approach should also be founded on a shared vision of authorities and stakeholders which affords priority to sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and its landscape and seascape setting;
- Reiterates its request to the State Party to enforce speed limits and regulate the number and type of boats in the Lagoon and in the canals;
- Also reiterates its request to the State Party to adopt, as a matter of urgency, a legal document introducing prohibition of the largest ships and tankers to enter the Lagoon and requests the State Party to put in place all necessary strategic, planning and management frameworks to this end;
- Also requests the State Party to halt all new projects within the property, prior to the mid-term assessment of the Management Plan, and the submission of details of proposed developments, together with Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
- Endorses the recommendations of the 2015 mission and further requests the State Party to fully implement these recommendations;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to revise the proposed buffer zone for the property in line with the ICOMOS technical review and submit it to the World Heritage Centre as a minor boundary modification, by 1 December 2016, for examination by the Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
- Finally requests that the State Party implement all urgent measures highlighted in the mission report and submit to the World Heritage Committee a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, by 1 February 2017 for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017, with a view, if no substantial progress is accomplished by the State Party until then, to consider inscribing the property on the List of the World Heritage in Danger.