UNESCO recommends adding Venice to ‘World Heritage in Danger’ list

Venice should be added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger, advisors to the body have recommended, due to “threats” facing the lagoon city.

The recommendation was made following the production of its annual conservation report. Venice’s potential addition to the list has been added to the provisional agenda for the session to be held from July 16-31 .

The final decision will be taken by the World Heritage Committee.

The report produced ahead of the session resolves to “inscribe Venice and its lagoon (Italy) on the list of World Heritage in Danger” due to the city facing “ascertained and potential danger due to individual threats and their cumulative impacts.”

One of those “threats” is the cruise ships which are continuing to ply the lagoon, sailing through the historic city center, despite the Italian government ruling that they should be banned.

The Italian government passed a decree in March that would see large ships, including cruise ships, banned from the lagoon, and demanded that tenders be opened for a future port outside the lagoon.

However, in lieu of a permanent solution, ships are scheduled to keep docking within the lagoon until a new port is constructed.

The heritage committee also noted that “crucial problems remain unresolved” in Venice.

Citing the “complex impacts of mass tourism, the constant decrease of population and the basic deficiencies in governance and cooperated management which have led to a significant loss of historical authenticity within Venice,” it said that the city’s “inherent characteristics” had been harmed.

It added: “The continued deteriorating effects of human intervention, combined with climate change on the vulnerable lagoon ecosystem, threaten to result in irreversible change.”

Six other sites have been proposed for addition to the endangered list: the Great Barrier Reef, Budapest, Kathmandu Valley, Russia’s volcanoes of Kamchatka, the Ohrid region of Albania and North Macedonia, and the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger.

Adding a destination to the endangered list may sound bad, but in fact it’s not a punishment.

In fact, it triggers the ability to request “technical and even economic help from the international community to safeguard the outstanding universal value”.