Climate crisis: Venice to be added to the UNESCO heritage danger list
The Italian city of Venice is proposed to be added to a list of world heritage sites in danger. The suggestion was made by experts from UNESCO in their new study. According to UNESCO, the corrective measures proposed by the government to address long-standing problems in Venice so far are still insufficient.
So, What is happening in Venice?
The UNESCO World Heritage property comprises the city of Venice and its lagoon situated in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. Venice has been grappling for years with too many tourists and the effects of climate change. The recommendation to put the city on the World Heritage Sites in Danger list was made ahead of the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee which is about to begin on September 10, 2023, in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).
The committee will look at over 200 sites in the September session and decide which ones to add to the danger list. Other than Venice, the experts have also recommended adding Kyiv in Ukraine, the town of Timbuktu in Mali and several sites in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
With regards to Venice, Experts commented that there has not been any “significant” progress in addressing the issues of mass tourism, development projects and climate change. These issues are “causing deterioration and damage to building structures and urban areas, degrading the cultural and social identity of the property and threatening the integrity of its cultural, environmental and landscape attributes and values,” the panel further said. Climate change is also adding to the crisis. In February 2023, the city was in the grips of drought, so much so, that Italian lakes and rivers had dried up. In November 2019, historical treasures and buildings were endangered due to flooding. The inclusion of Venice in the danger list had already been proposed by UNESCO two years ago, but it was averted at the last minute due to some emergency measures adopted by the Italian government. The Venetian authorities said they would carefully read the recommendation and speak to the Italian government to find amicable solutions.