UNESCO Puts Venice on World Heritage Blacklist as "Under Threat"
UNESCO recommends adding Venice to the list of World Heritage sites facing the risk of extinction, as reported by The Guardian. According to the organization's assessment on Monday, "insufficient" measures have been taken to address the deterioration of the area, particularly due to mass tourism and climate change.
In its statement, UNESCO states that the consequences of ongoing deterioration from human intervention, including continuous development, the impact of climate change, and mass tourism, pose a threat of causing irreversible changes to the outstanding universal value of the site.
UNESCO noted the "lack of significant progress" by Italy in addressing these issues, stating that the improvement is hindered by the absence of a comprehensive shared strategic vision.
The United Nations cultural agency recommended adding Venice to the list of endangered heritage sites, stating on Monday that the city has faced "irreversible" damage due to a range of issues.
The recommendation will be brought before the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Riyadh at the end of September for approval. Member states of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) will vote on the recommendation in September.
This recommendation comes despite Italy's compliance with UNESCO's request in 2021 to ban cruise ships weighing over 25,000 tons from docking in the lagoon. Now, the ships dock at the industrial port of Marghera.
The spokesperson for Venice's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, said, "They no longer pass through St Mark's Square." The ban followed years of protests against the large vessels.
The Venetian authorities stated that they will carefully read the recommendation and will have discussions with the Italian government, "which is a collaborating state with UNESCO."
After tourism in Venice was disrupted by the 2019 flood and the pandemic, visitors returned to the city. However, numerous issues have driven away the city's residents, and last summer, the population of the historic centre dropped below 50,000, leading to fears that the remaining residents might become "relics in a museum."
This is the second time in a few years that Venice, which was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1987, has been at risk of being placed on the blacklist.