UNESCO: “frank and fruitful”Paris meeting to be followed by review of dossier presented by Brugnaro. Summary and critique by Italia Nostra

Confronted by ten clear requests by the Unesco Commission for World Heritage Sites, Mayor Brugnaro arrived with a large number of city and state directors and with a 70 page document that did not contain any concrete response but rather contradicted every single request. Some examples: regarding point 6 (exclusion of cruise ships from the Lagoon) he presented a project (among the others not yet a subject of Via) to excavate the Tresse Nuovo canal, equating “out of the Bacino di San Marco” with “out of the Lagoon”; on point 4 (“strategy for sustainable tourism”) he boasted of having listened to many “interest groups” (without revealing if he is in favor of concrete limits while hinting that there is no need for them); regarding point 5 (respect the speed limits in the Lagoon and establish the types of acceptable craft), some fines levied in the last few months; in sum, regarding the general layout of the requests from Unesco (present a Plan of Management “containing a list of urgent measures approved or to be approved shortly”), he completely ignored the thing and presented only generic intentions to make Venice “a living city”, without explaining that for him “living” means full of tourists and surrounded by skyscrapers.

What could Unesco director Bokova do in the face of this attitude? That which any good diplomat would do: declare that there had been a “frank and fruitful” discussion, that “we will work together, it is the only path to follow”. The Corriere del Veneto was therefore mistaken to write that Unesco “will not declassify Venice”. What is correct is that now the Commission will examine the 70 page document submitted by the Mayor, compare it with the requests made at Istanbul, and decide if this can be considered a sufficient response. A thing which to us at Italia Nostra (however we believe it would appear so to anyone with a bit of law experience) is anything but possible. And we will not fail, just now in possession of the official documents, to point this out clearly to the members of the Commission. For now, we want to point out an important phrase from Unesco Director General Irina Bokova’s statement: “We will work together, hand in hand, Unesco, the State, the City and all the stakeholders” (bold and italics ours), where the mention of the stakeholders, such as Italia Nostra and the other groups, Venetian and national, represent a clear commitment and perhaps the fruit of long experience.

Source: Italia Nostra – Venezia

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