UNESCO Vice Director Bandarin on meeting with Brugnaro: “We are a long way from solutions.”

“There is the will to begin a dialog”

Vice Director Bandarin is satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with the Mayor: “There was effort on the part of the City”

“It is the beginning of a constructive dialog that has not yet had its outcome. We are a long way from solutions and in the substance there is nothing revolutionary. But it is positive that a dialog has been reopened”. “There was effort on the part of the City, there is willingness.” The day after the summit in Paris between Unesco and Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, the Vice Director of the world body commented positively on the meeting.

“A necessary institutional step” he defined it, “between Unesco and Venice, who have worked together for 60 years for safeguarding the city. Certainly we don’t think we could resolve on Tuesday all the city’s problems: we have listened and now after having received the dossier from the Italian government  we will prepare the final report.” The Unesco commission together with Icomos (International council on monuments and sites) and Iucn (International Union for consevation of nature) will create the final report and evaluation of the responses. It will then be in summer that the World Heritage Committee, during their annual session, will give the verdict.

The evaluation of the day? “There was a serious attempt to present an integrated and strategic vision,” said Bandarin, “even if in some cases we encountered rigid attitudes, such as concerning the Tresse canal and Vittorio Emanuele for the cruise ships”. But the problem from Unesco’s point of view is to get the ships out of the Bacino di San Marco. The alternatives, and how to realize them are questions for the Italian government.

During the long Parisian session other topics were discussed from the ten points raised in the formal document. Tourist overcrowding for example: “The Mayor has explained the activity in repressing abuse in the ‘bed and breakfasts’ and the project to decentralize the arrivals of tourists to areas other than San Marco”. Regarding the change of use of residential property to tourist rentals Brugnaro called on the State and the Region. “The limits have been surpassed and now we are witnessing the liberalization of the opening of bars and commercial activity that is not typical, in the residential apartments changed in to tourist rentals.”

It’s a phenomenon that does not stop. Rather. The invasion of tourism is under the eyes of all. And now with Carnevale at the door the city will have proof right away. Fast food places are opening, tourists clog the vaporetti and calle, the stores for the cruise tourists and the day trippers proliferate while the artisans and local shops are closing. Problems which are all ongoing. “We are a long way from solutions”, said Bandarin, “but a path has been started. And this is cause for hope.”

Source: La Nuova Venezia Jan. 26, 2017

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