A UNESCO committee has decided not to add Venice to the organization’s World Heritage List in danger, ignoring an expert recommendation and sparing the Italian government an embarrassing judgment on the city’s condition.
“The World Heritage Committee has taken the decision not to include Venice and its lagoon on the World Heritage List in Danger,” UNESCO, the U.N. cultural organization, said in a statement as the committee met in Riyadh.
Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said adding Venice to the list would have been an “inappropriate move” that was not based on objective facts. “Venice is therefore not in danger,” he said in a statement.
Venice, known for its canals and cultural attractions, has long been threatened by flooding and mass tourism.
Sangiuliano said UNESCO has positively assessed Italian efforts to tackle these problems through the MOSE anti-flood system and through the recent approval of an entrance fee for tourists, which will start next year.
However, UNESCO said more work was needed to protect the fragile lagoon city.
“The Committee reiterated its concerns about the important issues that remain to be addressed for the proper conservation of the area, including those related to mass tourism, development projects and climate change,” the Committee said.
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