The Italian proposals ‘Padova Urbs Picta’ and ‘The Porticoes of Bologna’. Venice could be inscribed on the World Heritage in Danger List.
From 16 to 31 July, the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee will be held, originally been scheduled for 29 June – 9 July 2020 in Fuzhou, the capital of the eastern province of Fujian, China, and was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The opening ceremony will be held in person in Fuzhou, attended by the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, while the Committee’s subsequent work will be performed online, chaired by Tian Xuejun, the Chinese Deputy Minister of Education and President of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO. This 44th session will be extended to combine the work foreseen for both the 2020 and 2021 meetings.
The committee will evaluate 45 new proposals for inclusion on the World Heritage List.
For the 2019-2020 cycle, Italy proposes ‘Padova Urbs Picta. Giotto, the Scrovegni Chapel and the 14th century painting cycles’. It is also part of the transnational nomination proposal ‘Great Spas of Europe’, which includes eleven spa locations: Montecatini Terme is the Italian spa. For both nomination proposals, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory body to the 1972 Convention, expressed a technical opinion in favour of inclusion.
For the 2020-2021 cycle, Italy proposes ‘The Porticoes of Bologna’, but this is likely to be revised in view of a future re-proposal.
Our country is also among the countries proposing the second extension of the inscription of the ‘Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe’, which received a positive technical evaluation by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The spotlight will also be on ‘Venice and its Lagoon’: the Committee is being called upon to evaluate the ICOMOS proposal to include the site on the World Heritage in Danger List, together with 6 other UNESCO Sites: Kathmandu Valley; Budapest and the Banks of the Danube; the Ohrid Region (Albania and North Macedonia); the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger); the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) and the Volcanoes of Kamchatka (Russian Federation).
This possible decision confirms the urgency of adopting effective measures to combat the problems that have long threatened ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ of Venice, such as the negative impact of overtourism and the passage of large ships in the lagoon, as well as failures in coordination among the various levels of management of the site.
Italy, which is currently not a member of the Committee, will participate in the work as an observer state.