Is the Venice Lagoon Really Endangered?
In a special event organized in Venice by Europa Nostra in March, this pan European heritage organization declared the Venice Lagoon to be the most endangered heritage site in Europe. It has been fifty years since the great flood in Florence and Venice motivated the global community into action. The group with the support of the European Investment Bank Institute is now urging the European government, the Italian government, and the Venetian government along with all the political leaders and business leaders to come together like before and take measures before it gets too late. Europa Nostra has also appealed to the World Heritage Committee to consider Venice and its Lagoon to be added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger.
As there has been a rise in sea levels over time, an ever increasing number of tourists, the big cruise ships dipping in the lagoon, an alarming erosion of the sea bed, a deeper dredging of channels and the absence of a fixed management plan for Venice; it has all come together to create a perfect disaster that is waiting to happen.
Opera singer Plácido Domingo who is also the president of Europa Nostra states that the organization has taken it upon itself to ring the proverbial alarm bells by coming to Venice and to let the world know that Venice would not be able to survive without the famed Lagoon. He further goes on to mention that Venice originated from the waters.
The Lagoon is more than just a tourist attraction, it represents the origin and the past of this extraordinary historic destination. The Lagoon however is a lot more than that; it has a life of its own, it is this life that makes the city live. It is therefore vital to ensure the future of this eclectic city.
As a response to this statement and announcement Anna Somers Cocks, the former Chairman of Venice in Peril mentioned that the probable “at risk” situation of Venice was identified in 2014 by the World Monument Fund as they put it up on the watch list of endangered sites. As UNESCO is considering putting Venice on its World Heritage in Danger roster, it may be the time for the Italian government to sit up and take notice of the risks that Venice is facing.
UNESCO is currently in the process of preparing a report on the city of Venice for the meeting of World Heritage Committee in Istanbul in July as confirmed by the general director for culture, Francesco Bandarin. UNESCO also talks about taking Europa Nostra’s recommendation of Venice being declared as the site facing the highest risk of endangerment.