Venice, Great Barrier Reef among changes to UNESCO endangered list

VENICE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 11: Overcrowded San Marco plazza during carnival on February 11, 2018 in Venice

UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural agency, has suggested an array of spots across the globe be added to the list of world heritage sites in danger.

Among the group is the iconic Italian city Venice, which UNESCO said is at risk of “irreversible” damage due to overwhelming tourism, rising sea levels and overdevelopment.

The UNESCO report blames Italian authorities for a “lack of strategic vision” in solving the issues plaguing one of Italy’s top tourists spots. The agency said measures proposed by the Italian state are not sufficient and that Italy “has not been communicating in a sustained and substantive manner” since its last Committee session in 2021.

Tourists in the crowded the bridge in Venice.

Former Venice mayor Massimo Cacciari criticised the call from UNESCO, describing the agency as “one of the most expensive and useless bodies on the face of the earth.”

“They don’t give us any funding to make changes, all they do is criticise… As if Venice needed UNESCO to be a world heritage site! We need more action and fewer words,” Cacciari told the BBC.

Alongside Venice, an array of other sites were added to the danger list, including Odessa, Ukraine, the town of Timbuktu in Mali and some sites across Syria, Iraq and Lybia.

In response to the agency’s report, a spokesperson for the Venice municipality said the city “will carefully read the proposed decision published today by the Center for UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee and will discuss it with the government.”

Great Barrier Reef possibly downgraded

While Venice was added to the list, it’s been suggested the Great Barrier Reef should be downgraded by UNESCO from the in danger list.

UNESCO initially suggested the reef be added to the list in November last year, but an updated report said it would be appropriate to re-evaluate this decision. The report also suggested that Australia should submit a progress report to the World Heritage Committee by February on its commitments.

Anthony Albanese said this draft was a sign that the Labor Government is hitting its targets.

“This confirms my government is working hard to protect the reef, is acting on climate change and that the rest of the world has taken notice,” Albanese told reporters.


Featured Image: Overcrowded San Marco plazza during carnival on February 11, 2018 in Venice

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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