UNESCO has recommended that Italy's most popular and delicate tourist destination be added to its heritage danger list.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is calling for the Italian government to ensure the highest levels of dedication to address long-standing problems in Venice, which has been grappling with too many tourists and the effects of climate change for years.
Venice is one of 1,157 countries currently designated as a World Heritage Site, which are renowned for their cultural or natural offerings.
The recommendation to put Venice on the World Heritage in Danger list was made by UNESCO and its advisory body experts in its Provisional Agenda ahead of the 45th session of the agency's World Heritage Committee, which is scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in September.
The resolution argues that there has not been a significant amount of progress in grappling with the challenging and multifaceted issues related to mass tourism, development projects and climate change. The draft resolution said these problems are causing deterioration and damage to building structures and urban areas, degrading the cultural and social identity of the property and threatening the integrity of its cultural, environmental and landscape attributes and values. In the last few months, Venice has been grappling with a plethora of weather-related problems.
In February of this year, the city was in the grips of a drought that made it impossible for the gondolas, water taxis and ambulances to pass through some canals. In November 2019, the flooding was so widespread that historical treasures and buildings were endangered.
UNESCO notes that overtourism in Venice has been an ongoing issue, with some of the efforts in place to combat it, such as the ban on large ships from entering the San Marco Basin Giudecca Canal. The report said the consequences of human intervention, including the continued development, the impacts of climate change and mass tourism, threaten to cause irreversible changes to the OUV Outstanding universal value of Venice.
The municipality of Venice has said it will carefully read the proposed decision published by the Center for Unesco's World Heritage Committee and will exchange views with the government, which is the State Party with which UNESCO interacts. CNN spoke to Italian Culture Ministry, which said it had not released a statement on the UNESCO recommendation. The Italian Tourism Ministry and the Municipality of Venice have also spoken with CNN, but neither has responded by Monday evening.