The Italian lagoon city, along with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the city of Budapest, and Liverpool’s waterfront may be put on the list of “World Heritage in Danger,” meaning they risk being removed from Unesco’s prestigious list of world heritage sites completely.
Unesco said on Monday the issue will be discussed at a meeting of its World Heritage Committee, which oversees the coveted accolade, in Fuzhou, China, on July 16-31.
It “would be a very serious thing for our country” if Venice was removed, said Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini on Monday.
Participants at the China meeting will make the final decision on the deletion and warning proposals, and the agency could demand urgent action on cruise ships from the Italian government by next February.
There has long been concern about the impact of cruise ships on the city’s delicate structures and on the lagoon’s fragile ecosystem.
The Italian government appeared to have passed a ban on cruise ships docking in Venice earlier this year – but the giant vessels continue to arrive in the city.
The government’s decree in fact did not constitute an immediate ban.
Instead, it said a plan for docking cruise ships outside Venice’s lagoon must be drawn up and implemented.
In the meantime, the ships will continue sailing through the lagoon and docking at the city’s industrial port, which has been the landing site for them since last December.