Born in Veneto: Coordination Table of UNESCO Sites

The Veneto Region is responsible for governing a territory that today boasts 8 World Heritage sites. It has long been engaged in an action to enhance its heritage excellence with the intent to join other candidacy proposals, both tangible and intangible. This has materialized in the establishment of a working table and an internal coordination for UNESCO issues.

The region, as a superordinate body, is retained as a “responsible person” according to the definition given by state legislation on the subject. Its purpose is to intervene with increasing energy in the complex and articulated issues of protection and conservation, management, use, and promotion. In this light, all local actors, first of all institutional subjects, administrations, and public bodies, have the task of dealing with particular care with regard to the assets placed under the protection of UNESCO.

These themes find correspondence in a plurality of competences and institutional functions that the region exercises and which must be dealt with and deepened in specific reference to the UNESCO heritage.

The heritage recognized by UNESCO in Veneto coincides with an aspect of strategic importance and of high potential for the growth and development of the territory. This places itself as a group with high visibility in the international arena and also due to its widely-differentiated nature, undoubtedly identifies a level of particular attention on the side of local governance.

The Veneto region has, therefore, over time committed itself to intervening with ever-greater incisiveness in the complex and articulated themes of support for the protection and conservation as well as the promotion and use of UNESCO Sites. It also through a shared management policy of requests from the interested parties, indicates increasingly effective measures to involve all stakeholders in the area.

In this perspective, the Working Table of the UNESCO Sites of Veneto was born, already established with the Regional Council Resolution, to offer a moment of meeting, comparison, and exchange between all those involved in the management of the assets registered on the World Heritage list in Veneto.

The main functions for which this Table has been activated are those of coordination of initiatives; monitoring of activities; and support for the drafting, adoption, and implementation of Site Management Plans, acquisition and sharing of requests, and identification of possible common enhancement actions.

The representatives of the 8 UNESCO sites of Veneto participate in the work of the Table: “Venice and its Lagoon,” “City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of Veneto,” “Orto Botanico di Padova,” “City of Verona,” “Dolomites,” “Prehistoric pile-dwelling sites of the Alpine arc,” “Venetian defense works between the 16th and 17th centuries,” “Prosecco hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.”

Those who are following candidacy paths already started, such as Padova Urbs Picta. Giotto, the Scrovegni Chapel, and the pictorial cycles of the fourteenth century, are in process and now await only the final pronouncement by UNESCO.

To support the Table, highly-qualified specialists in the various sectors are involved such as Prof. Amerigo Restucci, a member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Board of Directors, along with a team from the Iuav University of Venice that investigates governance issues of the UNESCO heritage, and experts from CISET – International Center for Studies on Tourism Economics – who deal with the economics of tourist flows.

The provision that renewed the Table also formalized the establishment of an internal regional coordination for UNESCO issues, a body made up of various structures with specific expertise in the various areas touched by the management of the UNESCO list sites, such as promotion and the enhancement of cultural heritage, territorial and urban planning, infrastructures and transport, public works, the government of tourist flows, the management of the agri-food sector, the relationship with local authorities of the territory, communication strategies, activities training, and international relations.