Important news from Bahrain: the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene are on the threshold of recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The UNESCO Commission expressed itself with a “Referral”, which calls for a few adjustments to our Dossier before it is discussed again at the annual assembly in 2019.
The UNESCO Commission’s discussion regarding the inscription of our site in the World Heritage List took place on Sunday July 1st in Bahrain. Even though the initial evaluation proposed by ICOMOS (a non-governmental, consultative body) was one to “NOT INSCRIBE”, the assembly expressed itself with a “REFERRAL” judgement, which calls for certain additions to our Dossier before it is reconsidered at the 2019 annual assembly in Baku.
It should be emphasized that, during the presentation of the evaluative report by ICOMOS, they highlighted – among the positive elements that emerged from their analysis – the good conservation and management of the candidate site; that is to say, the conservation measures adopted were defined as appropriate, to the extent that during the long debate that ensued there was no mention (either by the member states or by ICOMOS) of any critical environmental issues. Indeed, during the course of this morning’s session, a proposal to “INSCRIBE” our site as part of UNESCO’s World Heritage programme was presented. 12 member states voted in favour of this, without however obtaining the 14 votes necessary for definitive approval: we are, therefore, on the “threshold” of this important accolade.
“The process for applying for the hilly area between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site began in 2008,” declared Innocente Nardi, President of the “Hills of Conegliano World Heritage Site” Syndicate and of the Producers’ Consortium for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG.
“Our efforts have, therefore, been spread over no less than ten years. The first goal was obtained in 2010, with our application being inserted in the Tentative List for Italy. Then, at the beginning of 2017, our Candidacy was officially accepted and we knew that it might take a bit more work and time before we reached our final objective: we remain determined to do so by the summer of 2019. In the meantime, we offer our congratulations to the delegation from the city of Ivrea for the excellent result they have achieved: UNESCO recognition as an Industrial Heritage Site.”
Having reached this point, it is only right to thank all those who – with dedication and enthusiasm – are working on the candidacy of the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We begin with the extraordinary commitment of the President of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia, and of his staff; with the care and attention that have always been demonstrated by Ambassador Lomonaco; and with the constant hard work carried out by the representatives of the Government and of the relevant Ministries, as well as by all the members of the Scientific Committee. Preparing a Dossier that is garnering consensus is an important opportunity and experience for our zone, which has successfully demonstrated that we can work synergistically, by including local and central governments, public bodies and business organisations, and the academic and scientific communities. All of these players have succeeded in acting and speaking with one voice, and have collaborated as a team to promote to the full our most precious asset: the land where we live and work.
Our sincere thanks also go to all the inhabitants of our hills, who have become involved alongside us in the exhilarating process of our UNESCO candidacy. Opinion research informs us that the people of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area are following all of the steps of this procedure with attention and interest (SWG survey of September 2017: Conegliano Valdobbiadene’s candidacy for UNESCO Heritage recognition is important for 92% of Italians, and for 70% it will have positive consequences for the area). This is an important experience for us all, because drawing up the UNESCO Dossier has meant that many people have become conscious of the great beauty and absolute value of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene zone. Ours is an area forged by the “hard” toil of safeguarding and enhancing the countryside carried out by past generations, and which is maintained and protected by their descendants who work there now, whom some – sadly – seem to enjoy denigrating. We, though, remain convinced of the unique worth of the landscape of the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, because they are the result of the expertise and labour of man in harmony with nature, as demonstrated by the tens of thousands of Italian citizens and foreigners who visit our region every year.