Venice, a city that has fascinated tourists for centuries, may be added this month to UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger list.
A 21-member UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) committee will make that decision at a meeting beginning Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The committee plans to review more than 200 sites and determine which ones should be added to the danger list.
Earlier this summer, UNESCO experts released a document proposing to include Venice and its lagoon on the list. The document said the city had failed to make enough progress to prevent damage from mass tourism, climate change and development projects.
The Saudi meeting, which is officially called “the extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee,” runs through Sept. 25. The 21 members who will make the determination about Venice and other sites are from Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand and Zambia.
UNESCO experts regularly review the state of 1,157 World Heritage sites — sites deemed to have “outstanding universal value.” Fifty-five of them are currently on the World Heritage in Danger list.
Two years ago, Venice was nearly added to the list, but the United Nations agency chose not to add it after large cruise ships were banned from cruising through the city.
Other sites on the World Heritage in Danger list include Vienna’s historic center, three tropical rainforests on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and Jerusalem’s Old City and walls.