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The UNESCO Dolomites Foundation

Why did the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation start?

On 26 June 2009 UNESCO listed the Dolomites as a World Heritage Site for the aesthetic value of its landscape and for the scientific importance of its geology and geomorphology.

The Dolomites are not an interrupted mountain chain but rather nine mountainous systems each separated by valleys, rivers and other mountains. The 142,000 hectares that make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site form a sort of archipelago spread over a vast Alpine area and falling within the boundaries of five Italian provinces of considerable institutional and administrative diversity.

On 13 May 2010, the provincial and regional authorities charged with managing the Dolomites World Heritage Site made a commitment to UNESCO by setting up the Fondazione Dolomiti – Dolomiten – Dolomites – Dolomitis UNESCO. It was set up by five Italian provinces (Belluno, Bolzano, Pordenone, Trento, Udine) and two regions (Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto) working together to ensure the effective, coordinated management of the Dolomite property.

The mission of the UNESCO Dolomites Fondation

The Foundation is the single point of contact with the Italian Ministry for the Environment and with the UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee and its job is to encourage communication and collaboration between the local authorities that manage and administer, according to their individual regulatory frameworks, the territory recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

While the provincial and regional authorities each retain their own administrative and governmental powers according to current legislation, the Foundation plays a fundamental role in coordinating and harmonising management policies for the Dolomite property, with the aim of devising a common strategy. 


This represents a considerable cultural challenge for the Foundation, given the complexity of the Dolomite property, in cultural, linguistic and administrative terms, a unique situation unlike that of any other UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Foundation is one of a kind, an entity created specifically to favour the sustainable development of an area whose historical diversity is also quite remarkable.

The the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site  Overall Management Strategy

For 2016, it will be the job of the Foundation to devise an overall strategy for the shared governance and management of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site with the aim of ensuring that its universal values are maintained, with three main prongs of attack: conservation, communication and enhancement.

This overall strategy is based on the principle of networked management in which inter-regional and inter-provincial operating networks work on specific themes relevant to the property, such as its geological heritage, landscape heritage, protected areas, the promotion of sustainable tourism, socio-economic development, mobility, education and scientific research. These networks function as multiple partnerships whose aim is to ensure that knowledge and experience are shared, to set the guidelines for uniform management of the property that are consistent with the responsibilities and administrative procedures of individual authorities.

All the operations embarked on in the fields of conservation, communication and enhancement, as set out in the Overall Management Strategy, are planned according to this networked principle, ensuring the involvement and participation of the vast number of stakeholders with both direct and indirect responsibilities for the management of the property.

Every six years the UNESCO World Heritage Centre monitors the state of conservation and the management of the site, calling on a team of experts from IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature). The purpose of this assessment, which includes on-site visits, is to check the degree to which the goals set out in the multi-year plan have been achieved and to examine the way the property is being managed and its state of conservation.


Cortina d’Ampezzo administrative office
Comun Vecio
Corso Italia, 77
32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo (BL)

Belluno registered office
Palazzo Piloni
Via Sant’Andrea, 5
32100 Belluno

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