Knowledge, responsibility and awareness: the role of local administrations in managing the Dolomites World Heritage Site

Since 2022, working through the Training and Scientific Research Network, coordinated by the Autonomous Province of Trento, and in collaboration with the tsm|step School for Regional and Landscape Management, the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation has run a course aimed at local administrators of the municipalities, mountain unions, and valley communities within the Dolomites World Heritage Site.

The initiative has four aims: 1) to equip administrators with the knowledge and understanding to propagate UNESCO values, 2) to create further opportunities for dialogue and sharing, 3) to strengthen the connection between the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation and local bodies, and 4) to promote shared reflection on the actions to be taken for actively conserving the Property, valuing and promoting differences and the unique aspects of each area.

A key factor in promoting the Dolomites’ UNESCO status is the ability to recognise its significance and identify opportunities to safeguard and enhance environmental, social, cultural and economic assets for the local area and for the communities involved in managing the Property.

Administrators of municipalities and their various combined forms can serve as champions of new perspectives and new interpretations of the Dolomites Property and represent an important point of reference for developing conservation and enhancement strategies.

A traveling course

In order to facilitate attendance of administrators from all areas of the Dolomites World Heritage Site, the course is offered in a different province each year, with a fresh focus and different guest speakers. Following the success of the first edition held at Palazzo Piloni in Belluno on 21–22 October 2022, the course was offered again with a focus on the climate crisis. This edition was held at Palazzo della Comunità in Primiero, on 24–25 November 2023. The sessions led to a unanimous call to run the course annually in a residential format, to create more opportunities for shared dialogue between administrators from different entities, adding value to the initiative.