Happy 2019! We look forward to celebrating… and working together

New Year’s greetings from the president of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, Graziano Pizzimenti, all the Board of Directors, the director Marcella Morandini and staff of the Foundation have special resonance this year because 2019 marks the tenth anniversary of the inscription of the Dolomites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Foundation is determined to give this milestone its due importance, but prefers to leave the toasts to New Year’s Eve and continue its work throughout 2019, raising awareness of the values of the inscription and the shared management of the Property.


So how is the Foundation preparing for the tenth anniversary? “If I can express it with a play on words” says the director of the Foundation Marcella Morandini, “I could say there will be a network of events but that the most important event will be the network. What I mean is that there will be plenty of occasions for us to come together and celebrate throughout the Dolomites, but there will also be a moment to pay tribute to this momentous turning point for the entire area and that moment will be symbolic and will have a great visual and acoustic impact (that’s all I can say at the moment!); this event will be another opportunity to connect the different areas and local administrations which belong to the nine Dolomite systems which were inscribed on the World Heritage List as a single Property ten years ago”.


As the tenth anniversary approaches, it is natural to take stock of what we have achieved on this journey which began immediately after the proclamation of Seville. The journey led to the setting up of the Foundation on 13 May 2010 in response to a very precise recommendation from UNESCO: to manage this vast Property, from both a geographical and administrative point of view, all together. And since then the provinces of Belluno, Bolzano, Pordenone, Trento, Udine and the Regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto have all sat around the same table. For them, the Foundation not only brings everyone together to come up with integrated solutions to manage the Property, but also gives an insight on the world of those who experience the mountains and those who live there. In fact upon an initiative of the Foundation it was the residents, associations, experts and local administrators who came up with the participatory process which was the keystone to managing the Property and led to the Overall Management Strategy for the Property. “If we are to assess what we have achieved so far, we have to reread that document carefully and work out how many of the actions in it have been brought to a conclusion. It’s something we should do but we shouldn’t stop there” observes the director of the Foundation. “The projects implemented as part of the Overall Management Strategy are many and the tenth anniversary is not just an opportunity to look back. The road ahead of us is what should interest us more”.


It should interest “us”. The participatory process is still ongoing. It continues every day in the Foundation’s functional networks and those formed by those people who work in the Dolomites on a daily basis, which are just as important. Scientists, politicians, tourism industry operators, businessmen, farmers, refuge managers, Alpine guides, environmentalists, tourists. Over the next few months everyone will be asked to reflect on the future of the Dolomites, on the best way to walk that ridge which at times is unsteady under foot and which divides and unites sustainability, development, environmental conservation and taking action. It’s going to be a tough but exciting task and we all need the very best wishes to accomplish it. Happy 2019!