IUCN in Belluno, UNESCO Dolomites in the world

“We often say that being a UNESCO site means talking to the world and what happened in Belluno is a tangible example.” This is how the Foundation’s President, Mario Tonina, described the seminar held at the seat of the Provincial Government in Belluno from October 12 to 14. The event was organised together with experts from IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the UNESCO advisory body for the Natural Heritage Sites included in the List. The Dolomites were chosen as one of seven Sites in the world (and two in Europe) which would come together to discuss ways to improve the self-assessment mechanisms used by all the Heritage Sites on the UNESCO List.

Manage the Sites… and make sure you do it properly

“The IUCN brings together countries and private organisations and is the largest network in the world of players involved in the protection of nature”, explained Carlo Ossola, a IUCN expert who attended the seminar. Also present were the members of the Technical Committee of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, officials from the Regions and Provinces that constitute the Site, and a representative of the Scientific Committee. One of the purposes of the IUCN is to support the UNESCO World Heritage Committee from a scientific point of view, offering means by which the various Sites can understand if they are managing the Heritage they are responsible for in a proper way. As Carlo Ossola pointed out: “We have come to learn from you how such a complex serial site can be organised. Our aim is to review the self-assessment instruments used by all the UNESCO sites in the world, and we have noticed how important efforts have been made here to bring together the different values and different perceptions of the various territories involved in the Site.”

Dolomites chosen as one of 7 “case studies”

Marcella Morandini, director of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, gave the following assessment: “It was an honour to be selected by the IUCN as one of seven Sites in the world, and two in Europe. These have been intense days of discussion, spent fine-tuning the ‘toolbox’ made available to all the Sites to help them understand what works, and what improvements need to be made to their management. For us, it’s vital to understand where we’ve got to, in order to ensure that UNESCO recognition will increasingly serve as an opportunity for the communities living in the Dolomites.”