On Friday 4 March, on the basis of the proposal put forward by the Councillor for Infrastructure and the Environment, Maurizio Gilmozzi, the governing council of the Autonomous Province of Trento approved the Overall Management Strategy for the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site. On 26 January the Strategy was approved by the council of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Südtirol.
Approved on 21 December 2015 by the Board of Directors (link) of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, the strategy is built on four pillars: heritage (conserving the outstanding universal values of a territory that is a World Heritage Site), experience (enhancing the sustainable tourism experience for visitors to the World Heritage Site), community (raising local awareness among the community of the World Heritage Site), system (coordinating management activities for governance of the World Heritage Site).
The visit by the IUCN inspector in October 2011 highlighted the necessity of setting out a specific strategy for tourism, given that this is the greatest source of pressure from human activity on the site. The Overall Management Strategy and the tourism strategy, involving policies for the ecologically sustainable use of the site for tourism and leisure pursuits, now share the same structure in order to provide an overall vision of the site but this has now been expanded to include a section expressly dedicated to tourism. The first two questions to be answered are covered in the first part of the document which also sets out the framework for the strategy. These are: why? (the vision addresses the long-term scenario in terms of the key words: heritage, experience, community, system); who? (the mission to be accomplished through active conservation, scientific research, tourism, mobility, awareness-raising and education, capacity building, the territory, connections, conflict management). The questions to be answered in the second part of the document constitute the executive programme and these are: what? (a summary table defining the themes, strategic guidelines, current state of implementation and priorities); how?, where? and when? (meaning the in-depth sections for each of the strategic guideline, detailing the activities in progress and those planned). The third part contains a series of studies and guidelines, methods and models and the management tools adopted.
The Strategy was drawn up with the support of the Scientific Committee, based on the working studies of the Operating Networks and also the results of #Dolomites 2040, the participatory process on the future of the Dolomites that took place in 2015, involving local representatives from all the various interest groups. The operating networks, made up of provincial, regional and parkland authorities are the channels for communicating the targets and also for well-balanced strategic action directed at the landscape heritage and protected areas, geology, tourism and mobility, promotion, education and research. The participatory process, #Dolomites 2040, was the means of involving all the supporters who have made a direct contribution to defining activities and to planning.
Collaboration (working together to reduce fragmentation), coordination (providing models to facilitate the various management activities), communications (providing a common platform for airing points of view and opinions, sharing experience and different skills and knowledge) are the 3 Cs of the Dolomites: a fossil archipelago in which each “island” represents an aspect of excellence which can only take the form of a universal value if it is united with the others by a set of reciprocal relationships to form a single whole. This is a world reference model for achieving integration of the aesthetic and landscape criteria and the geological and morphological criteria upon which listing as a World Heritage Site is based. The Dolomites are a carbonatic platform studied by generations of geologists, home to cultures arising from the meeting of different peoples.
Photo credit: @Pixcube.it