The Foundation’s supporters gather at Feltre

They came from all over the Dolomites to show their willingness to offer practical support for the work that the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation is doing on the ground. The supporters form an association set up under the terms of the Foundation’s Statute, and are a mixture of ordinary citizens, professionals, Associations, and local Bodies that all want to demonstrate their belief in the UNESCO recognition.

10 years of UNESCO Dolomites:
over half the events are thanks to supporters

The meeting took place in the splendid setting of the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art in Feltre, where participants were greeted by its director, Msgr. Giacomo Mazzorana, by the mayor of Feltre Paolo Perenzin and by the President of the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, Ennio Vigne. The supporters then received heartfelt thanks from the president of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, Mario Tonina, who described them as leading players in conserving and enhancing our World Heritage. What’s the evidence of that? Of the more than 150 events staged throughout the area in the last ten years, more than 60% were conceived and organised by the Supporters. The director of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, Marcella Morandini, also referred to their significant contribution. As Mario Tonina explained: “This is an important demonstration of the cultural shift that is now happening, which sees communities becoming increasingly aware of the responsibility that comes from living in a globally recognised heritage, and reflects the aims and principles of active citizenship.”

On-going dialogue

Heritage management is a complex issue: the Provincial and Regional authorities within the Foundation make the primary contribution, but those working in social, economic, cultural fields throughout the Dolomites have always been encouraged to take part. The debate that took place after the reports showed the variety of views among the many players involved. The Mountain Wilderness association claimed there is too great a focus on promoting tourism as opposed to upholding environmental values, while many on the opposing side praised the complex work of building networks, and of promoting awareness of these values among the population and in relations with visitors.

The Dolomites and climate change

There was a specific focus on the issue of climate change, in relation to the management of the World Heritage Dolomites, with speeches by Alex Cittadella of the University of Udine, and Cesare Lasen, a member of the Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation. The director of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, Marcella Morandini, introduced the debate: “It is sometimes hard to look beyond our own little world, but Storm Vaia has made us regard local issues within a global context.” As Cesare Lasen also pointed out: “For five years running, we have had more than 500 millimetres of rain in November. These events are becoming more and more extreme, with increasing levels of alarm. We must make changes to our own behaviour, paying more attention to our lifestyles and making better use of available resources.” Alex Cittadella then launched an appeal for a more balanced and sustainable use of the territory.