Comment | Venice is in peril: UNESCO should come to the aid of Venice as it did after the great flood of 1966

Source(s)
The Art Newspaper

By Francesco Bandarin

It has taken the disastrous flood that hit Venice on the night of 12-13 November to remind us all that the city is as great a mortal danger as in 1966, the year that has gone down in history as its great flood..

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It is clear that a new impetus has to be given to the way in which Venice’s systems are governed, and Unesco is the only institution with the international authority and power—if it chooses to use them—to impose more speed and a new course of action.

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Above all, Venice has not yet been protected against the high tides that regularly invade the town. Mose, the mobile defence barriers, whose design has engaged a generation of engineers and planners, and whose construction was launched with great fanfare 16 years ago, is still not operational, and nobody can tell when, and if, it ever will be.

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During the past five years, the project has lost momentum and clarity in its management process. Decision-making is slow and funding by government inadequate. There is not even a blueprint for who is to maintain and operate the system after completion. In short, there is no planning or management at the level required for such a complex engineering undertaking and every year the completion date gets postponed.

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