The Dolomites - UNESCO
The Dolomites were inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage list on June 26, 2009. News of the event circled the globe quickly and soon millions of people knew about the Dolomite’s unique and spectacular landscape, as well as the often-overlooked geological and geomorphologic values that render it of global significance.
Gone are the days of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries when scientists, geographers, geologists, Alpine mountaineers and aristocrats were the only visitors in this region. They were the lucky beneficiaries of its magnificent scenery – now officially acknowledged to be “among one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in the world.” Some of them also spent lengthy periods of time studying and annotating results for important reports that today increase our wealth of knowledge and appreciation for these mountains.
Since then, the Dolomites have become an area with a dynamic tourism industry. Although all the site’s nine components inscribed on the World Heritage List are not directly neighboring, they are considered as a whole and their addition to the Unesco list cannot but increase their public image. The list as long captured the collective imagination and despite the fact that few people really know what Unesco is and does, the places from around the world that are listed fuel our imagination, convincing us that we must visit them to experience their unique, mythological grandeur.
We must keep in mind that inscription on the Unesco list required years of coordinated effort and was achieved with the support of the technical and administrative offices of the five provinces concerned: the Province of Belluno in the Veneto Region; the Provinces of Pordenone and Udine in the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia; the Autonomous Province of Bolzano and the Autonomous Province of Trento. Scientific contribution by experts and scholars in the fields of geology and landscape science was also crucial.
Inscription of the Dolomites on the World Heritage List is an extraordinary achievement but in addition to the honor of the award, it entails adequate management and protection services as well as sustainable development of this magnificent Alpine region.
Given these conditions, this important accomplishment should produce a new balance in terms of tourism and economic development. According to the values for which the Dolomites have been inscribed, the local governance arrangement is committed to ensure the protection and management of land use, the regulation and management of human activities to maintain its values, and the presentation and promotion of the World Heritage site in order to the preserve the qualities of its natural landscape. Meeting these requirements is essential to maintaining World Heritage status.
An equally important result of the Unesco award would be a qualitative improvement in the tourism industry – if the Dolomites were not only considered as an “amusement park,” but as a fascinating “place of meditation, study and research.”
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