Venice braces for climate change

 
By Dizery Salim

GENEVA, 13 December 2011 - It's one of the world's greatest cultural attractions. About 20 million tourists pour through its streets each year and travel its waterways. Venice, Italy, sits at sea level, and any changes in the mean sea level leaves the city open to floods, endangering the artistic and cultural heritage of this 1,000-year old UNESCO world heritage site.

“We were forced in some sense to develop particular care for cultural heritage protection. For this, we were recognized by UNISDR as a role model for the other cities,” said Pierpaolo Campostrini, Managing Director of the CORILA research centre in Venice, and the city’s focal point for UNISDR’s “Making Cities Resilient” campaign.

“The problems of Venice may seem to be peculiar to this city alone. But in some sense, it is a problem relating to climate change and the increase in sea level rise.”

CORILA coordinates scientific research activities concerning the lagoon of Venice which has a long history of debate between science and public policy. Mr. Campostrini says the campaign has widened the dialogue between the two communities by providing a framework for transferring research results to other cities.

“I would advise other cities to join the campaign, first of all, because it is useful. It’s a very concrete tool in order to make any city more resilient and the citizen more safe.”

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