About the conference

UNESCO Venice Office is convening the International Conference titled “The Future of Venice and its Lagoon in the Context of Global Change” in collaboration with Venice International University (VIU) on the Island of San Servolo in Venice (Italy) from 13 to 15 November 2011.

This Conference will host key lectures and pave the way for discussions and debates related to the scientific, cultural and socio-economic challenges faced by Venice and its Lagoon. The Conference will focus on evaluating the current situation of Venice and its Lagoon and to develop a “shared vision” for its future. Such a vision is intended to help guide sound decision-making and further enable the sustainable management of coastal and lagoon urban systems and such unique World Heritage sites.

©L. Constantini -
APTOPIX Venice High Water

Scientific Programme

The conclusions of the Conference will inspire other World Heritage sites and cities, in particular those in the South-East European and the Mediterranean regions, to use the Venice experience as a role model.

The Conference will be preceded by a series of stakeholder workshops developing the management of the World Heritage sites and 4 preparatory workshops that reflect the main themes of discussion for the Conference:

  • From Global to Regional: Local Sea Level Rise Scenarios - Focus on the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea (22-23 November 2010)
  • The Ecological Implications of Climate Change on the Venice Lagoon (26-27 May 2011)
  • Culture and Development: from Restoration to Revitalization? (20-21 June 2011)
  • Impact of Global Change to Socioeconomic Development (19-20 September 2011)

The reports of the preparatory workshops will serve as a basis for the Conference discussion.

© European Space Agency
An image of Venice, Italy, from Space captured by CNES's Spot-4 satellite


The urban ecosystem of Venice and its Lagoon is among the most studied urban and environmental systems in the world. There is still a need to make the available knowledge more accessible to stakeholders and to the public in general, and to be easily applied in the decision-making processes. The Conference’s aims are:

  • Raising awareness on the cultural, socio and economic impacts of global change on Venice and its lagoon and other urban eco-systems;
  • Providing local authorities with sound scientific knowledge, information and tools for the sustainable management of Venice and the Lagoon;
  • Contributing to the elaboration of holistic and interdisciplinary approaches for the development of urban eco-systems affected by global change;
  • Creating better visibility of Venice and its Lagoon as well as other World Heritages sites and Biosphere Reserves as possible models for sustainable development worldwide;
  • Identifying prospective scenarios for the future(s) of Venice and recommendations for its cultural, social and economic development.

©M. Massarenti
Fishing houses

Parallel Sessions

  • Session 1 : Responses of the urban ecosystem to the challenges of climate change
  • Session 2 : Impact of global change on socioeconomic development
  • Session 3 : Culture and development: from restoration to revitalization?
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