Valletta’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status at risk following government inaction

Management Plan not completed despite 2011 request

 

Malta’s capital city, Valletta, is at risk of losing its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the government and particularly the Culture Ministry’s inaction on implementing recommendations from the international cultural heritage body, some dating back over a decade.

Valletta – by far Malta’s most significant tourist selling point – has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1980. However, overdevelopment in the last years and a lack of action from the government is putting its status at risk.

In a strongly worded decision taken last month during the last UNESCO World Heritage Convention in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Malta was given until the end of 2024 to present its updated report on the state of conservation of Valletta, notably a management plan initially requested in 2011.

The decision followed the submission of a report to the convention, in which experts lamented that Malta has been working on a so-called ‘Management Plan for Valletta’ for years, with no conclusion. Highlighting that this plan was initially requested some 12 years ago, experts said that “this hasn’t been completed yet”.

In 2017, a UNESCO advisory mission again recommended that Malta complete a management plan for Valletta and a “Views and Vistas” analysis report to address the growing concern about how high-rise buildings impact its skyline.

The mission also asked Malta to conduct Heritage Impact Assessments for all future major restorations or new constructions within Valletta and to appoint a site manager urgently.

“The first two recommendations have not been completed,” the UNESCO decision said, adding, “The appointment of a site manager was completed with considerable delay only in 2023″.

The convention also expressed concerns over recent reports it has received, particularly on the long-delayed refurbishment of a museum at St John’s Co-Cathedral, the privatisation of Evans building, and the development of Manoel Island.

“It is regrettable that the tender for the redevelopment of Evans building appears to recognise only the value of the facades and potential archaeological remains and that, according to the website for the proposed redevelopment of Manoel Island near Valletta, the masterplan was approved before the completion of the ‘Views and Vistas analysis’.”

In its final recommendations, UNESCO asked Malta to submit the Views and Vista analysis addressing the issue of height controls in and outside Valletta from strategic viewpoints for review by its advisory bodies to complete the delineation of an adequate buffer zone around the city and to finalise the management plan requested in 2011.

Malta’s contacts with UNESCO are Culture Minister Owen Bonnici and Ambassador Mons Joe Vella Gauci.

                           

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Francis Said
Francis Said
4 months ago

This is probably one of the worst consequences that could affect Malta’s heritage and it’s ability to attract quality tourism to Malta.
The incompetent Minister responsible for Culture please note the immediate action required to stave off this.
If needed Norma Saliba should use her office to coordinate this important threat. Assuming that she has the necessary qualifications to achieve the required results.

makjavel
makjavel
4 months ago
Reply to  Francis Said

WHO?

wenzu
wenzu
4 months ago

As far as the MLP is concerned, a management plan doesn’t vote, so screw the EU. Valletta has become another “squalid like” Paceville so it no longer merits the status of a heritage site.

A. Fan
A. Fan
4 months ago
Reply to  wenzu

The UN, EU, etc. are apparently all just suckers to be fleeced in the minds of the MLP mafia. And the resulting reputational harm to the country and its mostly decent people doesn’t bother them one bit. Wrt Valletta, I sadly also have to agree with you. Centuries of history have been shoved aside for a hollow tourist trap.

Albert Mamo
Albert Mamo
4 months ago

THIS INCOMPETENT CORRUPT LABOUR GOVERNMENT DOESN’T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING, THAT DOESN’T RESULT IN LINING THEIR POCKETS.
THEY WILL PROBABLY DROP OUR HERITAGE POSITION JUST FOR THAT REASON!!!💯☹️👹

makjavel
makjavel
4 months ago
Reply to  Albert Mamo

Then they will add another floor to Kastilja for kicks.

makjavel
makjavel
4 months ago

The only competence this Labour government is competent in is INCOMPETENCE.
Valletta risks losing its World Heritage status.
The next one will be Ggantija and Mnajdra Hagarqim if some stupid insists to rebuilt the walkway from Hagarqim to Mnajdra in concrete.

Last edited 4 months ago by makjavel
Steve Mifsud
Steve Mifsud
4 months ago

Those huts are indeed unsightly. All parties should muster the courage to take action without fear of losing votes!

Paula Goodwin
Paula Goodwin
4 months ago

At the moment Malta seems intent on destroying the very things that attract visitors. Regardless of the cultural vandalism this is economic suicide.

Jason Plum
Jason Plum
4 months ago

How embarrassing

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