150,000 francs less – Bern city council cuts credit for Unesco management plan

For 800,000 francs, the local council wanted to develop a concept so that the old town remains a World Heritage Site. That is cheaper, thinks the city parliament.

Martin Bürki, SDA

View of the old town of Bern. (Archive image)

Foto: Christian Pfander

The city of Bern has less money than planned to develop the Unesco management plan for the old town. The city council released only CHF 650,000 on Thursday, CHF 150,000 less than requested by the local council.

The applicants from the FDP / JF, GLP / JGLP and GFL / EPP parliamentary groups declared that Bern should take care of the old town. Accordingly, the city should endeavor to retain the status of a Unesco World Heritage Site.

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But that’s also cheaper. There were already a number of strategies, concepts and basic papers for the old town that could be used when drawing up the management plan. The city council supported the request for cuts with 65 to 0 votes.

Several speakers recalled that Parliament recently voted in favor of halving the contribution in the budget debate. The cut is therefore a fair compromise. City President Alec von Graffenried could live with it, as he explained in the council.

According to the Bern city government, in the 2016-2023 action plan for the Unesco World Heritage Switzerland, the federal government asked the city of Bern to draw up a management plan for Bern’s old town. Such a plan is the prerequisite for securing the Unesco label. The plan must be ready by 2025.

Switzerland ratified the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1972, thereby undertaking to identify and protect the cultural assets of universal value on its territory. The old town of Bern has been on the Unesco World Heritage List since 1983.