[Darksky][magnitude6] news on the IDA Regional Meeting of Venice, May 3, 2002 (fwd)

Jan Hollan
Fri, 17 May 2002 15:28:26 +0200 (CEST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 02:47:35 +0200
From: Pierantonio Cinzano <infoAinquinamentoluminoso...>
Reply-To: magnitude6Ayahoogroups...
To: magnitude6Ayahoogroups...
Subject: [magnitude6] news on the IDA Regional Meeting of Venice, May 3, 2002

Dear friends,

I beg your pardon because I am very late in diffusing the report on the
IDA Regional Meeting held in Venice on May 3, 2002 with the patronage of
UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in Europe (ROSTE) and the Veneto

At Venice, the participants approved a Declaration downloadable from
(see below a text-only version). It could help.
We already collected about 6000 signatures on the requests (i) to protect
the night sky and on the request (iii) to apply effective laws like Lumbardy
Law. The request (ii) directed to UNESCO is already supported by the many
letters that we received from many of you, including the IAU-WG, the AAS,
individual astronomers, observatories, departments, amateurs associations.

Please diffuse the Declaration and the news about the IDA Regional Meeting
of Venice as much as possible.

A detailed report in English with photos is under preparation and will be
diffused later this week or at the beginning of next one.

(A preliminary report in Italian is already available on line at
 or as a pdf (1.5 MB) 
 and the detailed programme at 
  http://www.lightpollution.it/istil/convegni.html .
 The Proceedings will be published in few months by the Light Pollution
Science and Technology Institute (ISTIL) with the support of

We received a lot of very useful messages from everywhere in the World and
in Europe, asking UNESCO to restart the process to declare the Night Sky a
World Heritage or an Heritage of the Humanity. Many thanks to all of you who
wrote us!! We read many messages at the meeting and we will consign them to
the Director of UNESCO Venice Office who was a speaker at the meeting and
discussed the point in his speech.

Here a short resume about what I understood.

- UNESCO works based on conventions between States and the convention about
World Heritage sites can only be applied to individual sites inside the
territory of a State, which can ask to UNESCO to declare it World Heritage.
So a common heritage of more states seems not considered in this

- Both night sky and the ocean floor are actually an heritage of the entire
humanity, so we have to find a way in order that UNESCO declare them an
"Heritage of the Humanity". It seems to understand that this could require a
new convention between member states. So this will be likely not easy and
not rapid.

- However we must start the process to arrive at this goal no matter if
apparently this could require time. If we do not start, we never will have
success. May be that there are way to shorten the road or to insert this
point inside other ones. We already have plans for further steps. The
meeting was only the first one.

Best regards,

Pierantonio Cinzano

International Dark-Sky Association - Italia
Direttore Scientifico
e-mail: cinzanoAinquinamentoluminoso...
web: http://www.inquinamentoluminoso.it

Declaration of Venice

We the participants at the IDA/ISTIL/VenetoStellato Regional Meeting
``Light pollution and the protection of the night environment -- Venice:
Save the night'' held in Venice the May 3, 2002 under the patronage of
UNESCO Regional Office for Science in Europe (ROSTE) and the Veneto

- noting the serious degradation of the night sky and the high levels of
light pollution in Italy, in Europe and in the World, as documented by the
satellite measurements, the Report of the Light Pollution Science and
Technology Institute (ISTIL - Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia
dell'Inquinamento Luminoso), the project of the Italian Ministry of
Education ``Gli studenti fanno vedere le stelle'' and the documents of the
International Dark-Sky Association;

- noting the Declaration on the Reduction of Adverse Environmental Impacts
on Astronomy of the meeting IAU/ICSU/UNESCO (Paris, June 30 - July 2, 1992)
which declared the night sky, with its beautiful stars and its message of
our place in the Universe, a precious treasure of all humanity and an
heritage belonging to all of humanity to be preserved, visible and clean, to
the actual and future generations;

- noting the declaration of the IAU/COSPAR/UN Special Environmental
Symposium ``Preserving the astronomical sky'' (Vienna, Austria, July
12-16, 1999) held as Technical Forum of the Third United Nations
Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE
III) which recalled that outer space has been defined as the province of
all mankind to be protected from harmful contamination and adverse changes
of all kinds and recommended that member states should act to control
pollution of the sky by light and other causes;

- noting the repeated appeals of the International Dark-Sky Association to
all countries of the world to preserve our heritage of starry skies and to
protect the nighttime environment by using only quality outdoor lighting,
thereby conserving energy;

(i)      ask all the World's heads of government

to protect the nighttime environment from light pollution so that future
generations will be able to see our magnificent starry skies, our only
window to the infinite universe where we live, a priceless heritage for all
of humanity, for countless centuries the companion of life of our
grandfathers, an inspiration for humanity's culture, art, literature,
philosophy and religion, fundamental object of scientific studies, a key
element of educational growth;

(ii)     ask UNESCO and UN

to restart the process to declare the night sky a Heritage of Humanity;
in particular, with the aim to protect the integrity of the night sky and
our perception of the universe, to preserve professional and amateur
astronomical research and scientific study, to rationalise and improve the
quality of outdoor lighting, to reduce the phenomena of dazzle and visual
fatigue produced by light pollution, improving the safety of  highway
travel, to reduce energy consumption for outdoor night lighting, to
safeguard the natural biological cycles of the man and the other living
creatures, to conserve the ecological equilibrium and the natural nocturnal

(iii)      ask all the World's governmental assemblies

to adopt laws against light pollution and for the control of the night sky
brightness, with effective provisions like those of the law of the Regione
Lombardia n. 17 of March 27, 2000 ``Misure urgenti in tema di risparmio
energetico ad uso di illuminazione esterna e di lotta all'inquinamento
luminoso'' and the relative Regulations D.G.R. n. 7/6162 of September 20,
2001, recognized for protecting the nighttime environment, for saving
energy, and for improving safety and visibility,

(iv)        and finally, ask the Venice authorities

that the nocturnal environment of the City of Venice be considered part of
the historical, artistic and environmental heritage of the city and that it
be protected and safeguarded, with its characteristics that make it unique;
that its night external lighting systems, both public and private, be
planned and installed not only in the full respect of the law for the
prevention of the light pollution of the Veneto Region, but also adopting
the most effective measures in order to limit the effects of the light
pollution and adopting great care to the tradition when choosing the light
levels, as deserved by such a world renowned historical city; that the
installation of mercury vapor lamps be suspended and those already installed
be replaced in accordance with previous points.


COSPAR= Committee on Space Research
IAU= International Astronomical Union
ICSU= International Council for Science
IDA= International Dark-Sky Association
ISTIL= Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia dell’Inquinamento Luminoso, Italy
ROSTE= UNESCO Regional Office for Science and Technology in Europe
UN= United Nations
UNESCO = United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


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