Plan needed to keep Pompeii's UNESCO status, says minister

Security to be increased, work sites to open

Plan needed to keep Pompeii's UNESCO status, says minister

Naples, July 1 - A clear plan operated with maximum transparency is needed to keep the archeological site of Pompeii on UNESCO's World Heritage list, Italian Minister of Culture Massimo Bray said on Monday. UNESCO has given Italy until December 31 to apply a series of measures or face having one of its most famous archeological sites removed from the elite catalogue of heritage locations. "Shortly safety measures, including videos surveillance for 50% if the area, will be installed and 39 work areas will be opened by 2015," Bray said. "These measures are all outlined as necessary and urgent by UNESCO," Bray added. To date, five work sites have opened in Pompeii, but two have been halted due to the contractors' "lack of transparency," Bray said. Plans for the revamping and preservation of the ancient archeological site of Pompeii were announced in April. The conference that unveiled the key points of a mega-undertaking called the Grande Progetto Pompei or Great Pompeii Project, said that work would "secure the site's damaged areas and to ensure that this is done using capable, honest businesses, not organized crime". In March, the EU Commission approved an injection of 105 million euros in restoration funds for Pompeii's ailing monuments, to be combined with matching money from Italy. A parallel project of private investors and businesses to develop areas surrounding the archeological site is also planned. "Pompeii, as with the Colosseum and other historical sites, funds and staff are needed," Bray said in an interview with Il Corriere della Sera daily paper on Monday. Staff is also needed to effectively monitor the site and avoid damage by visitors. "The last round of hirings in 2008 foresaw 400 new employees," Bray said. Some 139,000 people, of which 80% were college graduates, applied, the minister said.

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