Non-Governmental Organisations

Sustainable Territorial Development Committee

Declaration adopted on 5 October 2010

10th Anniversary of the European Landscape Convention - “New challenges, new opportunities” - 19-20 October 2010

The Sustainable Territorial Development Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, meeting on Tuesday 5 October 2010,

- Recalling the European Landscape Convention adopted in Florence on 20 October 2000 and the international texts to which it refers, in particular the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, 19 September 1979), the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (Granada, 3 October 1985), the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (revised) (Valetta, 16 January 1992), the European outline Convention on Trans-frontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (Madrid, 21 May 1980), the European Charter of Local Self-Governments, (Strasbourg, 15 October 1985), the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio, 5 June 1992);
- Recalling the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice on Environment Matters (Aarhus, 25 June 1998);
- Recalling the Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)3 of the Committee of Ministers to the Council of Europe member States, on the orientations for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention according to which:

    - landscape contributes to the formation of local cultures and is a basic component of the European natural and cultural Heritage contributing to human well-being and consolidation of the European identity;
    - landscape is an important part of the quality of life of people everywhere;
    - landscape is an essential element of individual and social well-being and its protection, management and planning entail rights and responsibilities for everyone;

- Recalling the desire expressed in the aforementioned Recommendation to “respond to the public’s wish to enjoy quality landscapes and to play an active part in their transformation”;
- Considering that priorities and obstacles imputed to the economic crisis and the ensuing budget cuts, at all levels of the territory, are a threat to both the harmonious development of territories and the stimulus given to landscape management;
- Considering the territorial dimension of human rights contained in the text of the Convention and the continuous commitment of general and specialised NGOs, members of the Committee, in favour of the landscape and the rights it should have;
- Noting the lack of knowledge and the incompetence of many public and private managers and owners faced with the threats hanging over the cultural and ecological value of natural and urban landscapes, be it in the intensive use of territories or the predictable effects of climate change;
- Following the commitments of the Declaration ”Working together to halt the loss of biodiversity and natural areas and to mitigate the effect of climate change” signed on 28 April 2010 by the Presidents of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe,
1. Fully supports the terms of the Convention and the signatory Parties’ commitments;
2. Undertakes to actively contribute, in its own spheres of action, to a better knowledge of the Convention objectives, and to the management of landscaped environment, both at local and regional level in conformity with the aims of the Convention;
3. Calls public authorities at all governance levels to:

    - Facilitate the implementation of national and local legislations and regulations recognising landscapes in law as an essential component of people’s surroundings and a foundation of their identity respecting the citizens ownership of their landscapes and strengthen citizen participation at all levels ;
    - Favour the definition of rights, responsibilities and abilities of each actor at every stage of landscape protection, management and planning and strengthen public awareness and civil engagement;
    - Ensure the integration of the landscape dimension in all policies having a direct or indirect impact on landscape, regarding it as public wealth ;
    - Insist in implementation of the Convention, that the general public and relevant parties participate in the definition of quality landscape policies and in the implementation of protection, management and planning actions, have full access to all information and are fully integrated at any level in the decision making process;
    - Ascertain that information documents written in clear, non-technical language be put at public disposal open to discussion, in due time, as stipulated in the Convention;
    - Promote information and awareness actions among all parties (elected representatives, economic players, NGOs, civil society and population) at all territory levels, with a view to protect the environment and enhance our natural and cultural heritage and its diversity for the generations to come;
    - Encourage, to that end, scientific research and education in landscape components and its evolutions within the scope of school and college training as well as adult education ;
    - Promote the setting up of a bank of qualified local and national data, available to the Council of Europe and to all citizens, and giving access to landscape strategies in Member states, so as to have a complete vision of ongoing actions.

4. Expresses its satisfaction with the more than 10 years of close co-operation with the experts of the competent INGOs members of the Conference and their involvement in the elaboration and implementation of the Convention,
5. Expresses appreciation that the Conference of INGOs has a seat on to Conference the jury of the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe and the possibility of conferring this distinction to an NGO having made remarkable contributions in this field,
6. Commits itself to continue implementation of the Convention, through the expertise and active help of European platforms, citizen networks and NGOs at all levels within or outside the Council of Europe.