Within these pages you will find proof of one essential but frequently overlooked dimension of human rights: our landscapes.
Whether rural or urban, coastal or inland, degraded or well-preserved, our surroundings have an almost unquantifiable bearing on our quality of life. It is not only areas of outstanding beauty which require our attention, but the rich variety of settings in which we live – many of which have been undergoing rapid change.
The Council of Europe’s Landscape Award celebrates projects which seek to protect and improve those landscapes. Through their innovation and collaboration the winners and nominees of the last three competitions have shown that, in the pursuit of human dignity, our living environment matters.
Together they embody the spirit of our European Landscape Convention – the first international treaty of its kind – which recognises that sustainable environments are those which balance our economic, social, cultural and environmental needs. Successful landscapes support living, working communities in which we protect our natural heritage too.
It is a pleasure to bring together their achievements in this collection. I hope they will inspire others and, to all nominees of the Landscape Award, past and present: I wish you every success.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe