Definition and legal recognition of landscapes
The Convention defines landscape as “an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”. It also provides that each Party shall undertake “to recognise landscapes in law as an essential component of people’s surroundings, an expression of the diversity of their shared cultural and natural heritage, and a foundation of their identity”.
The landscape is recognised irrespective of whether it is of exceptional beauty, since all forms of landscape have a bearing on citizens’ quality of life and should be taken into account in landscape policies. The scope of the Convention is extensive: it applies to the entire territory of the Parties and relates to natural, urban and peri-urban areas, including land, inland water and marine areas. It therefore concerns not just remarkable landscapes but also “ordinary”, everyday landscapes, and degraded areas.
The Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)3 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the guidelines for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention sets out a “Suggested text” for use as guidance for public authorities when implementing the Convention (Appendix 2). It states that a specific national ministry should be responsible for implementing landscape policy and for inter-ministerial co-ordination in the area; that it should organise consultation with civil society and the assessment of landscape policies by an ad hoc body; that, in collaboration with the other ministries and with public participation, it should regularly develop and review a national landscape strategy, laying down the guiding principles of landscape policy, describing the paths taken and the goals pursued, in order to protect, manage or plan landscapes.
The Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)7 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the contribution of the European Landscape Convention to the exercise of human rights and democracy with a view to sustainable development recommends that the governments of States Parties to the Convention consider the importance that quality and diversity of landscapes has for the minds and bodies of human beings, as well as for societies, in the reflections and work devoted to human rights and democracy, with a view to sustainable development.
Summary Report on national and regional policies >>
Proceedings of the Council of Europe Meetings of the Workshops for the implementation of the Convention:
- “Landscape policies: contribution to the well-being of European citizens and to sustainable development (social, economic, cultural and ecological approaches)”, Strasbourg (France), 23-24 May 2002. 1st Council of Europe Meeting of the Workshops for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention (Strasbourg, France, 23-24 May 2002)
- “Landscapes and individual and social well-being”, Strasbourg (France), 27-28 November 2003
- “Landscape and society”, Ljubljana (Slovenia), 11-12 May 2006
- “Multifunctional Landscape”, Evora (Portugal), 20-21 October 2011
- “National policies for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention: challenges and opportunities”, Yerevan (Armenia), 5-6 October 2016
- “The implementation of the European Landscape Convention at local level: local democracy”, Brno (Czech Republic), 5-6 September 2017
- “Landscape and sustainable development: challenges of the European Landscape Convention”, Council of Europe Publishing, 2006
- “Landscape facets: reflections and proposals for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention”, Council of Europe Publishing, 2012
- “Landscape dimensions: reflections and proposals for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention”, Council of Europe Publishing, 2017
- “Council of Europe Landscape Convention: Contribution to human rights, democracy and sustainable development”, Council of Europe Publishing, 2018