Recommendation 40 (1998)1 on the draft European landscape convention

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe,

1. Aware of the importance that Europe’s citizens attach to their environment and of the fact that these citizens:

a. wish to be assured that policies and instruments with an impact on their territories take account of their demands regarding the quality of their surroundings;

b. believe this quality to depend to some extent on the feeling they derive from contemplating the landscape;

c. have come to realise that the quality and diversity of many landscapes are declining as the result of a wide variety of factors and that this trend is having an adverse effect on the quality of their everyday lives;

2. Observes the absence at European level of a specific, comprehensive reference relating entirely to the protection, management and enhancement of landscape in international legal instruments on the environment, spatial planning and the cultural heritage;

3. Considering:

a. that an international convention is a dynamic legal instrument which evolves together with the subject-matter of its provisions;

b. that it is essential that an international legal instrument intended to take account of landscape values and interests can keep in step with the changing nature of these values and interests;

c. that an international instrument on landscape which is not legally binding and which lacks an appropriate monitoring system is liable to remain a dead letter, a mere series of flaccid recommendations which, in time, are liable to lose their relevance to the problems they seek to solve;

4. Convinced:

a. that official landscape activities should no longer be merely a field of study or a limited area of action which is the prerogative of certain specialised scientific bodies;

b. that landscape should become a mainstream political subject, since it plays an important role in the well-being of Europe’s citizens, for whom it is no longer acceptable that their surroundings are transformed by technical and economic changes on which they have no say;

c. that landscape is the concern of all citizens and lends itself to democratic treatment, particularly at local and regional level;

5. Considering therefore:

a. that if citizens are granted an active role in decision-making concerning their landscapes, they will have an opportunity to identify with the areas and towns where they spend their working and leisure time;

b. that if citizens' relationship with their surroundings is strengthened, their local and regional identity and distinctiveness will be consolidated for the benefit of their individual and social fulfilment;

c. that such fulfilment may help to promote sustainable development, as the quality of landscape is an important factor for the success of economic and social initiatives, whether public or private;

6. Takes the view:

a. that landscape-related policies and measures should cover all forms of landscape in a state’s territory, including cultivated and natural rural areas as well as urban and peri-urban zones;

b. that such policies and measures should not be confined to cultural and man-made landscape features or to natural features, nor be concerned solely with protecting exceptional or outstanding landscapes;

c. that extending the scope of official landscape action to cover the whole of a national territory does not imply that the same measures and policies should be applied to all landscapes; on the contrary, measures and policies should be adaptable to individual landscapes, which, depending on their specific characteristics, need various forms of treatment ranging from the strictest kind of conservation via protection, management and planning to actual creation;

7. Bearing the foregoing in mind and being composed of local and regional elected representatives responsible for the administration of towns and areas constituting the environment of Europe’s citizens, wishes to contribute to the protection, management and planning of all aspects of landscape throughout Europe by means of international law;

8. Having regard in this context to:

a. Resolution 256 (1994) of the 3rd Conference of Mediterranean Regions of the former Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities, which called on the Congress to draw up a framework convention on the management and protection of the natural and cultural landscape of Europe as a whole;

b. the document “Europe’s Environment – The Dobris Assessment”, published by the European Environment Agency after the first Pan-European Conference of European Ministers of the Environment, which expressed the hope that the Council of Europe would prepare a European convention on landscape;

c. the document “Parks for Life: Actions for Protected Areas in Europe”, issued by the World Conservation Union (IUCN)2, which recommended the preparation of an international convention for the Conservation of the rural landscapes of Europe, with the participation of the Council of Europe;

9. Bearing in mind the proposals made at the hearings held by its working group in Strasbourg on 8 and 9 November 1995 for interested national and regional scientific bodies, both public and private, as well as European non-governmental organisations, and on 24 March 1997 for interested international organisations and European regional authorities;

10. Thanking the many experts who contributed to the preparatory work, especially Professors Régis Ambroise, Michael Dower, Bengt Johansson, Yves Luginbühl, Michel Prieur and Florencio Zoido, as well as Ms Cristina Storelli, rapporteur for the European Urban Charter;

11. Referring to its Resolution 53 (1997), in which it provisionally approved a preliminary draft European Landscape Convention based on a non-legal version and a European comparative-law study;

12. Having regard to the legal texts existing in national, Community and international law and international programmes as appearing in Appendix 3 to the explanatory memorandum to the above mentioned Resolution;

13. Taking account of the very encouraging results of the Intergovernmental Consultation Conference held in Florence from 2 to 4 April 1998 at the invitation of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Environmental Assets and the Region of Tuscany, which afforded an opportunity for constructive dialogue with governmental authorities responsible for landscape questions in the 40 member states of the Council of Europe regarding the establishment of common rules on the protection, management and planning of their countries' landscapes through international law; and thanking these authorities for their active participation in the conference;

14. Referring to its Recommendation 31 (1997), in which it asked the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly and the European Union’s Committee of the Regions for their opinions on the preliminary draft convention contained in Resolution 53 (1997);

15. Thanking:

a. the Parliamentary Assembly for its contribution to the preparatory work and its favourable opinion on the preliminary draft convention, as set out in its Resolution 1150 (1998);

b. the Council of Europe's Cultural Heritage Committee for its contribution to the preparatory work and its favourable opinion on the preliminary draft convention presented at the above-mentioned Intergovernmental Consultation Conference;

c. the Committee of the Regions for its favourable opinion on the preliminary draft convention presented at the above-mentioned conference;

d. the European Commission which, thanks to its active participation in the above-mentioned conference, made an important contribution to improving the text of the preliminary draft convention;

e. the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for its contribution to the preparatory work and the favourable opinion it expressed at its 21st Session (Naples, Italy, 1-6 December 1997), and UNESCO's World Heritage Centre for its contribution to the preparatory work on this preliminary draft;

f. the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and Commission on Environmental Law for their favourable opinion on the preliminary draft Convention expressed at the above-mentioned conference;

g. all the non-governmental organisations that participated in the drafting and consultation process concerning the preliminary draft convention;

16. Bearing in mind the planned campaign "Europe, a common heritage" decided by the Heads of State and Government in the Action Plan which they adopted at their Summit in Strasbourg in October 1997, whose goal will be to promote a shared sense of belonging to Europe through an awareness and enhancement of Europe's cultural and natural heritage;

17. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe:

a. examine the draft European Landscape Convention appended hereto with a view to adopting it as a Council of Europe convention if possible during the above-mentioned heritage campaign, taking account of the draft explanatory report on the draft convention, which is appended to the explanatory memorandum on this recommendation;

b. in view of the multidisciplinary nature of the subject matter of the draft European Landscape Convention, as part of the intergovernmental process of evaluating the draft convention, refer it concurrently to the Cultural Heritage Committee and to the Committee for the Activities of the Council of Europe in the Field of Biological and Landscape Diversity;

c. invite the Congress to present the above-mentioned draft convention as part of the pan-European intergovernmental activities concerning landscape, in the form of a specific contribution of a Council of Europe body;

18. Calls on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to support the draft European Landscape Convention with a view to its adoption by the Committee of Ministers and its opening for signature as a binding text of international law in the framework of the above-mentioned campaign.

APPENDIX

DRAFT EUROPEAN LANDSCAPE CONVENTION

PREAMBLE

The signatory states hereto,

1. Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and that this aim is pursued in particular through agreements in the economic and social fields;

2. Concerned to achieve sustainable development based on a balanced and harmonious relationship between individuals, society and economic activity and the environment;

3. Noting that landscape, as a complex element of the environment, has an important public-interest role in the cultural, ecological and social fields and constitutes an economic resource which, if properly managed, can contribute to job creation;

4. Aware that landscape is an essential feature of human surroundings, that it contributes to the formation of local cultures and that it is a basic component of the European natural and cultural heritage, contributing to human well-being and consolidation of the European identity;

5. Observing that developments in agriculture, forestry, industrial and mineral production techniques and in town-planning, transport, infrastructure, tourism and recreation practices and, at a more general level, changes in the world economy have the effect of speeding up the transformation of landscapes;

6. Wishing to satisfy the desire of populations to play an active part in the development of landscapes and to enjoy high-quality landscapes;

7. Believing that landscape, as a key element of individual and social well-being, entails rights and duties for everyone;

8. Having regard to the legal texts existing at international level in the field of protection and management of the natural and cultural heritage, regional/spatial planning, local self-government and transfrontier co-operation;

9. Noting that no international legal instrument is devoted directly and comprehensively to the protection, management and planning of European landscapes;

Have agreed as follows:

CHAPTER I - GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1: Definitions

For the purposes of the convention:

a. "Landscape" means a piece of territory, which may include coastal and/or inland waters, as perceived by populations, the appearance of which is determined by the action and interaction of natural and human factors;

b. "Landscape protection" means action to preserve a landscape's existing features, justified by its outstanding value derived from its special natural configuration or from the type of human activity for which it is used;

c. "Landscape management" means action to ensure the regular upkeep of a landscape and to harmonise changes which are necessary for economic and social reasons, from the point of view of sustainable development;

d. "Landscape planning" means action based on regional/spatial planning projects that are particularly forward-looking, with the aim of creating new landscapes according to the aspirations of the populations concerned;

e. "Landscape quality objective" means an expression by the competent public authorities of the aspirations of populations with regard to the landscape features of their surroundings.

Article 2: Scope

This convention applies to the entire European territory of the Parties and covers natural, rural, urban and peri-urban areas. It concerns ordinary or everyday landscapes no less than outstanding ones, since they all decisively influence the quality of the surroundings in which Europe's populations live.

Article 3: Aims

By this convention, each Party undertakes to ensure landscape protection, management and planning through the introduction of national measures and the organisation of European co-operation.

CHAPTER II - NATIONAL MEASURES

Article 4: Division of responsibilities

In its domestic legal system, each Party shall determine the best territorial level for implementing this convention according to its own division of responsibilities and in conformity with the principle of subsidiarity as defined by the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

Article 5: General measures

Each Party undertakes:

a. to establish the legal principle that landscape is an essential component of the surroundings of human populations, an expression of the diversity of their shared cultural, ecological, social and economic heritage and the foundation of their identity;

b. to define and implement landscape policies aimed at landscape protection, management and planning through the adoption of the specific measures set out in Article 6 below;

c. to establish procedures for the participation of the general public, local and regional authorities and other parties interested in the definition and implementation of the landscape policies mentioned in paragraph b. above;

d. to accommodate landscape systematically in its town and country planning policies and in its cultural, environmental, agricultural, social and economic policies, as well as in any other sectoral policies with possible direct or indirect impact on landscape.

Article 6: Specific measures

I. Awareness-raising

Each Party undertakes to conduct information and awareness-raising campaigns directed at public opinion, elected representatives and associations in order to arouse and increase awareness of the value of landscapes at present and in the future.

II. Training and education

Each Party undertakes:

a. to arrange training for specialists in landscape appraisal and operations;

b. to introduce multidisciplinary in-service training programmes for people in the various private- and public-sector occupational categories directly or indirectly concerned with landscapes;

c. to develop school and university courses which, in the relevant subject areas, address the values attaching to landscapes and the issues raised by their protection, management and planning.

III. Identification and evaluation

1. With the active participation of the interested parties, as stipulated in Article 5.c above, and with a view to improving knowledge of its landscapes, each Party undertakes:

a. to identify its own landscapes, including threatened landscapes, and to analyse their characteristics and the dynamics and pressures transforming them;

b. to determine the value of the landscapes thus identified, taking into account the particular values assigned to them by the interested parties.

2. These identification and evaluation procedures will gain from the exchanges of experience and methodology organised between Parties at European level pursuant to Article 8 of this convention.

IV. Landscape quality objectives

Each Party undertakes to define landscape quality objectives for the landscapes identified and evaluated, doing so by means of a public consultation process at local level in accordance with Article 5.c above.

V. Procedures

Taking into account the definition of landscape quality objectives, each Party undertakes to introduce procedures aimed at protecting, managing and/or planning landscape. These procedures may be based, for example, on those set out in the Appendix to this convention.

CHAPTER III - EUROPEAN CO-OPERATION

Article 7: Foundations

The Parties acknowledge that European landscapes constitute a common resource, for the protection, management and planning of which they have a duty to co-operate.

Article 8: Mutual assistance and exchange of information

The Parties undertake:

a. to render each other technical and scientific assistance in landscape matters through the pooling of experience and mutual disclosure of research projects;

b. to foster the exchange of landscape specialists in particular for training and information purposes;

c. to exchange information on all matters covered by the provisions of the convention.

Article 9: Transfrontier landscapes

The Parties undertake, wherever necessary, to set up international programmes for the protection, management and planning of transfrontier landscapes, in accordance with the provisions of this convention, relying as far as possible on local and regional authorities under the terms of the Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities in Europe.

Article 10: Implementation of the convention

1. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe shall be responsible for promoting and monitoring the application of this convention. To this end, it may call upon the help of other Council of Europe bodies.

2. In accordance with paragraph 1 above, the Committee of Ministers shall be responsible in particular for:

a. making recommendations to the Parties concerning measures to be taken for the purposes of the convention, where necessary drawing their attention to threatened landscapes;

b. adopting guidelines for general and specific measures aimed at the protection, management or planning of national landscapes

c. promoting public awareness-raising and vocational training schemes and furthering exchanges of information and research findings in relation to landscapes, in accordance with Articles 6.I and 6.II of this convention;

d. encouraging programmes for the protection, management and planning of transfrontier landscapes in accordance with Article 9 of the convention;

e. awarding the “European Landscape Prize” and determining the criteria for so doing, in accordance with article 11 of the convention;

f. drawing up a “List of Landscapes of European Significance” and determining the criteria for inclusion in this list, in accordance with article 12 of the convention;

g. preparing a report every 5 years on the state and trends of the Parties' landscape policies and sending this report to the Parties and, for information, to the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe of the Council of Europe;

h. facilitating European co-operation in landscape matters particularly by such means as the raising from public and private bodies of voluntary financial contributions for the application of this convention, over and above the Parties' normal contributions;

i. preparing any necessary amendments to the convention and examining those proposed in accordance with Article 18 below.

Article 11: European Landscape Prize

1. The "European Landscape Prize" is a distinction which may be conferred on local and regional authorities and their groupings that have instituted, as part of the landscape policy of a State party to this convention, a policy or measures to protect, manage and/or plan their landscape, which have proved lastingly effective and can thus serve as an example to other territorial authorities in Europe.

2. The Committee of Ministers shall define and publish the criteria on the basis of which it awards the "European Landscape Prize".

3. Applications for the “European Landscape Prize” shall be submitted to the Committee of Ministers by States. Transfrontier local and regional authorities may apply, as may groupings of local and regional authorities provided that they collectively manage the landscape in question.

4. The Committee of Ministers may award the "European Landscape Prize" to the territorial authorities selected, on the basis of an examination of applications submitted pursuant to paragraph 3 above and according to the criteria it has announced.

5. The award of the "European Landscape Prize" to local and regional authorities shall place them under an obligation to ensure the maintenance and lasting protection of the landscape areas concerned.

Article 12: List of Landscapes of European Significance

1. Any landscape of significance to all European populations may be registered on the "List of Landscapes of European Significance".

2. The Committee of Ministers shall define and publish the specific criteria on the basis of which a landscape may be registered on the "List of Landscapes of European Significance". These landscapes must already have been recognised as significant at national level;

3. Each Party to this convention may submit to the Committee of Ministers a request for landscapes in its territory to be registered on the "List of Landscapes of European Significance". Two or more Parties may submit a joint request concerning a transfrontier landscape.

4. Each request shall be accompanied by technical documentation identifying and evaluating the landscape in question and providing evidence of its European significance with regard to the specific criteria mentioned in paragraph 2 above.

5. On the basis of the requests submitted by the Parties in accordance with paragraph 3 above and with the criteria which it defines, the Committee of Ministers shall decide whether or not to register on the "List of Landscapes of European Significance" landscapes within a country or astride a frontier after consulting the state or states concerned and, if appropriate, the interested local or regional authorities and non-governmental organisations. The registration shall be made only with the consent of the state(s) concerned.

6. The "List of Landscapes of European Significance" shall be regularly updated and published.

7. The Parties undertake to ensure the special protection of landscapes registered on the "List of Landscapes of European Significance", in accordance with the principles set forth in this convention and subject to a register of conditions compiled by the Committee of Ministers upon the registration of each landscape.

8. The Parties concerned by the registration shall submit a report to the Committee of Ministers every 3 years.

9. The Committee of Ministers, after hearing the Party(ies) concerned and consulting the local and regional authorities and associations concerned, may remove a landscape from the "List of Landscapes of European Significance" where the conditions mentioned in paragraph 7 above are not complied with and it no longer meets the criteria provided for in paragraph 2 above.

10. Inclusion in the "List of Landscapes of European Significance" may be independent of or additional to inclusion in the World Heritage List established pursuant to the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

11. Scientific co-operation and co-ordination between the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe should be covered by an agreement between UNESCO and the Council of Europe, in accordance with Article 13.7 of the convention mentioned in paragraph 10 above.

12. The Committee of Ministers may instigate formal co-operation with other international organisations, non-governmental organisations and inter-governmental programmes involved in the protection, management and planning of the European landscape.

CHAPTER IV - FINAL CLAUSES

Article 13

The provisions of this convention shall not affect the application of more favourable specific provisions contained in other existing instruments of international law.

Article 14

1. This convention shall be open for signature by the member states of the Council of Europe. It shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

2. The convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiry of a period of three months after the date on which three member states of the Council of Europe have expressed their consent to be bound by the convention in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph.

3. In respect of any signatory states which subsequently express their consent to be bound by it, the convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiry of a period of three months after the date of the deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval.

Article 15:

1. After the entry into force of this convention, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may invite the European Community and any European State which is not a member of the Council of Europe, to accede to the convention by a majority decision as provided in Article 20 (d) of the Council of Europe Statute, and by the unanimous vote of the states Parties entitled to hold seats in the Committee of Ministers.

2. In respect of any acceding state, or the European Community in the event of its accession, the convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiry of a period of three months after the date of the deposit of the instrument of accession with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Article 16:

1. Any state may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, specify the territory or territories to which the convention shall apply, without limiting the scope stated in Article 2 above.

2. Any Contracting Party may at any later date, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, extend the application of this convention to any other territory specified in the declaration. The convention shall take effect in respect of such a territory three months after the date of receipt of the declaration by the Secretary General.

3. Any declaration made under the two paragraphs above may, in respect of any territory mentioned in such declaration, be withdrawn by notification addressed to the Secretary General. Such withdrawal shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiry of a period of three months after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary General.

Article 17:

1. Any Contracting Party may, at any time, denounce this convention by means of a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

2. Such denunciation shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiry of a period of three months after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary General.

Article 18:

1. Any Party may propose amendments to this convention.

2. Amendments shall be submitted in writing to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and forwarded by him at least two months before the meeting of the Committee of Ministers to the member states of the Council of Europe and to any signatory state and Contracting Party.

3. The Committee of Ministers shall adopt any amendment by a three-quarters majority of votes cast. Any amendment shall be submitted to the Parties for acceptance.

4. Any amendment shall enter into force in respect of the Parties which have accepted it on the first day of the month following the expiry of a period of three months after the date on which three Council of Europe member states have informed the Secretary General of their acceptance. In respect of any Party which subsequently accepts it, such amendment shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiry of a period of three months after the date on which the said Party has informed the Secretary General of its acceptance.

Article 19:

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall notify the member states of the Council of Europe, any signatory state having acceded to this convention and the European Community, if it accedes, of:

a. any signature;

b. the deposit of any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession;

c. any date of entry into force of this convention in accordance with Articles 14, 15, 16 and 18;

d. any report or decision established pursuant to Articles 10, 11 and 12;

e. any notification made under Article 17;

f. any other act, notification, information or communication relating to this convention.

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this convention.

Done at , this , in English and French, both texts being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall transmit certified copies to each member state of the Council of Europe and to any state or to the European Union should they be invited to accede to this convention.

APPENDIX TO THE DRAFT EUROPEAN LANDSCAPE CONVENTION

Examples of specific legal, administrative, fiscal and financial measures for landscape protection, management and planning

1. Drawing up long-range programmes or plans to determine the nature of the landscapes that will be passed on to future generations.

2. Preparation of landscape plans at local or regional level, in particular for severely deteriorated or rapidly developing areas, including, where appropriate, the creation of new landscapes according to the aspirations of the populations concerned.

3. Consideration of landscape issues when programmes concerning protected natural areas and cultural sites are being defined and implemented.

4. Creation of a special status for landscapes that necessitate a specific protection measure or other type of action on account of their quality, rarity, historical and/or natural and/or other specific significance.

5. Inclusion of landscape aims and policies in existing town and country planning instruments at national, regional and local level, with particular emphasis on consideration of the landscape's value in building permit application files, and the inclusion of landscape considerations in environmental impact studies.

6. Accommodation of landscape quality objectives in major public works and infrastructure projects and in sectoral policies on the environment, agriculture, forestry, transport, social, cultural and industrial development and the future of the mining and tourist industries.

7. Introduction of financial and/or fiscal incentives aimed at achieving more effective landscape protection, management or planning. Such measures should be adapted as far as possible to the different kinds of landscapes and to the needs of the local and regional authorities concerned.

8. Encouragement to all public or private bodies to draw up landscape protection, management and/or planning contracts with farmers, landowners or non-governmental organisations.

9. Injunctions to private owners of property in an area where the landscape has been identified and evaluated to take measures, in accordance with the landscape quality objectives previously defined, for the protection, management or planning of the landscape which is chiefly under their management.

10. Requests to public, semi-public and private bodies, including non-profit-making bodies, at national, regional and/or local level to take landscape protection, management or planning measures in respect of the areas which they own or manage, and to provide public access where appropriate.

11. In urgent cases, intervention by the responsible public authorities, which may delegate this task to non-governmental organisations concerned, in order to protect and safeguard exceptional or seriously threatened landscapes.

12. Where necessary and in cases where this constitutes the sole means of protecting a landscape, direct intervention by the public authorities in order to acquire a property on an amicable basis or by means of compulsory purchase with payment of due compensation.

1 Debated by the Congress and adopted on 27 May 1998, second sitting (see doc. CG (5) 8, draft Recommendation, presented by François PAOUR, on behalf of Pierre HITIER, Rapporteur)

2 With the support, inter alia, of the Swedish Agency for Environment Protection, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Planning and Fisheries, the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, the English Countryside Commission, the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Reactor Safety, the French Ministry of the Environment and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).



 Top

 

  Related Documents
 
   Meetings
 
   Other documents