The Council of Europe (Territorial and landscape planning division) organised the 5th Workshops Meeting for the application of the European Landscape Convention in Girona on 28 and 29 September 2006, in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Territory and Biodiversity of the Ministry of the Environment of Spain, the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and Public Works of the Government of Catalonia, the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia and Girona City Hall.
The purpose of the European Landscape Convention, a new intergovernmental treaty, is to promote the protection, management and planning of European landscapes, and the organisation of European cooperation on these subjects. As a Convention which believes in sustainable development, it aspires to the encouragement of a harmonious balance between the four basic dimensions of sustainability: social, ecological, cultural and financial. Twenty-five Member States of the Council of Europe have already ratified the Convention and another eight have signed it. In this sense it is important to note that Antonio Serrano, Secretary General for Territory and Biodiversity of the Ministry of the Environment, proposed that Spain also should ratify it.
The European Landscape Convention provides that 'Each Party undertakes to define landscape quality objectives for the landscapes identified and assessed, after public consultation'. These landscape quality objectives mean 'for a specific landscape, the formulation by the competent public authorities of the aspirations of the public with regard to the landscape features of their surroundings'.
In this line, the Workshops Meeting has proposed moving from theory to practice in what refers to the application of these objectives. The four Workshops in which the Meeting was organised were the following:
- identification and assessment of landscapes
- landscape quality objectives and the application of specific landscape policies
- the experience in Spain
- what is the future?
The Workshops have demonstrated that landscape is the daily context of the life of the people and a precious palimpsest, often the result of balanced and sustainable growth. In its power of revealing human activities, landscape touches the hearts of human beings.
The results of the Workshops Meeting will be presented to the next Conference of the Contracting States and Signatories of the European Landscape Convention, which will take place in Strasbourg, in the Palace of Europe, on 22 and 23 March 2007.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia for their work and their well-known and exemplary contribution in the application of the European Landscape Convention.
Head of Spatial Planning and Landscape Division Council of Europe - DG IV firstname.lastname@example.org