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In recent times the term "landscape" has become very popular. At all levels of science, policy or tourism people talk about natural landscapes, cultural landscapes or just landscape as such. We have seen a number of terms becoming important, modern and „in“: landscape planning, landscape development, landscape management, landscape architecture. But what lies behind these words? Is it a marketing strategy for specific regions, selling landscapes of outstanding beauty, is it a reaction to an environment and a society changing ever more quickly and more violently? Or is it all about bureaucratic structures and funding possibilities? The European Landscape Convention provides an answer to all these questions. It stresses the importance of landscape for society and all human beings in easy to understand, straight forward words. It offers a simple and holistic definition of the term landscape. And it seeks a sensible and sustainable development for the landscape. The European Landscape Convention does not classify landscapes as valuable and less valuable, beautiful and ugly, good and bad landscapes. It seeks a sensible development of all landscapes according to their specific needs and situation.
The European Landscape Convention was developed in a long process from an initiative of the Council of Regions of the Council of Europe. It was published in Florence on October 20 2000 and opened for signature by the member countries of the Council of Europe and associated states. As a convention of the Council of Europe it is a framework law, which has to be implemented in a number of stages. The states signing the convention first express their general interest. After signing the convention it has to undergo a Parliamentary process within in the signatory state, according to the constitution and laws of that state. Once this is complete, the convention will be ratified. With the ratification it becomes part of the national law but still has to be implemented through legislative and administrative processes. Only when a certain number of states have ratified a convention will it come into force. This happened with the European Landscape Convention on March 1 2004. At first glance that may sound like a long time, but for an international convention it is quite an achievement and a noteworthy success.
You find the text of the European Landscape Convention in the two official linguistic versions here
The Convention is writen in English and French, both texts being equally authentic. Other linguistic versions have not the same legal status. Some parties have prepared a certified translation for their official use.
The different linguistic versions of the ELC published on our website are identically to the following documents.
The explanatory report is published on the website of the Council of Europe.
This document contains a series of theoretical, methodological and practical guidelines for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention. It is intended for parties to the convention who wish to draw up and implement a national landscape policy based on the convention. It puts forward proposals taking account of advances and developments in the concept of landscape in Europe and of the diverse existing and practical experience in applying the convention.