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81. Abril-juny 2024
Quarterly Bulletin of the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia

Back to the Convention

Riccardo Priore
Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Landscape Convention

In 2006, I was invited by the then Director of the Observatory, Joan Nogué, to write a text, as an 'Observer', on the first issue of Landscap-e. As a civil servant of the Council of Europe, I had the privilege to coordinate the drafting of the European Landscape Convention, including the intergovernmental negotiations for its adoption and opening for signature in Florence on 20 October 2000. I devoted my time and energy in 2006 to developing a co-operation network that could facilitate the implementation of the Convention, both at academic level and in collaboration with local and regional authorities.

That was my perspective at the time. Today, in 2024, almost 20 years later, it is the new Director of the Observatory, Pere Sala i Martí, who invites me to write a text as an ‘Observer’ on Landscap-e, in my capacity as Secretary of the Council of Europe Landscape Convention - this is the new title of the treaty as from 1 July 2021.

Since 2006, besides the name of the Convention, much has changed. It is there for all to see that the environmental problems afflicting life on the planet have worsened. New challenges have taken shape and substance: among them, the management of climate change, the energy transition, the recovery of local economies after a pandemic in a globalisation that shows all its limits. I believe that one thing has not changed: the quality of the landscape still and always represents a common interest capable of motivating a strong social demand and the necessary political will to develop innovative and inclusive public action for good land governance and environmental protection - at local, regional, national, and international level - for the sake of our quality of life. In this, the States' commitment to landscape quality, extended to the entire national territory, as established by the Convention, represents a contribution to the great challenges we are facing. Along this road, the Convention, with its detailed regulatory framework, is an evergreen guide and tool. In order to cope with the epochal changes we are witnessing, after a period of suspension following the retirement of the previous Secretary to the Convention, the States Parties will now be able to resume and reinforce their co-operation within the Council of Europe. This will allow the Convention to reach its full potential at a critical time for our planet. In this change of pace, the States Parties will be supported - besides a reinforced and renewed Secretariat - by the decision taken by the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe to consider the environment a visible priority of the Organisation (cf. ). Final Declaration of the Reykjavik Summit, Appendix V, 16-17 May 2023 In this context, the Convention was explicitly recognised as one of the Council of Europe's flagship instruments, capable of contributing to the strengthening of the link between human rights and the environment, and countering the threefold planetary crisis of pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss. The Conference of States Parties to the Convention will meet in Strasbourg on 29-30 October 2024. On this occasion, the representatives of the States concerned will be called upon to discuss the relaunch of the Convention and to decide on the programme of work for the coming years. This discussion will take place bearing in mind that on 20 October 2025, the Florence Convention will be a quarter of a century old: an opportunity to take stock of more than 20 years of implementation and to discuss how the Convention can continue to be a privileged instrument in the public regulation of the relationship between the environment and human being.

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