International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Demographic (1 hits),

Full Submission

Resolution to be put forward to Rio+20

Towards a UNESCO International Landscape Convention

General content:

a) Expectations:

We urge the Rio+20 conference to recommend the development of an International Landscape Convention (ILC).

b) relationship to existing proposals

This proposal deals with the relationship populations have with the landscape. This sets it apart from other charters and categorisations of a more scientific, or specifically delineated territorial nature and from those concerned with the protection, or sanctuary of more exclusively natural environments.

Whilst many of these documents may refer to the cultural, recreational, aesthetic and social aspects of landscape, they are seen as elements that play a supporting role as part of complex range of topics affecting a defined area. The distinctive nature of this proposal is that it deals with the experience people have of, and with the landscape, shaped by ideas, materiality and culture. It is an entirely different approach.

c) What are opinions on the implementation and how to reduce lags about it?

The aim is for the ILC to stimulate a more integrated, democratic approach that establishes the landscape as a holistic tool for planning, managing and creating sustainable development. Dealing with the protection of the past as well as the shaping of the future, it would recognise the vital connections between governance, culture, health and economics.

Rather than being an enforceable tool, it was agreed that the convention should:

? offer inspiration through principles and guidelines;

? encourage work across established institutional, geographical and disciplinary boundaries;

? provide leadership;

? share and rewarding good practice; and

? deal with the whole space, the rural and the urban, wilderness and man-made, the most treasured and memorable and as well as the unloved and degraded (see attached leaflets).

Recognising that different cultures have different ideas about the landscape, a convention will be comprehensive and overarching yet flexible, encouraging national, regional and local interpretation and application. The idea will empower communities and people who are concerned with economy, health, and sustainability of their culture and environment.

The urgent need for an international convention will capitalize on the intense interest in this proposal from across the world, and will give leadership, complement and reinforce the bottom up approach which has led to existing and proposed landscape charters in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay and Peru, national charters in Australia and New Zealand, regional charters in The Mediterranean, West Africa, East Africa and South Africa, and the European Landscape Convention (signed by 39 nation states).

d) What specific cooperation mechanisms, partnership arrangements or other means of implementation are expected to use and what is the term appropriate to adopt the proposed decisions and apply the measures?

Establishing the need for and shape of a proposed international landscape convention has been a collaborative effort. An expert seminar organised by and held at UNESCO in October 2010, was attended by 23 experts including lawyers, landscape architects, architects, geographers, planners, engineers, biologists, anthropologists, ecologists and developers, with representatives from Africa, Europe and North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Arab States, international NGOS including ICOMOS, IUCN, ICCROM, IFLA, ISOCARP, UIA, FIDIC, and other organizations including Council of Europe. It was also attended by representatives from the UNESCO Centre for Traditional Knowledge and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences and Legal Affairs and members of IFLA.

The report was circulated internally on 29th October, and distributed in mid November for comment. In January 2011 governments, officials and individuals were encouraged to inform the UNESCO ambassadors of the executive committee about the globally recognised need for an ILC. The groundswell of support for this proposal was overwhelming, with notices and messages on Facebook, Linked In and various blogs across the world, requests for articles in journals and newsletters, and letters of support from many international organizations, including ICOMOS, IUCN, ISOCARP and UIA, as well as national and regional institutions including RECEP-ENELC and CIDCE. The proposal was discussed at special meeting in UNESCO to celebrate the publication of National Register of the Historical Rural Landscapes, funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture Food and Forestry and the University Consortium for Industrial and Managerial Economics.

Although not adopted by the UNESCO Board in May 2011, the level of support for this important and vital initiative was such that we strongly believe that its adoption is a matter of time. As the proposal helps to promote sustainable development we believe the sooner it is adopted, the better, if possible by 2013.

4 Specific Elements

a. Objective of the Conference: Securing renewed commitment policy to achieve sustainable development, assessing the progress so far and the gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.

The quality of the environment is a key component of every society?s identity and robust economic growth. Certain remarkable, valuable, historical and beautiful landscapes are given sanctuary, but at present, the everyday landscape, the social, economic and physical context of our lives, has no champion. Fragmented into various components that are green, grey or blue, agricultural, historical or ecological, landscapes are often undervalued and neglected, seemingly belonging to everyone, but actually to no one.

b. Green economy in the context of sustainable development and Poverty Eradication: Opinions on how the green economy provide a means for achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions, and the eradication of poverty, what is its value added potential, experience to date, including what has worked and how to get good results, what are the challenges and opportunities and how to address these challenges and opportunities, and possible elements according to a final document on a green economy in the context sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Each week, across the world, communities are experiencing benefits, but also feeling the impacts of industrialisation, urbanisation, and the search for energy. Lives are endangered or affected by poor or badly planned development. Problems are caused by Demographic shifts and changing patterns of work and habitation, as well as climate change, the depletion of natural resources, de/reforestation, difficulties relating to food production, biodiversity, heritage, and a host of other issues relating to aspects of land use change and development. The quality of the landscapes of daily life is constantly being eroded. A more strategic and holistic approach is desperately needed to provide support to communities in dealing with these global threats and challenges.

c) Institutional framework for sustainable development priorities and proposals for strengthening the different pillars of sustainable development, -3 -11-42780 (S) to strengthen the integration of the three pillars on multiple levels - local, national, regional and international levels.

A new international convention would encourage a different way of thinking about the landscape by:

? Considering the landscape as a cultural and natural concept, a physical and abstract entity, having economic and social value.

? Focusing on the experience people have of their physical environment, dealing with the protection of the past as well as the shaping of the future.

? Recognising the vital connections between governance, culture, health and economics.

? Offering inspiration through principles and guidelines, encouraging work across established institutional, geographical and disciplinary boundaries.

? Providing leadership, sharing and rewarding good practice.

? Dealing with the whole space, the rural and the urban, wilderness and man-made, the most treasured and memorable and as well as the unloved and degraded, will help establish the landscape as a holistic tool for planning, managing and creating sustainable development.

d. Any proposal to improve the two issues. It is recalled that in resolution 64/236 described the priority of the Conference: "The Conference will focus, among others, the following issues, which will tested and perfected in the preparatory process: the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the frame institutional framework for sustainable development."

A UNESCO convention would encourage intergovernmental, transnational and public-private cooperation. Stimulating integrated policy making, unlocking greater value for people and the economy for now and in the future, it will help raise aspirations, reinforce democracy, encourage local culture and by recognising the true value of the landscape help ensure the creation, protection and long-term management of memorable, equitable and sustainable landscapes to improve the quality of life for all.

Kathryn Moore Chair of the IFLA Working Group for an International Landscape Convention

Desiree Martinez, President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects

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