International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)
- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
Resolution to be put forward to Rio+20
Towards a UNESCO International Landscape Convention
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
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
? 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
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
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
? 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
? 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
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