Florence, 20 October 2000
Why a landscape convention?
... has an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields, and constitutes a resource favourable to economic activity and whose protection, management and planning can contribute to job creation;
... contributes to the formation of local cultures and ... is a basic component of the European natural and cultural heritage, contributing to human well-being and consolidation of the European identity;
... is an important part of the quality of life for people everywhere: in urban areas and in the countryside, in degraded areas as well as in areas of high quality, in areas recognised as being of outstanding beauty as well as everyday areas;
... is a key element of individual and social well-being and ... its protection, management and planning entail rights and responsibilities for everyone."
Preamble to the European Landscape Convention.
A key factor in individual and social well-being and people's quality of life, the landscape contributes to human development and serves to strengthen the European identity. It plays an important public interest role in the cultural, ecological, environmental and social fields and is a valuable resource conducive to economic activity, notably tourism.
Developments in agriculture, forestry, industrial and mineral production techniques and in regional planning, town planning, transport, infrastructure, tourism and recreation and, at a more general level, changes in the world economy have in many cases led to the destruction of landscapes, or rendered them featureless.
While every citizen must certainly play a part in preserving the quality of the landscape, public authorities have a duty to define the general framework for ensuring this quality. The convention establishes the general legal principles which should serve as a basis for adopting national landscape policies and establishing international co-operation in such matters.