Background to the Convention
The European Landscape Convention was adopted by the Council of Ministers in 1999 and opened for signatures by member states in 2000. By 2004 the requried number of signatures had been recevied to bring the convention into force. To date 30 of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe have signed the convention. The UK signed up in 2006 and the convention came into effect in the UK in 2007. Like the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Landscape Convention is an international treaty which creates clear obligations on the UK government, devolved governments, regional and local government and all departments and agencies of these governments.
The convention provided for the creation of a Landscape Award of the Council of Europe, but this did not actually come into existence for a number of years. The member states agreed the rules for the Awards in February 2008 and the first round of awards then opened.
The European Landscape Awards follow the same pattern as the Eurovision Song Contest – each country which wishes to enter holds its own national contest, and the national winner then goes forward to a Europe-wide round of judging.
Once the rules for the Awards were agreed in early 2008, the countries wishing to take part held their national selection processes. In September 2009, the first group of member states submitted entries for the Council of Europe Landscape Award. Because the Awards were new and there was not much time to prepare, only eight countries took part – the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The UK did not take part in this round. After completing their national selection in 2008, the eight entering countries submitted their winners to the Council of Europe for judging in 2009.
The 2009 entries and the results can be viewed on the Council of Europe website.
The winner was France, for the Parc de al Deûle, with the Spanish entry, Parque de Christina Enea, receiving a special mention.