It is the aim of IFLA Europe to recognise the work of exceptional organisations and people who believe that our way of perceiving and understanding the world – derived from our profession – could contribute to its development. The award was introduced in 2014 IFLA Europe General Assembly with the objective to recognise the work of exceptional people and organisations that believe that our way of perceiving and understanding the world – derived from our profession – could contribute to its sustainable development.
We are facing the shrinking of farmland and green spaces in competition for land, and the main problem in rural areas is the abandonment of traditional cultivation and intensification of agriculture. Rural Landscapes are an expression of human biodiversity linked to a wider concept of biodiversity. Landscape resilience is key to maintaining biodiversity and as such IFLA EUROPE believes on dynamic conservation strategies which allow biodiversity and essential ecosystem services to be maintained thanks to continuous innovation, transfer between generations and exchange with other communities and ecosystems.
We acknowledge the hard work of FAO through GIAHS as a Global Partnership Initiative on conservation and adaptive management, in Europe, to promote and create awareness about the natural landscapes but also agricultural practices that create livelihoods in rural areas while combining biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and tradition and innovation in a unique way. The wealth and breadth of accumulated knowledge and experience in the management and use of resources is a globally significant treasure that needs to be promoted and conserved and, at the same time, allowed to evolve. We believe that dynamic conservation strategies and processes could transform a current weakness into an opportunity to promote landscapes and communities through economic viability. We are recognizing the value of GHIAS for economic
viability of the system, the identification of environmentally sustainable strategies in the face of growing climate change, and the empowerment of small holder/traditional family farming and indigenous communities.
The Secretariat’s commitment to promoting the recognition of GIAHS in Europe in recent years has been recognized and supported by the activities in support of the Italian Association of Landscape Architecture (AIAPP) and by the Agricultural Landscapes Working Group of IFLA Europe.
As Landscape Architects, we establish a strong narrative with public and private stakeholders, to reconnect them with their landscape identity and geographical characteristics. Together, we can promote in Europe, ecologically based landscape planning by agroecosystems and using regenerative agriculture management and supporting small holders and family farming. We can “make landscape” while seeking an agricultural performance. IFLA EUROPE and its members realise fully the importance of your work and share FAO-GIAHS vision! We can all help acknowledge, enhance, protect, and manage these heritage landscapes, via a holistic approach of management including all possible stakeholders. We believe that Landscape Architects should play an important role in this process and provide you with their expertise on multiple issues that are important for fighting climate changes.
We therefore felt that we can find no better repository of our IFLA EUROPE 2023 AWARD than GIAHS program for Europe.
The handover ceremony took place during IFLA Europe General Assembly 13 October 2023 in Naples, Italy on theme ‘Lost Landscapes’. The ‘Lost Landscapes’ Conference, organised and hosted by AIAPP Italy, aimed to activate a discussion table in which points of views, lines of research, and practices of landscape architecture can confront and address the issues of rapid transformation of European landscapes, which occur improperly - despite their constitutive rules, in a homogenizing manner, causing inconsistent rips and scars - so that they lose their recognizability. Opening a reflection on how landscapes change or become something else by cutting the thread that binds them to their origin, letting go of something, losing characters and meanings and sometimes acquiring new ones, entails the necessary consideration of landscape architecture as the attitude of design most capable of interpreting the conditions of the ‘contemporary habitat’.
About European Parliament Resolution of 17 September 2020 on the European Year of Greener Cities 2022 (2019/2805(RSP))
“The importance of urban and green infrastructure - European Year of Greener Cities 2022”
The aim is to make urban environments greener and to increase awareness on the benefits of green spaces in an urban environment. These not only include environmental benefits but also benefits linked to health, culture and education. The European Year of Greener Cities will also explicitly focus on topics such as green infrastructure and greener public procurement. The European Parliament has stated that Involving cities is paramount for reaching the targets of the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.
The aims of the European Year of Greener Cities 2022 are to:
a. raise awareness of the benefits of green spaces in a built environment; introduce initiatives to increase the provision of green spaces, including near residential areas;
b. increase the quantity and quality of research and the development of new innovations in various fields of expertise, creating greener added value and enhancing quality of life in cities; provide targeted support for sustainable digitalisation in the EU and thus for start-ups and digital innovations; enhance the upscaling of green
c. encourage local authorities and citizens to take action and improve their neighbourhoods and environment, bringing them together as a community to increase their resilience and to reshape the future of their cities; increase the involvement of citizens in other actions and decision-making on the environment and the overall life of
d. create a culture of appreciation of green spaces and blue-green infrastructure; encourage urban development that respects the need for green spaces as an important aspect of quality of life in cities;
e. promote the use of climate-friendly materials and services through public procurement;
f. increase the number of green infrastructure projects; continue and add resources to the EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure;
g. connect existing initiatives and share best practices across the Member States, as provided for in numerous initiatives and strategies, inter alia on urban planning,
sustainable urbanism and infrastructure, nature-based solutions, green architecture, cleaner energy, pedestrian and cyclist mobility, efficient water resource management and sustainable and circular waste management on the basis of the waste hierarchy, which aims to achieve the target of zero waste or to reduce waste to a minimum through maximum use of recycling;
h. create a roadmap for greening EU cities and maintaining green spaces by 2030, conveying the principle of ecological urbanism as a means to encourage harmonious links between rural and urban environments and to acknowledge their interdependence and the need for a bidirectional relationship;
i. undertake educational activities aimed at various audiences with content tailored to the target group, in particular children;
j. encourage initiatives to reduce urban traffic, and promote and invest in public transport;
k. phase out the use of pesticides and herbicides in urban areas to protect residents and urban biodiversity;
l. ensure the broadest possible participation of environmental NGOs in environmental protection and education activities;
m. significantly increase urban roofing and facade greening to improve the urban climate, air quality and insulation;
n. support urban gardening and the safeguarding and development of allotment areas as well as urban school gardening facilities throughout the EU, as these are an important pillar of environmental education for children;
12. Calls on the Commission to take swift action to improve air quality in cities, particularly by reducing emissions through new urban mobility solutions that favour more efficient and environmentally sustainable public transport options;
13. Highlights the importance of promoting and enabling citizen participation in the greening of urban areas and the maintenance of green areas through their involvement in sustainable spatial planning and implementation phases as appropriate, in order to achieve sustainable urban planning solutions, create ownership of relevant actions and have socially inclusive, resilient and low-emission cities that are attractive to their citizens; considers it important to ensure that members of the public are aware of how they can contribute to greening their cities, maintain green spaces and transform them into healthier environments; encourages municipalities and regions to support green initiatives submitted by citizens to the greatest extent possible and develop sponsorship projects for open spaces; urges municipalities and regions to adopt and implement ambitious initiatives for green cities;
14. Urges the Commission to continue supporting ambitious measures to improve energy and resource efficiency; urges the Commission to help secure adequate funding for actions that contribute to sustainable urban development and green infrastructure, such as innovation partnerships and joint procurement schemes between EU cities; urges the Commission to help enhance the collective power of cities in order to quickly scale up efficient solutions; urges the Commission to support private sector participation via public-private partnerships, a more ambitious European Investment Bank programme and incentives for SMEs, which can play a crucial role in developing innovative sustainable solutions;
15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and to the national parliaments.
European Parliament Resolution available here: European Year of Greener Cities - initiative by European Parliament
The Executive Vice President Timmermans will address the participants of the 2021 IFLA Europe General Assembly which will take place on 22-24 October 2021 in Granada, Spain.
Urban, agrarian and rural, coastal and natural landscapes require, today more than ever, the adequate protection, planning and management, as stated in the European Landscape Convention in 2000. More recently, the Paris Agreement, the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the EU Green Deal outlined a clear roadmap to curb climate change. Mitigation and adaptation specify measures to reduce greenhouse gases, on the one hand, and to adapt our environment to new climate scenarios, on the other. Landscape Architects seek to find new ways to ensure sustainability through the valuation of nature and ecosystem services, to provide qualitative and healthy landscapes, as well as preserving collective memory, heritage and culture, and creating places that anticipate social and economic well-being. The landscape is in the centre of all eyes and Landscape Architects have a lot to contribute, through their expertise and holistic approach.
IFLA Europe is embracing and supporting European Commission and Executive Vice President Timmermans’ collective ambition for enforcement and implementation of EU laws and instruments on climate, energy, environment and related policies, establishing a new climate culture in Europe under a European Climate Pact — bringing together regions, local communities, civil society, industry and schools- enhancing and promoting the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, progressing on the circular economy and the ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy for sustainable.
Frans Timmermans is Executive Vice-President of the Commission, leading its work on the European Green Deal – Europe’s roadmap to becoming the first climate-neutral continent. In this role, Frans Timmermans is responsible for implementing the European Green Deal and the first European Climate Law to enshrine the 2050 climate-neutrality target into EU law. He is in charge of stepping up the commitment to the 2030 emission reduction target, increasing it to at least 50% by 2030, and undertaking international negotiations on behalf of the EU to strengthen the ambition of other major emitters by 2021. He leads the Commission’s work on extending the Emissions Trading System and coordinates work on the Just Transition Fund – a key progressive policy from the European elections. He is developing the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the Commission’s zero-pollution ambition, the circular economy and the ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy, and many other initiatives.
Please watch the address at the 2021 IFLA Europe General Assembly in Granada, Spain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daHiUmbIknc
Madame President [Gkoltsiou], members of the Executive, Council, Delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
I wish I could be there with you in person but unfortunately, in these weeks of outreach before the Glasgow COP 26, my travelling schedule simply made it impossible to add a stopover in Granada. This is really a pity as I am truly honoured to be the recipient of your Europe 2021 Award.
As I am sure you all know, the word landscape actually comes from the Middle Dutch lantscap. In the 16th century, it began denoting the picture of a scenery as a subject of its own right. For the first time since the decline of the Roman Empire, the landscape was back to the foreground.
It was a sign of big changes to come: increasing attention to nature that would contribute to the incipient scientific revolution, and a more inclusive society as the rising middle class demanded landscape paintings as secular art for their homes.
It was also the beginning of your profession. One has to see something to understand it. Has to see all the visible features of an area of land to appreciate their import. And has to appreciate something to improve it – to landscape it.
Your profession is therefore one that, by its very essence, deals with the interconnectedness of things: the human, the social, the natural and the historical.
It is for this reason, as you rightly pointed out in the letter awarding me your prize, that your profession’s way of perceiving and understanding the world can contribute to sustainable development.
The capacity to see the whole and all of its parts at the same time, and to seek to bring them into a balance for a better living for all, that is the greatest contribution your
profession can give to the European Green Deal.
It is, after all, the same spirit infusing our European Green Deal - a holistic endeavour which is itself sort of a landscaping project. A project aiming to change our economic, technological and legal landscapes to alter the unsustainable and unfair state of the human and natural landscapes today.
Because this is where everything comes together. Landscapes are where we live, how we live, what we live and how we feel about it.
This is why it is so relevant to have complemented the regulatory and financial dimensions of the European Green Deal with the creative dimension of the New European Bauhaus – an initiative of which you are an important participant and to which you will contribute so much.
Shaping more beautiful, sustainable and inclusive forms of living together is, in the end, what we are aiming at.
I recently read how, from the moment the original Bauhaus architects opened façades, allowed light to enter into the building and guided people’s views towards the outside world, interiors could only be conceived in dialogue with exterior spaces.
I believe it is our joint and ever more urgent pursuit to bring forth a dialogue and balance between interiors and exteriors, between built and non-built, between the economic and technological forces relaying on nature, and the natural forces limiting our economic and technological possibilities.
Adaptation, mitigation, resilience.
Sustainability, inclusiveness, beauty.
Our goals are your goals.
From pave the world to save the world: it is only a one-letter difference but it will make all the difference.
Together we can make it. Thanks again for this award, for your commitment to the European Green Deal, and for your support.
The Award was ‘virtually’ received by Ms Chantal van Ham, EU Programme Manager Nature Based Solutions, Focal point for local and regional authorities
On this occasion, Ms van Ham addressed IFLA Europe General Assembly through pre-recorded message https://www.iflaeurope.eu/assets/docs/IUCN_video_for_IFLA_Europe_October_2020.mp4
“On behalf of the IUCN European Regional Office and our global organisation, we would like to thank you wholeheartedly for this award.It is an honour and presents a milestone in our journey to make the value of nature visible in our European landscapes.
I regret that we cannot meet in person, but in this way I hope to convey our deepest gratitude. Your actions by so many landscape professionals are important in creating awareness and to set the precedent for integrated landscape planning approaches that provide benefits for people, biodiversity and the economy. Bringing nature closer to people with all that it offers to our lifes, not in the least better health and well being, as we all experienced during the corona times, should be an essential part of all economic activities.
The European Green Deal states that all EU policies should contribute to conserving Europe’s natural capital. There is no future business if we do not make nature part of all our decisions and actions across sectors and in landscape planning. This can only be achieved if we restore biodiversity and ecosystems, the mission of this century.
Major changes are needed to achieve this mission and bundling IFLA’s creative ideas and practical experiences with IUCNs global network of expertise and best practices on biodiversity and ecosystem services and the implementation of Nature-based Solutions around the world, will make it possible to respond to a wide range of societal challenges, such a climate change, food, water and energy supplies and health.
IUCN looks forward to strengthen its cooperation with IFLA Europe through knowledge sharing, joint projects for up-scaling NBS and to mobilise investment to integrate nature better in our existing landscapes as well as in new development, to create a healthy liveable and just environment for future generation.”
The award was received by Dusty Gedge, President of European Federation of Green Roof Associations at the IFLA Europe General Assembly in Antalya 2019.
The Award was received on behalf of Europa Nostra by John Sell, Executive Vice President, at the IFLA Europe General Assembly, which took place in Bucharest, Romania, 1-4 June 2017.
The Award was presented to Mr Stefan Leiner, Head of DG Environment Unit for Biodiversity on behalf of Commissioner Carmenu Vella who on that occasion addressed IFLA Europe Delegates through a video message Commissioner Karmenu VELLA address
UNESCO has been granted the award for the leading role it has played since the adoption of the 1972 World Heritage Convention and since the inclusion of Cultural Landscapes on the World Heritage List in 1992. The award was received on behalf of the director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, Ms Mechtild Rössler, by Mr Bernd von Droste, former director of the World Heritage Centre.
IFLA Europe is one of five regional federations that comprise the International Federation of Landscape Architects and promotes the profession of landscape architecture across all countries of the European Union and the broader European region, recognising excellence in educational courses and promoting best practice operations in all member countries. UNESCO has a longstanding relationship with IFLA.
IFLA Europe granted the Silver Jubilee ‘Landscape and Democracy Award’ to the Council of Europe at their General Assembly held in Oslo, Norway, on 19 October 2014.
The ‘Landscape and Democracy Award’ for Mr Thorbjørn Jagland,Secretary General of the Council of Europe, was presented by Mr Michael Oldham, first President of IFLA Europe, in the presence of Mrs Liv Kristine Mortensen, President of the Council of Europe Conference of the European Landscape Convention, Mrs Ana Luengo, President of
IFLA Europe, Mrs Marina Cervera, Secretary General of IFLA Europe and the representatives of the National Associations of IFLA Europe.
The Award was given to Mrs Maguelonne Déjeant-Pons, Executive Secretary of the European Landscape Convention, who represented the Secretary General on this occasion.