Sustainable development: On top of the agenda

Sustainable development

For the Council of Europe, economic progress must not compromise the key assets of humanity: the quality of the environment and landscapes, human rights and social equity, cultural diversity and democracy.

The application of this holistic approach to sustainable development requires a dramatic change in the culture of societies. Caring for the planet and safeguarding resources for future generations need to become genuine principles guiding the decisions of individuals and communities.

By its actions, the Council of Europe has helped to shape an adequate legal environment in Europe in favour of biodiversity, spatial planning and landscape management, and sustainable territorial development based on the integrated use of cultural and natural resources.

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Bern Convention

The Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT)

The Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT) brings together representatives of the 47 Council of Europe member states in pursuit of a shared objective: promotion of the territorial dimension of human rights and democracy with a view to sustainable spatial development of the European continent. (more...)

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The European Landscape Convention

The European Landscape Convention is the first international treaty on sustainable development based on a balanced and harmonious relationship between social needs, economic activity, the environment and the culture to be exclusively concerned with the valorisation of European landscape. Its purpose is to promote landscape protection, management and planning of European landscapes and to organise European co-operation on landscape issues. (more...)

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Bern Convention

The Bern Convention

The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats is a legally binding instrument which covers the continent's natural heritage in its entirety. Its aims are to conserve species and nature and in the framework sustainable development, recognising the need to preserve it and pass it on to future generations (more...)

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Protected areas

The European Diploma of Protected Areas

The European Diploma of Protected Areas was created in 1965. It is awarded to protected areas because of their outstanding scientific, cultural or aesthetic qualities; they must also be the subject of a suitable conservation scheme which may be combined with a sustainable development programme. (more...)