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Point of view: So the landscape has a future

Špela Berlot, Managing Director of CIPRA Slovenia (c) Katarina Žakelj

The guardians of the landscape are the people who live there. They must be involved in the decision-making and development processes, says Špela Berlot, Managing Director of CIPRA Slovenia.

The Alpine landscape is a diverse mosaic. Sometimes idyllic, sometimes rugged, it reflects the past and present of the people who live there. But it is changing: agriculture, tourism, traffic routes, power generation – their infrastructures eat up and destroy the landscape. For the Alpine landscape to have a future, it needs protection, forward-looking planning and the involvement of local people.

The responsible authorities, the state and the municipalities are reacting too slowly, in an uncoordinated way and with a lack of ambition. There is no regular, open, integrative and solution-oriented dialogue between those who plan, develop and manage and those who live in the region. Binding agreements and a common understanding of protection, administration and development measures help to shape and manage the landscape responsibly. In the absence of cooperation between sectors and states, the sustainable use of the “resource” landscape is also at risk. A natural resource that is not renewable.

It is necessary to support good practices in dealing with landscape. Binding guidelines can help to encourage people to deal with the landscape in a sustainable and respectful manner. In the “Grounds for Landscape Policy” project, for example, an agreement has been formulated as the basis for rapid, coordinated, sustainable and ambitious decisions on how to deal with the landscape. In this way, approaches are created to link and coordinate the expectations, goals and actions of different areas and actors. Landscape thus contributes to making the development of a region a tangible experience as a joint process and an important element of personal and regional identity.