On 23 February 2008, 40 representatives of 26 Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from Italy, Germany; Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands met to launch the CIVILSCAPE network. This network of NGOs has been founded to facilitate and encourage people to connect to their landscape and feel responsibility for it. CIVILSCAPE's objective is to support the Florence Convention (the Council of Europe's Landscape Convention).
The activities to be organized by CIVILSCAPE will include awareness raising for the qualities of landscape, international exchanges of experience and knowledge about landscape management and planning, the development of a common strategy to influence landscape policies, and the identification of joint international projects.
The meeting took place in Villa Careggi, a 15th century Medici Villa in Florence. Massimo Gregorini, Director of Landscape in the Tuscan Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Trade stated: ‘The foundation of CIVILSCAPE is an essential step in the process of carrying the Florence Convention into society. We are pleased to co-operate and facilitate this initiative, and we offer working space in the Villa Careggi for the network's office, together with the other two networks around the Florence Convention, ENELC and UNISCAPE.'
An action plan was drafted by members. In addition to current members, twelve additional NGOs have expressed an interest in joining CIVILSCAPE in the near future. Gerrit-Jan van Hewaarden of Landschapsbeheer in the Netherlands was nominated President, and Bas Pedroli of PETRARCA European Academy for the Culture of Landscape as Secretary.