ITLA Congresses

The terraces, therefore, are landscapes, clues and signs of the culture of the peoples that inhabit them. They are the inheritance – tangible and intangible – passed down from generation to generation throughout history

Since its foundation in 2010, the International Terraced Landscapes Alliance (ITLA) has been committed to recovering the memory of the terraces and reinventing them as active resources that can be used to meet new social demands for: food, agriculture, leisure education, social interaction and finally quality of life with friendly, beautiful and safe landscapes in the face of natural risks.

The IV ITLA World Congress, to be held in March 2019, is an international meeting involving the meeting of local populations, heirs of peasant cultures (agricultural land owners, farmers, agricultural technicians, development technicians local, agro-industrial entrepreneurs, etc ...) with professionals, scientists and specialists from multiple disciplines (architects, geographers, agronomists, economists, anthropologists, etc ...) and interested citizens from different parts of the world.

I Terraced Landscapes World Congress

Mengzi, Yunnan Province, Peoples Republic of China

The First World Congress of Terraced Territories (November 2010, Mengzi) began the trajectory of the ITLA congresses by bringing together experts from different disciplines from seventeen countries of the world to reflect on and discuss terraced territories.

The organization of the above Congress was supported by international institutions (UNESCO, FAO, Ramsar Convention), and local (the government of the Red River prefecture, the Yunnan Institute for Terraced Landscapes, the Center for Research on Culture of the Hani minority, the Honghe University and the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences).

During the I Congress, the main issues that linking the terraced landscapes of the world were discussed: their risks, their potentiality and the urgent need to join together  to create a critical mass and disseminate the importance of terraced territories, their traditional knowledge and the ways of living associated with them around the world. In turn, the I Congress had 5 parallel workshops and a Farmer’s Forum organized by a team from the University of Honghe.

The topics discussed in these workshops were: he history and culture of terraces, the impact of tourism on them, their production of organic agriculture, the management of World Heritage Sites and the policies and regulations that affect them.

This first Congress concluded with the Honghe Declaration and with the birth of an independent movement called the International Terraced Landscapes Alliance, an organization among whose founding members are the participants who were present and brought to life the national – or supranational – sections bringing together experts and citizens who jointly document and build the future of the wonderful works that make up terraced landscapes. ITLA currently has more than 200 affiliates, professionals and activists from more than 20 countries.

II Terraced Landscapes World Congress

Cusco , Perú.

The II Terraced Landscapes World Congress was held in May 2014. A large group of farmers from different Andean areas of Peru attended alongside 150 Peruvian and international researchers (Japan, China, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Bolivia and the United States) as well as NGO activists and technicians from Peruvian public institutions.

This Congress was organized by the Andean Sustainable Development Consortium (CONDESAN) and the Bartolomé de Las Casas Center (CBC) with the support of the Ministries of Agriculture and Irrigation and the Environment of Peru, the Regional Government of Cusco, the Provincial Municipality of Cusco and the National University of San Antonio Abad of Cusco. It was financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through the AGRORURAL Program; the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); with funds from the development organization of Switzerland (Helvetas) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (COSUDE) via the Program for Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC Peru); the Episcopal Mission of the German Catholic Church (MISEREOR); the Catholic Committee against Hunger and Development (CCFD “Terre Solidaire”) of France and the Belgian Organization for Development Cooperation Broederlijk Delen.

The Congress was conceived as a meeting of cultures, knowledge, experiences and dialogue between specialists, farmers, professionals, academic researchers and officials of the different administrations involved. In order to do this, a decision was made to combine different means of presentation and visualization to generate a participative, flexible and enriching environment, breaking with the rigidity and speed of the presentations in more formal congresses

The presentations of the works and discussion sessions were structured around five thematic lines: water, soils and ecosystem services associated with climate change; agro-biodiversity, food sovereignty and food and nutrition security; territorial management, social organization and local cultures; modern and local technologies and tools; and governance, national and international policies.

In Cusco, the venue of the congress, farmers from different Andean regions of Peru lived together in the Casa Campesina of the Bartolomé de Las Casas Center (Peasant Forum = intercultural dialogue), where the ceremony of asking permission from Mother Earth was held (Pachamama) on the eve of the inauguration of the congress. While in the Convention Center of the Municipal Palace of Cusco, community members from the Sacred Valley played the “pututos” (marine conch) as a call to participation at the beginning of the congress, as is customary to call the community assembly in Andean communities.

The most noteworthy proposals formulated in the conclusions of the congress were: to include local Andean or indigenous knowledge in the university studies (in the subject of scientific policies); to recognize the terraces as the source and base of small family and community agriculture in the production of healthy, quality food with rich biodiversity (on governance); to include the terraces in the laws on water resources, environmental management and water basins (in rural development policies, cultural, landscape, tourism and spatial planning) and, finally, to consider the terraces in strategies of adaptation to climate change for their important role in rainwater harvesting and hydrogeomorphological water.

The III Terraced Territories World Congress

Venice and Padua (and other sites: Costiera triestina, Topolò-Dordolla, Canale di Brenta, Valpolicella and Colline di Valdobbiadene, Trentino, Ossola, Alto Canavese-Valle D’Aosta, Chiavari-Lavagna-Vernazza, Ischia and Costiera Amalfitana, Pantelleria), Italy


The III Terraced Landscapes World Congress “Choosing the Future” was held in October 2016. It was attended by more than 250 people from some 20 countries of the world. The institutions that collaborated in the organization of the congress were: the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), the Council of Europe, the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), IBO Italia (an NGO that operates in the field of volunteering for the protection of historical, cultural and environmental heritage), Italy Nostra (National Association for the protection of the Historical, Artistic and Natural Heritage), the Italian Alpine Club, the Research Institute for Hydrological Protection (IRPI), the Government of the Veneto region, ITLA Italy, the University of Padua, the University of Venice, the Regional Federation of Agricultural and Forestry Engineers of the Veneto region, the Veneto Regional Federation of Architects Associations, the Geologists Association of the Veneto Region and the Federation of Engineers of Veneto.

During the Congress, the ITLA Manifesto was approved along with a proposal to strengthen social movements committed to securing the future of the terraces through different ways of identifying, protecting and recovering them in mountainous and coastal areas of the world. The first involves the commitment to promote the recovery and sustainable management of terrace systems, while the second is a list of initiatives or actions to be carried out by the different agents who contribute to the recovery of terraced lands.

Preceding events of the IV ITLA World Congress 2019

The IV Congress has been preceded by a series of events (workshops and seminars) that have taken place course of 2018 and are ongoing until March 2019, whose results and experiences will serve as the basis for the sessions and field work of the IV Congress. It should be noted, therefore, that the IV Congress is not limited to a closed event in itself but develops and exposes the results of rigorous and continuous work.


San Sebastian de La Gomera, La Gomera
Phase I 5-8 February 2018 / Phase II and Phase III October 2018
Organized by the Cabildo de la Gomera, the Landscape Observatory of the Canary Islands Government and ITLA.


Garachico, Tenerife
April 27-May 5 2018
Organized by Fundación CajaCanarias, the Canary Islands Landscape Observatory of the Canary Islands Government and ITLA.


Santa Lucia de Tirajana, Gran Canaria
June 12-19 2018
Organized by the Government of the Canary Islands, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the Landscape Observatory of the Canary Islands Government, ITLA and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria


Las Palmas of Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria
21-23 November 2018
Organized by the Government of the Canary Islands, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the Landscape Observatory of the Canary Islands Government, ITLA, UNISCAPE and the School of Architecture of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria


The candidature to host the IV ITLA World Congress in the Canary Islands and Macaronesia was presented as the final venue for the Island of La Gomera, in the framework of the III ITLA World Congress held in Padua, Italy. The application was approved by an absolute majority in the Assembly of ITLA held on October 14, 2016.

The presented candidature supported by the Government of the Canary Islands and sponsored by the Cabildo de La Gomera was coordinated by a work team coordinated by the Canary Islands Landscape Observatory and began preparing in 2017 until the general fundaments for the organization of the IV Congress were concluded at the beginning of 2018, when they were approved by the Cabildo de La Gomera and by the Canary Islands Government in coordination with ITLA, the organization of the Congress.

The Government of the Canary Islands, through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the public company Canarias Cultura en Red (CCR) and the Canary Islands Landscape Observatory, assumed responsibility for the overall organization and coordination of the IV Congress, with the participation of the Cabildo de La Gomera and with the will of commitment and active participation of all the Cabildos of the Canary Islands and of the invitation made and committed to by the Governments of Madeira, Azores and Cape Verde.

Framing itself as a territorial context, the Fourth Congress in Macaronesia will therefore be a unique opportunity to share the vision of various experts and informed persons in the field at a global level, which the experiences of the works and explorations of the group of islands which make up the archipelagos of the Canary Islands, Madeira, the Azores and Cape Verde will contribute to.

The Congress also has the support and sponsorship of the two Canary Universities: the University of La Laguna and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as well as the Caja Canarias Foundation in its educational, cultural and research dimension and thereby guaranteeing the scientific rigor which this event requires and undoubtedly offers alternatives to manage and project this type of especially important territory..

To fulfill these actions/objectives, the Canary Islands Landscape Observatory has established a collaboration protocol with institutions and associations with which they share the need to study these territories on the basis of the guidelines and indications defined in the European Landscape Convention and in the Cultural Heritage of UNESCO and FAO, in addition to those emanating from the ITLA Alliance and the principles and documents of the previous congresses held in China, Peru and Italy.

Within these collaborations, special mention is given to the UNISCAPE network at the international level, a network of European Universities inspired by the values ​​and principles of the European Landscape Convention; The network of international university centers and international institutes such as the Right Livelihood College.

The Group of Researchers involved in the European Living.Stones project that aims to regenerate the sustainability of European rural landscapes taking advantage of the complex added value of its stone heritage as a driver of well-being, local identity and economic development.

The CICOP foundation is an international center for the conservation of heritage. The International Center for Research CERVIM, International Organization of Vine and Wine, has been responsible for the valuation and safeguarding of heritage (created by mountain viticulture and on steep slopes and on small islands).

The Organizing Committee firmly believe in the multidisciplinary values ​​that represent the terraced territories around the world. We are convinced that the future well-being of the terraces and their inhabitants lies in the exchange of knowledge, the dialogue of knowledge and the generation of an awareness and sensitivity of all those who are and have been involved in these strategic territories.

Based on the experiences of the previous congresses and with the aim of motivating a creative search and an open and innovative participation, we declare our willingness to integrate with the institutions, organizations and associations, to participate and offer their experiences that will contribute to the revaluation of the terraced territories in the world.