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The Alpine Convention Newsletter is published quarterly by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention.
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Dear colleagues and friends,
 
I would have hoped to end the year 2016 on a light note. Using this newsletter to highlight the many activities we have carried out, the numerous actions set, our substantive and promotional work, the meetings, the successes and perhaps not-so-big successes of the last months  – you name it.

Instead, we are forced to stand by yet another atrocious attack and mourn its victims. I was shocked when I saw the pictures from Berlin –  from the midst of a Christmas market that should actually be a place to relax, rejoice and spend a good time with family and friends. Well it was not to be, yesterday night at the Gedächtniskirche.

We think of the victims, we think of their families and friends, but we also think of our friends in Berlin, in Nice, in Paris, to name just a few.

Yet, apart from all the suffering these attacks cause, they are also a wake-up call. A wake-up call for all of us that we cannot allow hate to govern our politics, or the way how we engage with others or our societies as a whole.
 
I am sure that there are many answers that can and should be given to acts like that. One of them, I believe, is also that we need to do better in the way we cooperate, to do better in the way we shape our societies, and to do better in fulfilling our responsibilities vis-à-vis our fellow human-beings and those who will come after us.
 
With this in mind, the entire team of the Alpine Convention’s Permanent Secretariat wishes you and your loved-ones a peaceful and merry Christmas and an equally peaceful new year!
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Markus Reiterer

 
Handover from the German to the Austrian Presidency of the Alpine Convention

At the XIV Alpine Conference in Grassau (Germany) the Presidency of the Alpine Convention was handed over from Germany to Austria. Following the German motto “The Alps – a symbol of European diversity” with a work program aimed at the comprehensive policy of the Alpine Convention the work program of the Austrian Presidency goes to the heart of the Alpine Convention with the motto “Protect and Utilize” – “Schützen und Nützen”.
The Karawanks and the Alpine Convention

One of the first events under the Austrian Presidency of the Alpine Convention was a conference on cross border cooperation in the Karawanks region. The event took place in Tainach/Tinje on Friday 21 October 2016 and brought together decision-makers, representatives of municipalities from the region, experts and other interested parties. It focused on some of the most important topics for the region: demographic changes, sustainable tourism and green economy in the Alps and provided a welcome opportunity to discuss possibilities to improve and deepen cooperation in the region in the future.
Celebrating 25 years of the Alpine Convention and opening of the Austrian Presidency

To mark the 25 anniversary of the Alpine Convention that was signed in November 1991 in Salzburg, the president of the Alpine Convention, Federal Minister Andrä Rupprechter, opened the celebration  at the place, where the Convention was signed originally. He officially presented the program of the Austrian Presidency and illustrated the Austrian motto “protect and utilize”.

High level representatives from the Alpine Countries, members of the observer organizations and many friends of the Alpine Convention joined the celebration. Retired Minister Ruth Feldgrill-Zankel, who had signed the Alpine Convention for Austria in 1991, stated that there is still a high need to pursue the objectives of the Alpine Convention. The 25 years celebration also provided the setting for the promulgation of the fourth call of the
Constructive Alps Award. Minister Amann-Marxer from Liechtenstein while presenting the new call highlighted the importance of sustainable building and renovation as a key ingredient for a sustainable economy in the Alpine region.

Secretary General Markus Reiterer highlighted the fact that the Alpine Region is in a time of substantial change, which also underlines the importance of adapting to the new circumstances also in the way business is carried out in our region: “In a time of change simply more of the same cannot be the answer.” The Alpine Convention’s approach to reconcile economic needs and ecological requirements may be even more relevant today than 25 years ago.
THANKS!
 
The former German presidency of the Alpine Convention 2015-2016 would like to express its sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed, directly or indirectly, to the initiatives, activities and projects of the last two years. A successful presidency always depends on the commitment and support of all involved. Such a spirit of close cooperation is vital for the success of a presidency and for the Convention altogether.
 
Thank you. We look forward to continuing our joint work for the Alpine region.
Closing of the German Presidency - ALPS.GO.Culture! 2.0
 
In line with the motto of the German Presidency “The Alps – a symbol of European diversity” the diversity of culture and specifically language were at the center of the evening in scope of the festival “reading mountains”. Poets from almost all Alpine countries gave a poetic answer to the text “I desire the Alps” by Klaus Händl accompanied by traditional Alpine music of the Stubaier Freitagsmusig. Concluding two years of German Presidency of the Alpine Convention the second Alpine Languages Poetry Slam brought literary Alpine creativity to the capital city of Germany - Berlin.

The Federal Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks recognized the work done in the past years by the Contracting Parties, Bavaria, different departments of distinct Ministries and subordinate authorities inside Germany, the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Observer organizations. She furthermore highlighted: “Our Alps remind us every day of the responsibility to preserve the treasure or our nature for coming generations. The goal must be to combine the topics environment and economy – they are no opponents.”

More information can be found
here.
Follow-up to the climate action and energy efficiency in hotels and hospitality initiative
 
Following up on the workshop and online guide for climate change mitigation and energy efficiency in the hotel and gastronomy in the Alpine region, developed in the framework of the German Presidency of the Alpine Convention, the family-owned hotel Cyprianerhof in South Tyrol (Italy) underwent a successful stocktake of its energy performance. The audit took place as part of a project supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry under the export initiative for environmental technologies.
The audit based on the European standard EN 16247-1 was carried out by an energy expert from DEHOGA (the German Hotels and Restaurants Association) and coordinated by management enterprise adelphi research. The Damian family, owner of the hotel, had already implemented a number of environmental protection measures, but expects to tap further energy and cost savings potential by introducing a systematic energy management. HGV, the South Tyrol association of Hotels and Restaurants, and the regional marketing agency IDM support the project and will disseminate the experience gained. A practical guide will be published in the four Alpine languages.
Publication “Winter tourism and climate change
 
Climate change has consequences for environment, people and also affects the tourism industry. Especially winter tourism destinations in the Alps and low mountain regions recognize changes in demand.

The publication “winter tourism and climate change – impacts and adaptation strategies” deals with the following issues:
  • Germany and Bavarian Alps: how did the climate change and which consequences can be expected for winter tourism?
  • Emissions: What impacts on climate do have different types of winter tourism?
  • German market: Which destinations are in favor for the winter season and what are the travel motives and expectations of winter tourists?
  • Development of demand: How did alpine destinations perform within the last years?
  • Competitiveness and Sustainability: How can winter tourism offers in the Alps be developed sustainable?
The brochure was published within the scope of the Germany presidency of the Alpine Convention and the climate policy and research department of the Bavarian state ministry of the environment and consumer protection.

An English version will be available by spring 2017.
Conference on mountain farming

On the 4 October a conference on mountain farming took place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Federal Minister Christian Schmidt had invited relevant participants form all countries of the Alpine region.
 
The conference was started by the opening speeches of Minister Schmidt and the Slovenian Minister Židan. Representatives of governments and mountain farmers discussed with Secretary General Reiterer about diverse conditions, special difficulties and prospects of mountain farming. The work of the mountain farming platform was recognised and appreciated. The work of the mountain farmers and their positive influence on the cultural landscape and biodiversity the Alpine region was highlighted in the discussion manifold. The conference made clear that all stakeholders have to work together to maintain the special social and ecological value of mountain farming in the Alpine region. More information can be found here.
Best practice examples for a balanced development of renewable energies
 
At a dedicated session of AlpWeek on 12 October, the German Presidency released the report it had commissioned on “Best practices examples of renewable energy projects compatible with land use and nature protection in the Alpine area”. The report presents 27 already operational examples from 7 Alpine countries. It shows that the significant renewable energy potential of the Alpine region can often be used in a manner that observes nature conservation and avoids land use conflicts: particular attention must be given to mitigating the physical impact of the projects on nature and actively including the relevant stakeholders during planning, construction and operation of the project. Although some renewable technologies clearly have a greater impact on nature and a greater potential for land use conflicts than others – e.g. hydroelectricity compared to roof-top PV systems – there are sensible solutions to mitigate risks and, therefore, successfully develop further the renewable energy potential of the Alpine region. The report is available on the Alpine Convention website in the four Alpine languages. The results were also outlined at the conference “Energy of the Alps” on 15-16 December in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, both by the Secretary General in his opening talk and by CIPRA International in a Workshop on conflict prevention.
Youth Parliament meets the German delegation of the Alpine Convention in Berlin
 
On  December 2016 representatives of the Youth Parliament of the Alpine Convention from Sonthofen and Rosenheim met the German delegation in the Federal Ministry for the Environment in Berlin. They presented the results of the meeting of the Youth Parliament 2016 in Bassano del Grappa which focused on “Green economy in the Alps”.

We discussed synergies of the results of the YPAC meeting and the recommendations of RSA6 on Greening the Economy in the Alps.
 
Germany suggested that the YPAC could be involved in the process for the elaboration of the Action Programme for Green Economy in the Alpine Region as decided by the XIVth Alpine Conference in Grassau. Further details for the contribution of the YPAC have to be arranged.

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment supported the YPAC 2016.
Common spatial perspectives for the Alps
 
The ad hoc expert group on Spatial Planning of the Alpine Convention continues the work following the decisions of the XIV Alpine Conference in October. To set a new impulse for a sustainable spatial development of the Alps in line with the declaration for a sustainable spatial development in the Alps by the ministers for spatial planning of the Contracting Parties of the Alpine Convention a proposal for a research assignment to the program ESPON is currently under preparation. 
 
The proposal is a chance to gain practical and relevant analysis of actual need for stakeholders working for a sustainable development of the Alps and to strengthen the territorial cooperation among the Alpine countries. Common spatial perspectives are thus the aim of the project.
 
A meeting of some members of the ad hoc expert group on Spatial Planning concerning the project proposal took place end of November in Berlin.
XIV Alpine Conference & AlpWeek
 
The week 11-15 October 2016 in Grassau (Chiemgau) combined the Alpine Conference, Permanent Committee of the Alpine Convention, the AlpWeek and numerous exhibitions. A wide spectrum of Alpine topics and stakeholders came together leaving every component of the combined event with the impression, that the connection of the different activities enriched the single events. A high number of registered participants for the all parts showed an lively interest. During the XIV. Alpine Conference (13 October 2016 in Grassau, Germany) the topics of green economy in the Alps, the developments concerning EUSALP, Alpine protected areas as well as the multiannual work program 2017-2022 were discussed. More information and statements of the Ministers of Austria and Germany on this occasion are available in the
press release.  A choice of pictures can be found in our photogallery. The wide range of topics of the AlpWeek from demography, culture, quality of life and climate change is mirrored on the AlpWeek website, where most of the presentations of the sessions and some pictures are available. All documents of the Alpine Conference are available here.
Young Academics Award
 
During the AlpWeek in Grassau, the final phase of the Young Academics Award 2016 took place in the Herrenchiemsee Palace during the official reception given by the German Presidency of the Alpine Convention. The German Federal Minister for the Environment, Ms. Barbara Hendricks, awarded the winners personally, in the presence, of the Bavarian State Minister Ulrike Scharf and Secretary General of the Alpine Convention, Mr. Markus Reiterer.
 
The award, which reached this year its third edition, is aimed at recognizing, showcasing and of course awarding outstanding master theses carried out on relevant alpine topics. The theme of this year’s edition followed the topic of the sixth Report on the State of the Alps: “Greening the economy in the Alps”.

Young scholars from all over the Alpine arc and beyond submitted their works, covering a wide range of themes from different academic perspectives. Eventually, only eight of them reached the final phase and they were invited to Grassau to present their works to an international jury during an extremely interesting and engaging workshop. The jury was composed by Mimi Urbanc (Deputy Director of the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Hans-Joachim Hermann (Acting Head, German Federal Environmental Agency) and Antonio Ballarin-Denti (Professor of Environmental Physics, Catholic University, Milan).
 
Three main prizes have been assigned by the jury, together with two InfoPoint prizes, allocated by the Alpine Convention’s Infopoints. The winners are:
  1. Suzana Vurunić: “Developmental and Protective Evaluation of ecosystem Services of Slovenia” (Award: 1.000 €)
  2. Cristina Dalla Torre: “Alpine ‘marginal’ communities: territorial policies for sustainability and innovation. The case study of Val di Non (Italy)” (Award: 750 €)
  3. Alessandro  Betta: “Hybrid Alps. A technological anthropogeography” (Award: 500 €)
 
The two special prizes InfoPoint winners are:
  • Evelina Felisatti: “Landscape and identity: the cultivation of hemp in the Ossola Valley” (Domodossola InfoPoint)
  • Daisy   Barailler:  “The Tourism Protocol of the Alpine Convention: a comparative analysis in Aosta Valley and in the Province of Trento” (Grand Paradis InfoPoint).
You will find more pictures and information on our website!
Multiannual Programme
 
One key achievement of the Alpine Conference in Grassau has been the elaboration of the Multiannual Programme (MAP) for the years 2017 – 2022. The MAP identifies the main topics to be dealt with in the context of the Alpine Convention on a six years’ time span, thus allowing the contracting parties to cooperate and develop projects on a longer term than the single presidencies’ terms.

The following priorities have been identified for the period 2017 – 2022:
  • Priority 1: Focusing on people and culture

  • Priority 2: Taking action on climate change

  • Priority 3: Conserving and valuing biodiversity and landscape

  • Priority 4: Greening the economy

  • Priority 5: Promoting sustainable transport

  • Priority 6: Fulfilling a leading role in EUSALP

The new MAP also foresees a so-called “road map”, a list, to be updated every two years, of concrete actions and projects to be undertaken in each priority. The road map will allow a hands-on and practice- oriented approach to the implementation of each of the priorities.
Photo contest winners and Calendar of the Alpine Convention for the year 2017

Earlier this year, we have published a call for the best photos showing the Alps from a different perspective. We were very happy with the pictures that we got and it was a hard job to select 13 best photos that were published in the Alpine Convention Calendar for 2017. But we made it! Paying attention to selecting the best, but also most diverse photos from across the Alps we invite you to see the best photos here. If you didn’t get your copy of the calendar yet please let us know and we are happy to send it to you.
On-the-spot training for Chamonix Infopoint staff
 
After the Memorandum of Understanding between the Municipality of Chamonix and the Permanent Secretariat for the operation of the Infopoint in Argentière village house near Chamonix had been renewed in September, the involved staff members Nathalie Robert-Mayet and Catherine Berthet came to visit the Permanent Secretariat’s offices in Innsbruck and Bolzano/Bozen on 18-20 October. They were given first-hand information by several members of staff on the ongoing activities and deepened their knowledge on the ways the Alpine Convention is working. Future common projects were discussed, starting with the Reading mountains events which subsequently took place in Argentière and Chamonix in December.
Promising Climate Change action one year after the Paris Agreement
 
While constructive talks were enfolding at COP22 in Marrakech, on 16 November the Permanent Secretariat staged the fifth event in the Alpen-Forum-Innsbruck public evening discussions series, together with the alpS research centre, the research focus “Alpine Space – Man and Environment” of the University of Innsbruck, the Tyrolean Chamber of Agriculture and the Rural Advanced Training Institute. The participants exchanged with alpine farmers, representatives of the chamber of agriculture and scientists over Climate change and agriculture. The stakeholders agreed that agriculture is both a victim and a cause of climate change, and that unpredictability is the main challenge for farmers, requiring more resilience and flexibility. Numerous mitigation and adaptation strategies are being implemented. Direct marketing of local farm produce is possibly the most promising of all, benefitting to both farmers and the climate and basing of the growing awareness of consumers. At a side-event of the COP22 itself, the challenges faced by the Alps were presented jointly with those of the Pyreneans and the Carpathians by the Government of Andorra. The next major step for the Alpine Convention’s response to climate change will be the launch of the Alpine Climate Board institutionalised by the XIV Alpine Conference, in early 2017.
Reading Mountains Festival
 
With 7 days (from 5 to 11 December) and over 130 events the Reading Mountains Festival exceeded the expectations of everyone involved! Great partners and thousands of participants across the Alps and beyond celebrated Alpine literature, arts and culture in a magical way; with readings, exhibitions, meetings with authors, music and gastronomy from the Alps – all this under the umbrella of the Alpine Convention and in light of International Mountain Day. Thank you to each of the partners and special thanks to the German and the Austria presidency and the Land Tirol for the financial support for the initiative. If you missed our special edition of the Newsletter, you can find all the information on the events organized also on our
webpage.

 
Executive Board and second AlpGov Meeting in Slovenia
 
On the occasion of the Mediterranean Coast and EU Macro-Regional Strategies Week, the EUSALP Executive Board met on 26-27 September 2016 in Koper, Slovenia, to discuss the EUSALP communication strategy, the upcoming EUSALP presidencies and the importance of transversal cooperation among the nine AGs. Moreover, the Executive Board adopted the Rules of Procedure for the Executive Board and for the Action Groups (AGs). While the core set of rules must be applied by all AGs, the other rules can be adapted in every respect to the individual needs by the single AGs.
 
Following the Executive Board Meeting, the EUSALP Action Group Leaders met on 27-28 September 2016 in Izola, Slovenia, for the second AlpGov Meeting. The Board of Action Group Leaders addressed the potentials of horizontal cooperation among the AGs, as well as administrative aspects, such as the reporting to the Executive Board and to the Alpine Space Program. The meeting, which was chaired by the Bavarian Lead Partner of the AlpGov project, served to make familiar the AG leaders with the AlpGov project management tools and to discuss in detail the single work packages of the project. The in-depth exchange among the AG leaders helped to identify cross-sectoral collaboration possibilities.
 
Last day of the event was dedicated to a Discussion Panel on Regional approach and synergies in and between different Macroregional Strategies. In his input, Secretary General Reiterer presented the role of the Alpine Convention and the opportunities the EUSALP is bringing to the region “be it in a sense of cooperation of one part of the continent, in our case the Alps, or cooperation of administrative levels is very important”.
Second AG6 Meeting in Innsbruck
 
The second EUSALP AG6 meeting took place on 21-22 November 2016 in Innsbruck. Representatives of ministries and regional governments met civil society and research experts and worked on the finalization of the work program of Action Group 6 “Preserve and valorize natural resources, including water and cultural resources” on the basis of a common understanding of its objectives.
 
Fruitful discussions and an active exchange among the stakeholders allowed achieving a big step forward towards the inclusion in the work program of concrete activities in the three sub-topics selected: Spatial development and soil conservation, future oriented farming and forestry and integrated and sustainable water management. The stakeholders also adopted the Rules of Procedure for Action Group 6 as proposed by the Executive Board. The Leaders of the Action Group made clear that in daily work and as far as a formal voting can be avoided all Action Group members are treated as equals. Valuable inputs for possible cooperation options were given by the representative of the Alpine Space Program, Primoz Skrt, and by the project partners of approved and ongoing Alpine Space Projects Links4Soils, AlpFoodway, SPARE and AlpES. The second EUSALP AG6 meeting was financed through the Interreg Alpine Space AlpGov Project.
 
Action Group 6 will have its next meeting on 8-9 June 2017 in Carinthia, while sub-group meetings will take place in the frame of the EUSALP Action Group Forum on 14-15 February 2016 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (see below for more information).
 
In addition to the involvement of the Permanent Secretariat as observer in Action Group 4 (Mobility), the relevant activities of Action Group 6 and the Alpine Convention were also presented at a meeting of Action Group 9 (Energy).

Additional information and updates about the EUSALP AG6 are available on this page.
Bavarian EUSALP Presidency 2017
 
With the year coming to an end, the Slovenian EUSALP Presidency will be handed over to Bavaria for 2017.
 
The kick-off event of the Bavarian EUSALP Presidency took place on 29 November 2016 in Brussels. There the planned events were announced. The first meeting in 2017 will be a EUSALP General Assembly on 13 February 2017 in Rottach-Egern. The EUSALP Action Group Forum and the EUSALP Executive Board Meeting, as well as Action Group Meetings will take place on 13-14 February 2017 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Natural Hazard Risk Governance – towards the RSA7
 
Limited settlement space and significant, widespread exposure to natural hazards has formed a strong awareness throughout the alpine arc for the need to prevent and mitigate natural disasters. Sustainable protection from natural hazards is therefore understood as an essential predisposition for settling as well as social and economic development in the Alps. This is also underlined by being an important cross-sectoral component in various protocols of the Alpine Convention.
 
The interests of economic development, social welfare, mobility and tourism still outbalance the targets of risk reduction and safety management which calls for new governance instruments in order to balance multiple use demands.  New political trends like governance, also being a cross-cutting objective in the macro regional EU strategy for the Alps, appear promising in this context.     
 
Therefore the next Report on the State of the Alps is dedicated to Natural Hazard Risk Governance. Over the next two years the AC platform on natural hazards - PLANALP - will analyse existing natural hazard risk governance mechanisms in the Alps, identify good practices, challenges and potential solutions and thereby make a contribution to improved natural hazard risk governance in the Alpine region.
 
To ease the general understanding of the issue the members of PLANALP will each give a short insight on Alpine natural hazards in their country in the upcoming editions of this newsletter. These brief presentations will incorporate information on recent events, developments and initiatives in policy and practice in the respective field. 

Austria:
In the context of natural hazards the year 2016 in Austria started rather calm, however the summer was characterised by thunderstorms and intensive rainfall events. About 290 small torrential events and landslides were recorded throughout the federal territory, but vast damages have been mostly avoided through effective protection measures From a policy point of view, there is evidence for a strong momentum towards strengthening the principle of solidarity, which will improve incentives to establish partnerships (public, private) that allow to share the financial burden of natural hazard prevention and maintenance along a broader audience.
Ecological Network Platform

The Platform held its last meeting of the 2015-2016 mandate in Grassau on 11 October. ALPARC presented the successful evaluation of the eight existing Pilot Regions for Ecological Connectivity of the Alpine Convention, which were thus reconfirmed in their status. At the Alpine Conference, Minister Hendricks handed over certificates to two new Pilot Regions, the French part of the Mont-Blanc massif and the Achental.  A further result of the mandate is the drafting of a statement on the role of ecological connectivity with regard to climate change; it will shortly be available on the Platform’s webpage. The German Ministry of the Environment also recently published “Alpine Nature 2030”, a review on ecological connectivity in the Alps in which members of the Platform were strongly involved (available online).

In the next mandate, beside the regular exchange of experiences, the Platform will analyse the integration of ecological connectivity in spatial planning. According to the rotating French-German Co-Presidency of the Platform, Thierry Boisseaux is taking over the Chair from Bettina Hedden-Dunkhorst.
Sixth International Water Conference: "Water in the Alps – Water Management in a Field of Conflicting Interests: Between Natural Hazards and Nature Protection” 

The sixth water conference was the closing event of the Italian-German Co-Presidency of the Water Management Platform. It took place on the 12 October 2016 on the Herrenchiemsee Island (Germany). The three sessions where each devoted to one of the topics of the mandate 2015-2016. Around 60 international experts on water related issues engaged in excellent talks and took the chance to benefit from the experience of colleagues from the Alpine states. The first session was dedicated to a dialogue between the Water Framework Directive and the Flood Directive. During the second session the interactions of sediment transport with fluvial geomorphology were emphasized. The last session highlighted the importance of the right communication of water-related issues. The full program and presentations can be found here.

 
During the two years of the Italian-German presidency the following activities were carried out. In June 2012 a workshop on “Fluvial geomorphology and the interactions with sediment transport” was organized in Lyon by France, Germany and Italy as a side event of the I.S. Rivers International Conference. As a result of this workshop a “Short report on management of hydromorphological processes and good practices in the field in the alpine context” was approved by the Conference of the Parties and then published. A second workshop on the “Dialogue between the Water Framework Directive and the Flood Directive” was organized by Germany in September 2015 in Munich. A third workshop was organized by Italy in Padua on “The importance of communicating and sharing relevant data on water- and risk- related issues” in April 2016.

The Italian-German Co-presidency of the Water Management Platform thanks all platform members for the fruitful work during the last two years and also the Secretariat of the Alpine Convention for the continuing and excellent support of the work of the Water Management Platform.
Transport Working Group

The results of the last mandate were presented at the Alpine Conference. Three progress reports on the implementation of the Eurovignette Directive, the calculation of traffic-related environmental costs and innovative logistics solutions in combined transport will shortly be available on the webpage of the Working Group, and all members will endeavour to disseminate the results broadly. The Working Group held its first meeting of the new mandate period on 4 November in Paris. It will continue to focus on modal shift, also taking into account possible innovation in rail transport and alternative fuels, and will monitor the environmental impacts according to articles 15 and 16 of the Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention.

The Permanent Secretariat also participated in meetings of other alpine transport groups – the iMONITRAF! regional network (Lucerne, 2 November), the EUSALP AG4 (Innsbruck, 8 November) and the EnvALP working group of the Zurich process (Zurich, 28 November) – and did a presentation at the Conference “Towards a new mobility for transalpine connections” organised by the Transdolomites association in Trento on 17 November.
Working Group on Macro-Regional Strategy –  “seeking truffels”
 
The first institutional meeting under the new Austrian Presidency was a meeting of the WG MRS. On 18 November 2016, in Vienna, the WG MRS was updated on the state of affairs of the EUSALP process and of the activities of Action Group 6 as well as on the first draft work program of Action Group 6. The main item on the agenda was dedicated to discussing a “3-step-model for good cooperation between the Alpine Convention and the EUSALP”, proposed by the Austrian Presidency and aiming at organizing and structuring the information exchange within the Alpine Convention and its bodies on the one hand, and between the Alpine Convention and bodies of the EUSALP on the other hand. The Working Group took the view that first the Alpine Convention needs to establish clarity about the contents it wants to share with the EUSALP and the related benefits it can offer. This requires a strategic approach and a preparatory discussion within the Alpine Convention about the contents for potential future cooperation. Identifying the priority contents and related added values (the “truffels”) that the Alpine Convention intends to contribute to the EUSALP and that should be subject of information exchange and potential future cooperation activities will thus be the most important topic of the next WG MRS meeting on 26 January 2017 in Vienna. The prioritization and selection of contents will then be finalised by the WG/PF leaders in their meeting on 30-31 January 2017.
Working Group Transport
 
The Working Group Transport held its 34th meeting in Paris on 6 June. Updates on the implementation of the Eurovignette directive, innovative logistic solutions for freight transport and the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure were presented. A compared analysis of the results from 15 existing studies on the calculation of external costs of transport was presented to the WG. This analysis, at this stage, suggests that the Eurovignette directive tends to underestimate the external costs of air pollution in mountain areas, and to a lesser degree the external costs of noise in mountain areas. Work on this issue will follow.
Open call: Constructive Alps
 
Supporting the implementation of the Alpine Convention, Switzerland and Liechtenstein for the fourth time organize the Constructive Alps Award for most outstanding sustainable construction and sustainable renovation projects in the Alps. Application deadline is 20 January 2017! More information
23 new Interreg Alpine Space projects!
 
Out of 31 applications in the second step of the second call for project proposals, 23 projects were selected for implementation by the programme committee in its meeting in Bern, on 19 and 20 October.

The transnational projects address diverse topics in the four priorities of the programme- Innovative Alpine Space, Low Carbon Alpine Space, Liveable Alpine Space and Well-Governed Alpine Space: innovation, fostering start-ups, smart manufacturing, Social Impact Bonds, integration of migrants, combined transport, multi-level energy models, e-mobility, circular economy, Alpine food heritage, youth education, forest protection against rockfall, hydro-morphological assessment and management, Alpine ecosystem and biodiversity protection, landscape management in metropolitan areas, soil and sustainable ecosystem management, as well as multidimensional governance of climate change adaptation and others.

The project partners of the newly selected projects have now started the work. The programme already organised two events in November i.a. for the newly approved projects: a “Get started!” seminar for lead partners in Salzburg, and a project management training in Munich. The projects will run until April, October or December 2019.


Many of the approved projects see the participation as partners of representatives of the Contracting Parties and Observers to the Alpine Convention. The former German presidency of the Alpine Convention 2015-2016 focused on practical implementation and raising awareness of the Alpine Convention at local level. To this end, it encouraged the Alpine countries, networks and actors to launch specific joint projects, in particular under the EU-funded INTERREG V B Alpine Space Programme 2014-2020, with its transnational cooperation. It supports altogether six projects: AlpES, AlpGov, Links4Soils, ALPBIONET2030, GaYA, PlurAlps politically and provides co-financing.

Moreover, the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention is observer in the following projects approved in this call: ASTUS (Priority “Low-carbon Alpine Space”) ALPBIONET2030, AlpFoodway, Links4Soils, RockTheAlps (Priority “Liveable Alpine Space”) and GoApply (priority “Well-governed Alpine Space”).

More information on the approved projects can be found
here.
UNFCCC COP 22 in Marrakech, a side event to discuss River Contracts  
(Contribution by: Italy)
 
The Italian delegation participated at the side event Voluntary tools for local adaptation: the potential of PPP such as river contracts, in the framework of the UNFCCC COP 22 in Marrakech, last 9 November.
 
The side event, coordinated by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, promoted by Regione Abruzzo and organized with the scientific support of EURAC research, was the point of departure for a wider discourse on the role of non-state actors in public policy and the individual benefits they may derive from joining a river contract, as well as on the type of incentives that public policy should provide to widen the participation of the private sector in these processes.
 
COP 22 allowed to make visible to a global audience river contracts as a practice and to find opportunities and partners available to test river contracts as tools for implementing local adaptation measures, especially in the regions where there is a stronger need for adaptation and river contracts are relatively easy to implement.

At the following
link is possible to read the complete note with further information and output from the meeting.
The network of Italian alpine protected areas presented to Rome
(Contribution by: Italy)
 
The National Conference "Towards a national monitoring plan for biodiversity. The species and habitats of EU interest", held in Rome on October 19th and 20th, has been a further opportunity to present the alpine experience of the SAPA Network - the Italian system of Alpine protected areas. The SAPA Network was launched as part of the coordination table of the Italian Delegation to the Alpine Convention and the local authorities interested in contributing to the implementation of the Alpine Convention.
 
The aim of SAPA Network is also linked to Art. 12 "Ecological Network" of the Protocol "Nature protection and landscape preservation" and it currently includes all regions and Alpine autonomous provinces and 21 alpine protected areas in national and regional parks, coordinated by Federparchi, it collaborates with several entities such as ISPRA, universities and Italian centers of research. For more information, check out the following
link.
alpMonitor spatial planning: towards a better life
(Contribution by: CIPRA)
 
Through the project alpMonitor, CIPRA International together with the national CIPRA branches, strongly focuses on the responsibilities modern societies have in the shift towards sustainable development. The current objective is living “the good life” in the Alps. CIPRA’s approach is based on the values of participation, solidarity and frugality. alpMonitor acts complementarily to scientific reports by actively discussing impacts and promoting solutions for selected areas of everyday life. This time the focus was on spatial planning. CIPRA developed a story along a fictitious alpine village that is facing problems of traffic. Please join the decision making process of the village here
. The recently published CIPRA magazine "SzeneAlpen/Alpinscena/Alpsenscène/Alpenaodru" also dealt with the most urgent questions of spatial planning in the Alps. Download here.
All in for Alpine Rivers!
(Contribution by: CIPRA)

In October, the SPARE (Strategic Planning for Alpine River Ecosystems) project held their second partner meeting in Tolmin, Slovenia. The Slovenian partners from the Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia (
IzVRS) organised an interesting mix of indoor meetings and outdoor opportunities to discover the Soča Valley Pilot Case Study (PCS) on dedicated field trips in the region. To find out more, read here!
 
For news about the SPARE project, please visit our website
here. For regular updates, please subscribe to our SPARE project newsletter here
Climate change: A positive contribution from the mountains
(Contribution by: Euromontana)
 
Now is the time for action and mountains are set to be Europe’s pioneers in climate change mitigation and adaptation. From 3 to 5 October 2016, more than  200 mountain actors (researchers, farmers, environmentalists, elected representatives from local and regional authorities, representatives of chambers of commerce and development agencies) met in Bragança, Portugal during the
X European Mountain Convention organised by Euromontana on “Mountains’ vulnerability to climate change: how can people and territories adapt and mitigate its effects?”.
 
Juan Andres Gutierrez, President of Euromontana stated at the end of the Convention ‘Mountains are a sentinel for climate change which Europe risks neglecting at its peril. Mountain actors are among the first to detect the creeping impact of climate change. They have decided at Bragança to cooperate in taking action from the bottom up, by the communities and businesses already affected and call upon the European institutions to take their responsibilities and support them in this vital role’.
 
This X European Mountain Convention presented a state-of-the-art of the situation in mountain areas and how experience and technical knowledge have been used to provide solutions to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The Alpine Convention took an active part during the event with a presentation on the climate change activities in the framework of the Alpine Convention
(see proceedings and the final declaration).
First workshop on circular economy and forestry in mountain supply chains in Skrad, Croatia
(Contribution by: Euromontana)
 
Mountain areas stand to benefit from a circular economy that values primary resources, protects the environment, and promotes innovation and sustainable economic development. This was the main topic behind Euromontana’s latest workshop in partnership with its Croatian member, PINS, and Mr. Rados, Croatian Member of the European Parliament. The event under the title: “Innovation and Circular Economy in Mountain Forest Supply Chains: How to Close the Loop?” took place on 29 November 2016 and gathered more than 60 participants from 13 European countries.

The workshop included plenaries on good practices and thematic presentations from European experts and practitioners on forestry and circular economy in mountain areas.  This event helped to better understand the policy framework (EU, national and regional policies and) supporting the circular economy in forestry, to explore visions for a circular economy in the forestry supply chain. This workshop was also the occasion to explore innovative tools, instruments and processes through different good practices that can improve the circular economy in mountain forestry.

For more detailed information and presentations, please have a look
at the event page.
Kick-off in Tolmezzo: “Alpine Town of the Year 2017”
(Contribution by: Alpine Town of the Year)

Tolmezzo/IT, "Alpine town of the year 2017" hosted its kick-off workshop on November 11th 2016; during the workshop the cities program for 2017 was presented and discussed with other member towns of the network and local representatives of politics and associations. The city of Tolmin/SL, « Alpine Town of the Year 2016 », was also present to pass on its experience to its successor town.

November 11th 2017. The elegant room of the Cantore casern is full. At the microphone, Debora Serracchiani, president of the region Friuli-Venezia Giulia announces perspectives that open for Tolmezzo, with its nomination as "Alpine Town of the Year 2017". The region will support the capital of Carnia in its efforts, amongst others to transform the casern in which this kick-off event is taking place. The mayor, Francesco Brollo, presents the program prepared for 2017. He announces that "We will launch a series of actions, aimed at offering sustainable perspectives to our territory. One of the main actions will be the transformation of the casern". During its year as “Alpine Town of the Year”, Tolmezzo will focus on the participation of youth, sustainable urban development and tourism as well as putting local farm products in value. The town plans to host several international events, dedicated to the transformation of conversion areas in the frame of the "Tour de Villes" project or in the field of demographic change and the cooperation between alpine libraries. The Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention was represented by Taja Ferjančič Lakota at the event.

The “Alpine Town of the Year 2016”, Tolmin, was also present during this meeting, to share its experience gained in 2016, as well as its ideas for the future. In 2016, Tolmin strengthened and reinforced its vision for an ecologically and socially responsible development. The highlights of its action were the optimisation and modernisation of the public transport, ranging from railway to bike infrastructures. The involvement and support to young people was also an important issue, with for example the creation of a young municipal council or creative breakfasts for young people. Tourism was the third pillar of Tolmin’s program in 2016, including a training course for restaurant cooks and the UNESCO program concerning the biosphere reserve of Človek. Tomin’s enterprise will continue beyond 2017; the town intends to remain active within the network “Alpine Town of the Year”, alongside Tolmezzo and all the other member towns. Further information
The list contains events organized in the framework of the Alpine Convention, as well as by Partners. Please bear in mind that this list may not be exhaustive. Updated list is available on the webpage of the Alpine Convention.

January
 
26 January Working Group MRS meeting Vienna, Austria
30-31 January     Meeting of the chairs of the Working Groups and Platforms Vienna, Austria


February
 
13-16 February EUSALP meetings Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
22-23 February Kick off workshop climate change Vienna, Austria

March
 
8-9 March Compliance Committee meeting St Gallen, Switzerland
21-22 March Interreg Alpine Space Meet & match forum : Together we move mountains ! Milan, Italy
22-24 March Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions” – SSPCR 2017 Bolzano/Bozen, Italy
27-31 March Youth Parliament to the Alpine Convention Innsbruck, Austria

 
Copyright © 2016 Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention, All rights reserved.


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