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South Tyrol commits itself to the common good

Mals in the Italian Vinschgau valley: the region has committed itself to environmental sustainability and social justice. © Christian Lendl flickr

The “economics of the common good” represents a growing trend, including in the Alps. South Tyrol is now putting this into practice.

The key objectives of an economy geared to the common good are high quality of life, human dignity, global fairness and solidarity. Environmental sustainability and social justice also play important roles. Traditional Alpine structures such as regional networks, a decentralised economic system and voluntary engagement are being strengthened.

In January 2014 the South Tyrolean municipalities of Laas, Mals, Latsch and Schlanders together formed the “Gemeinwohlregion Vinschgau [Vinschgau region of the common good]” in order to implement these aims. Mayor Helmut Fischer of Latsch says: “We have analysed our status quo and seen where our strengths and weaknesses lie. The question now is one of implementation.” South Tyrol is following in his footsteps: in December 2014 the South Tyrol Landtag, the regional assembly, adopted three measures to further anchor the ‘common good’ principles in the region. First, guidelines should be adapted to an economic approach oriented towards the common good; second, the region intends to give preference in public contracts to enterprises favouring the common good; and third, particular encouragement will be given to municipalities that promote the common good.

The economics of the common good already feature in the curriculum in numerous schools. It is also intended to develop a regional indicator of prosperity in co-operation with EURAC, the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano. South Tyrol is thus taking in a pioneering role in the Alpine region, thereby inching closer to its goal of becoming “Europe’s most desirable place to live”.

The common good is also on the agenda in other parts of the Alpine area. A national association to promote the economics of the common good was founded in Switzerland in 2014. The municipality of Übelbach in Styria, Austria, unanimously decided to draw up a balance of the common good, with other Styrian municipalities showing interest in the model. Salzburg too has ambitions to become a region dedicated to this aim.

Sources: http://www.landtag-bz.org/de/aktuelles/pm-fraktionen-aktuell.asp?aktuelles_action=4&aktuelles_article_id=480155 (de/it), https://www.ecogood.org/allgemeine-infos/aktuelles/neuigkeiten/suedtiroler-landtag-beschliesst-paket-zur-gemeinwohl (de), Newsletter archive: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=c89843db321542c4b959f65b2&id=10fec21af7 (de)

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