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Outside points of view

In 2001 CIPRA was presented with the Grand Binding Award. How do other award winners, members of the Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees view the work and significance of CIPRA? Seven prominent figures voiced their views at the 25th annual award ceremony in November 2010.

“CIPRA’s biggest success, for me, is that for many years now it has been operating across borders, throughout the entire Alpine arc. Bringing so many languages and cultures together is a terrific communication achievement. I could imagine CIPRA expanding its sphere of influence beyond the Alps – good examples of sustainable development could also inspire other mountain regions in Germany for example.”

Werner Konold, Grand Binding Award 2004, Professor for Landscape Management in Freiburg/D


“Our two organisations have something in common: the international bias of our everyday work. I’m very impressed by the fact that CIPRA’s website is consistently multilingual – for me that’s exemplary when it comes to networking. We need to show the whole of Europe and especially the Alps that civilisation and economic prosperity are very much compatible with an unspoilt environment and nature.”

Martin Schneider-Jacoby, Grand Binding Award 2010, Project Manager for the Euronatur Foundation in Radolfszell/D


“As EUROPARC’s Managing Director I worked very closely with CIPRA. Without it sustainable development in the Alps would not have had the same momentum. If I could utter a personal wish, it would be for people to do even more political lobbying so this process can be accelerated! I know it’s a tough job convincing decision makers in industry and politics, but it’s very worthwhile.”

Eva Pongratz, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Binding Foundation, formerly Managing Director of the EUROPARC Federation, the umbrella organisation for large protected areas in Europe


 “The Alps are one of our most important natural resources. It is comforting to know that CIPRA is committed to its cause right across the Alpine arc. One of its greatest successes is the Alpine Convention. And it’s not just politics on a grand scale that’s important, but also local projects and how they network right across the Alps. It’s something CIPRA has understood and does very well, for instance through the Alliance in the Alps network of municipalities.”

Peter Goop, Lawyer and philanthropist in Liechtenstein, President of the Binding Foundation


“The Alpine Convention would certainly never have happened without CIPRA. It brought together highly committed and knowledgeable figures who really know regional matters well and who, through their close ties with civil society, are able to contribute towards ensuring that the issues at hand are not brushed aside at a political level any longer. It is a fundamental characteristic of democracies that awareness-raising among the public can also help shape the political process. These processes do not just occur from top to bottom, but also quite the contrary – from bottom to top. In that respect CIPRA’s role and significance in society’s commitment and resulting actions – or lack thereof – within the Alpine region cannot be overestimated.”

Klaus Töpfer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Earth System Analysis and Sustainable Solutions, former environment minister of Gremany and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme


“CIPRA began publicising the idea of sustainable development in the Alps very early on. In my view it’s a successful model that could now be extended to highly complex areas elsewhere in the world, for example the Caucasus. The problems there are similar: large populations, disputes over natural resources, and distribution problems. And why shouldn’t CIPRA also act as a trail-blazer in other mountain regions?”

Michael Succow, Professor for biology and agricultural science, recipient of numerous awards for his work establishing large-scale nature reserves in East Germany, eastern Europe and Asia


“I always read CIPRA’s publications such as AlpsInsight or the Annual Report on the subject of biodiversity with great interest. I find its commitment over many years to sustainable development in the Alps is very judicious. It is important to find ways and means of harmonising nature with the economy and social issues. And the fact that CIPRA showcases examples of best practice is, I think, particularly inspiring.”

Jakob von Uexküll, President of the World Future Council, which he founded, and also founder of the “Alternative Nobel Prize” (Right Livelihood Award)


"In mountain areas, the quality of life is closely connected to the quality of natural resources. Therefore it is important to improve people’s knowledge of the services supplied by our ecosystems. This task should be better integrated into future international cooperation activities and policies from the local to the European level."

Erica Zangrando, Veneto Region/I, Department of Economics and Development of the Mountain Region, project partner


"The Alpstar project has initiated a process that is now irreversible. Never before have so many employees at Hilti, a model company for the project, come to work without using their cars, and never before have so many people participated in the company’s cycling competitions. Alpstar shows how commuters can be motivated to adopt eco-friendly mobility habits."

Willi Nowak, Executive Director of Verkehrs-Club Österreich (VCÖ)


"Cooperation between the municipalities of the Alps is essential if we are to draw attention to the challenges, interests  and needs of these regions and communicate them at a European level. Networking also enables us to learn from one another. Joint projects in particular help our municipalities develop."

Lucio Vaira, Municipality of Ostana/IT, member of the Alliance in the Alps network and a project community in the dynAlp-nature programme


"Young people are creative, persistent, unpretentious and far-sighted. That is what they bring to the adult world. In return they need adult attention and respect so as to gain their confidence. Young people’s participation in decision-making processes strengthens their identity, their relationship with the environment and their awareness of the importance of the sustainable use of natural resources."

Eva Šabec, Treasurer, CIPRA Youth Council, Ljubljana/SI


"I share with CIPRA the conviction that the involvement of all the regions of Europe is essential if we are to achieve the goals of the European project. That is why it is important to establish a genuine dialogue with local and regional actors and with civil society. This will enable us to make progress in the direction of sustainable and participatory development."

Michel Lebrun, President of the EU’s Committee of the Regions


"A modal shift from road to rail presupposes cooperation between the countries and regions of the Alps. They need to implement a common transport policy including instruments such as an Alpine crossing exchange and locally adapted highway regulations, capacities and infrastructures. We are listening to civil society’s demands to participate in the future  of the Alps. A dialogue between public authorities, businesses and civil society is essential for the success of such a  project."

Bernard Soulage, Vice President of the Rhône-Alpes Region


"The issue of ‘Alps Insight’ on the subject of Alpine policy offers a wealth of information on a pressing topic that is of great importance for us all. All I can say is: once again, the journey is the reward, meaning that CIPRA repeatedly succeeds in making us – and I mean the whole population – appreciate the importance of this complex subject."

Marlies Amann-Marxer, Minister of the Principality of Liechtenstein