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Biodiversity and climate change as subjects for transnational co-operation

The Alpine Space Programme established in the framework of the INTERREG IVB European Community Initiative Programme is being used to fund a dozen new projects.
Each project has a focus on one of the three programme priorities: the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Alpine region, accessibility and connectivity, or the environment and risk prevention. Several of the new projects also relate to the overall theme of climate change.
The 2007-2013 Alpine Space Programme is the continuation of the programme from the 2000-2006 structural fund period. The overriding goal in the current funding period is to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the co-operation area through joint activities in fields in which transnational co-operation is needed for sustainable solutions.
Of a total of 136 project proposals submitted at the beginning of the year, twelve were chosen to receive funding at the end of June. A number of recurring subjects are addressed by several of the projects, such as climate change, tourism, town and country relationships, and water management.
The ECONNECT project ("Improving Ecological Connectivity in the Alps"), in which CIPRA (International Commission for the Protection of the Alps) is a partner, is designed to create a transnational ecological network in the Alps. Six pilot regions will work on the basis of a common methodology to improve and restore the ecological corridors that serve as linking elements. This involves identifying barriers to the movement of various groups of species and formulating recommendations for such barriers to be eliminated. Another task is to compare the legal basis for ecological networks and to make improvements where possible. The project involves 16 partners from all the countries of the Alps. ECONNECT has a three-year project period and a budget of 3.2 million euros.
For the current funding period for INTERREG IVB, a total of 130 million euros has been made available for project finance. The second call for project proposals is scheduled for autumn 2008.
Information: www.alpine-space.eu (en)