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Alpine regions demand joint strategy

The city of Bern/CH in the morning light, with the Alps on the horizon. A macro-region would combine whole regions with the cities lying close to the Alps. © mafa/ pixelio.de

The Conference of the Alpine Regions has decided on an initiative paper for the development of a macro-regional strategy for the Alpine arc. It declares that the need is for greater innovation and economic strength within an intact environment, as well as more co-operation and the bundling of development funds. There is just one thing that is not mentioned: the Alpine Convention.
The Alpine arc should have more weight in Brussels: highly diverse stakeholders in the Alpine arc, including the Alpine regions, are now holding discussions on a macro-regional strategy. Just two months before the Alpine conference, they have now put forward concrete proposals for a macro-region.

New solidarity between Alps and metropolitan areas, governments and organisations
A macro-region must above all strengthen innovation and competitive ability for the individual regions in the Alpine arc. Further issues are water, energy, the environment and climate, followed by mobility and transalpine traffic. This strategy for the Alpine arc should address "the concerns of the actual mountain areas as well as the mutual relationships between mountain regions and their adjacent metropolitan areas". According to Dominik Siegrist, President of CIPRA, sustainable development in the Alps requires such solidarity between stakeholders in the Alpine arc and the nearby cities. It is worth noting that the regions are urging national governments to ensure the intensive involvement of organisations and networks in the Alpine arc in the design and implementation of a macro-region.

No place for the Alpine Convention?
It is also important to note what the regions are not saying. In 25 pages, they make no mention of the Alpine Convention: it only plays a bit part in the resolution, with the regions welcoming the fact that the member states represented at the next conference of ministers wish to make their own contribution to the macro-region, and they are invited to join the dialogue. Do the regions mean by this that the Alpine Convention is dead? The list of advantages of a macro-region reads between the lines like a list of the lack of mechanisms and institutions of the Alpine Convention: a macro-region would offer a framework for the collaboration of all levels of government and organisations in the Alpine arc; it would facilitate co-operation between EU member states and Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Monaco. In the debate about an Alpine macro-region, there are also stakeholders such as CIPRA International who regard the aims of the Alpine Convention as more necessary than ever: "Its content makes the Alpine Convention a unique agreement", believes Siegrist: "Its achievements must also be established as the minimum standard for the protection and sustainable development of an extended Alpine arc".
Source, further information and CIPRA position: www.argealp.org/presse-publikationen, www.cipra.org/de/presse/medienmitteilungen