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CIPRA's point of view: Alpine Convention must produce results

Sep 18, 2012 / alpMedia
The renewal of the Alps needs youth. This was recognised by AlpWeek. The parties to the Alpine Convention are now being challenged to follow up their words with deeds - including as regards the energy question.
Image caption:
Representatives of the Youth Parliament at the Alpine Convention submit their resolution to Austrian Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich. © Caroline Begle
In the past CIPRA, as an official observer at the Alpine Convention, has often deplored the inertia of the bodies involved. Now the tide seems to have turned: The 12th Alpine Conference, which took place last week as part of the AlpWeek in Valposchiavo, Switzerland, was from the point of view of CIPRA one of the best ever - not least because its demands were taken into account.
The work of the new Energy Platform of the Alpine Convention was originally intended to be limited to the production, storage and distribution of energy. At CIPRA's prompting it will now also have to address the reducing of energy consumption and the increasing of energy efficiency. The ministers thus recognise that the wished-for energy transition is not just a technical question, but above all a socio-political challenge affecting many areas of life. This resolution has however yet to produce tangible results in Switzerland, at least as regards the Energy Minister and the Federal Council. Furthermore, post-Poschiavo pronouncements and resolutions consistently fail to mention the priorities of "lowering energy consumption" and "energy efficiency".
The call by the environment ministers to the parties to the Alpine Convention to strengthen its implementation and increase the participation of local and regional players, can be attributed to the repeated prompting made by CIPRA.
Above all, however, it is the young people invited by CIPRA and the "Alpine Town of the Year" association who were able to be heard. They creatively and persistently pursued the goal of having their say. Some ministers granted personal interviews, while others spontaneously visited the young people's market stand. And everyone spoke of the young people at the AlpWeek final plenary session.
This is a first step, but more must be done. Young people represent the power to move the Alps forwards. If they turn away in frustration, who will then see to the renewal of the Alps?
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