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Protected areas form their own association

Michael Vogel, Chairman of the ALPARC Association formed last January. The network aims to improve connections between the protected areas of the Alps.

ALPARC, the Alpine Network of Protected Areas, has split from the permanent secretariat of the Alpine Convention to form its own association - in order to ensure better implementation of the Alpine Convention.
ALPARC, the Alpine Network of Protected Areas, is a positive initiative for the implementation of the Alpine Convention. The ALPARC association was created on 18 January and includes 34 protected areas from every Alpine country, as well as the two regions of Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur (PACA). The aim is to continue to strengthen the Alps-wide collaboration between protected areas as well as the implementation of joint projects. The Alpine Network of Protected Areas was established 17 years ago as a loose union for the implementation of the Alpine Convention's Nature Protection Protocol.
Since 2006 the network has been attached to the permanent secretariat of the Alpine Convention as the "Task Force Protected Areas". The agreement governing this runs out at the end of the year. The protected areas have for several years now been seeking a solution with the Alpine states: the establishment of an association gives ALPARC legal status, its own offices in Chambéry and more scope for action. Co-operation with the committees of the Alpine Convention is governed by a "Co-operation Memorandum". The main financial backing for the network is provided by the French government, as well as the two founding members, PACA and Rhône-Alpes. As Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have done up to now, other Alpine countries are to promote individual projects according to their means.
ALPARC is a success story: around one third of the Alpine protected areas with their own personnel, i.e. park management or information centres, are already members of the new association. And no other network has as yet succeeded in explaining to so many visitors to the Alps what the Alpine Convention is and why it is needed.
Source and further information: www.alparc.org