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We are the macro-region Alps

Dec 13, 2013 / alpMedia
On 19 December 2013 the European Council will decide whether there should be a European strategy for the Alpine space. States and regions have been working for months on an appropriate proposal - while excluding representatives of civil society. Why the alpine macro-region needs the science, NGOs and municipalities.
Image caption:
Helping to shape the Alps: representatives of civil society want to be involved in the preparation of the macro-regional strategy for the Alps. © birgitH /
The heads of state and government of the European Union will on 19 December 2013 decide on whether the European Commission is to prepare a proposal for a European strategy for the Alpine space. What however are the topics for this macro-region? How will the decision-making processes look? The Alpine states and certain selected regions, co-ordinated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have been working for around half a year on a proposal. This document is intended to answer the basic questions and - if a European strategy for the Alpine space comes into being - offer concrete proposals for its implementation. However, representatives of civil society, organisations of nature and environmental conservation, Alpine Associations, science or Alpine municipalities were not allowed to contribute to the drafting process.

EU strategy for the Alpine space: building on experience and success
These networks and NGOs covering the Alps have a long upheld culture of co-operation and exchanges, for example through the Alpine Convention. The Alpine Convention formulates goals for the protection and the sustainable development of the Alps, offers instruments and a basis for co-operation. CIPRA and the networks of municipalities, Alpine Associations and scientists are therefore demanding that the spirit of the Alpine Convention should also live on into an European Strategy for the Alpine space. Eight of these organisations set out their joint demands and proposals for a macro-region in a paper containing considerations on the topics for a macro-region and how the European Community and the Alps will benefit from a common strategy.

Open and transparent processes
The core element of a European strategy for the Alpine space is a new multi-level governance, i.e. an inclusive process, as required by the European Commission. This is also the demand set out by the eight organisations in their paper. "A macro-region will only advance Europe and the Alpine space if it is of benefit to the local population", says Claire Simon, Executive Director of CIPRA International. NGOs as representatives of the civil society can communicate a complex and new strategy of this type and apply the networking expertise gained in the Alps to Europe. Therefore, however, the NGOs must have a direct voice in the development of an European strategy for the Alpine space.

Joint position paper of the eight organisations Alpine Town of the Year Association, Alliance in the Alps, Club Arc Alpin CAA, International Commission for the Protection of the Alps CIPRA, International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps ISCAR, proMONT-BLANC, World Wide Fund for Nature WWF, International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN and further information: .