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CIPRA calls for Alpine Convention Water Protocol

Logo Jahr des Süsswassers 2003
For years the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps CIPRA has been demanding that the Alpine states draw up a Water Protocol to the Alpine Convention. In Innsbruck/A CIPRA itself tabled a proposal for such a Protocol to coincide with the UN's International Year of Freshwater 2003.
While the Alpine Convention provides an Implementing Protocol aimed at specifying the terms of the Convention on the subject of "Water Management", a corresponding protocol has never been drawn up. CIPRA cannot understand that in the International Year of Freshwater the Alpine states have still not set about drawing up such a protocol.
CIPRA President Andreas Weissen emphasised that water was not a conventional commodity but a legacy that had to be protected, defended and treated accordingly. He said the Alpine states had a key responsibility in preserving water reserves and the ecological function of waterways, and in improving them where necessary in the interest of the general public. He added that the catchment areas of many watercourses within the Alpine region extended over several states, which was why certain problems could only be solved through a cross-border approach and why joint measures on the part of the Alpine states were required.
It is CIPRA's view that a Water Protocol would stop an important gap in Alpine protection, and only a Water Protocol could guarantee a uniform standard for the modern protection of glaciers for example.
Jürgen Sohnle, an expert on water rights from the University of Chambéry/F, stressed the added value of a Water Protocol over the EU Framework Directive on water.
In his inaugural speech as President of the Alpine Conference (the Conference of Environmental Ministers of all Alpine countries) the German Minister of the Environment Jürgen Trittin last year emphasised that flood protection would be a key element of Germany's Presidency. A Water Protocol to the Alpine Convention provides an excellent basis for such co-operation.
A detailed press release and the CIPRA proposal for a Water Protocol can be found on www.cipra.org (de/fr/it/sl)