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Identity needs culture

Jul 23, 2017
CIPRA Switzerland. Growth-orientated regional politics in Switzerland today are aimed first and foremost at economic development and at prioritising hubs and development axes. The potential afforded by mountain regions with their diverse culture is barely recognised.
Image caption:
After two intense days filled with excursions and discussions the participants of the conference have adopted a common resolution. © Antonio Galli

Together with Mountain Wilderness Switzerland and the Salecina Conference Centre, CIPRA Switzerland brought together people from the fields of science, culture, regional development and politics to sound out and highlight that potential. At the conference entitled “Mountain regions – where to now? The future of the Alpine valleys and the significance of culture” held in June 2016, forty or so experts discussed the significance of regional identity and the contribution of cultural initiatives towards sustainable regional development.

The participants were unanimous: culture must not be viewed merely as an economic contribution to regional development. Rather, a strong and vibrant regional identity of peripheral regions has to be the foundation from which to acknowledge and make constructive use of differences. They adopted a joint resolution aimed at enhancing the role of culture in Alpine regions. It set out among other things that Alpine cultural activities must be afforded a higher status
within the realm of politics and regional development. Regional cultural initiatives have the capability of delivering the impetus for improvements in quality of life and of giving strength and dignity to regional identities.

CIPRA Switzerland will continue to expand its partnerships and contacts in the cultural sector in the years to come. The aim is to address Alpine policy issues and themes against the background of local and regional circumstances.