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Point of view: Making the Alpine Convention more interactive

Claire Simon is executive director of CIPRA International © Martin Walser

The effectiveness of the Alpine Convention is often called into question. A new approach could help reposition it as an engine of co-operation and sustainable development in the Alpine regions, says Claire Simon, Executive Director of CIPRA International.

The Alpine Convention is currently preparing its work programme for the years 2017-2022. This is a good opportunity to discuss the fundamental questions regarding the critical topics and of working together. The German presidency and the permanent secretariat thus invited partners to a workshop held in mid-May and organised by the Liechtenstein delegation in Triesenberg. The interactive design of the workshop was a welcome innovation for the Alpine Convention. This first step has shown that more effective co-operation is possible within the framework of this international organisation.

The workshop saw a thorough discussion of key challenges and opportunities in the Alps. Ground-breaking topics such as spatial planning, quality of life and youth came to the fore. Exchanges that went well beyond national mandates took place, with long-standing and experienced protagonists of the Alpine Convention sharing their ideas and visions with participants who were far less familiar with the international agreement. The results of the workshop provided suggestions for numerous activities on the part of the Alpine Convention and its partners.

Events of this type can give the Alpine Convention new impetus, improve its visibility and increase its credibility and participation in its work. It is therefore important that the results from Triesenberg are duly taken into account by all parties to the Convention and included in the priorities and actions of the new work programme for the coming years.