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The Alpine Convention in action

Sep 20, 2016
Urban areas are not often directly thought of in connection with the Alpine Convention - “the Alps are mountains, not cities” is the refrain. The Austrian city of Klagenfurt contradicts such views.
Image caption:
The City of Klagenfurt wants du reduce CO2 emissions. © Stadtpresse-E-Mobilität

A study carried out on behalf of the Austrian city of Klagenfurt shows that no fewer than 134 of the 174 environmental targets contained in the protocols to the Alpine Convention are relevant to cities. For example, according to article 2 of the energy protocol, the obligations of the signatory nations include concrete measures to promote energy conservation. One of the environmental targets of the city of Klagenfurt is now to increase the percentage of buildings being renovated. In addition, over the next years energy requirements are to be reduced by around 30% and CO2 emissions by 50%.
In Germany too, the protocols of the Alpine Convention have been closely examined. It was previously a matter of debate as to whether these were directly applicable to the parties to the Convention, i.e. without any prior implementing law on the part of the authorities or courts. Four execution protocols – tourism, soil conservation, traffic and nature & landscape conservation – have now received such status from the German federal government and the Bavarian state government.
Thus, twenty years after they were drawn up, the protocols to the Alpine Convention are still relevant and offer numerous proposals for sustainable environmental and regional development policies, including in urban areas such as Klagenfurt. The challenge is to adapt the sometimes abstract aims to the specific conditions and established structures found in cities and municipalities.

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