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The key to local development

The project’s conclusion in Bolzano: participants in the PlurAlps conference discuss pluralism in the Alps. (c) Maya Mathia CIPRA International

Pluralism as a strength of the Alps: ten organisations have committed themselves to this as part of the PlurAlps project. They presented their findings at the final conference held in Bolzano/I, including an innovation toolbox for integration together with policy recommendations.

“The history of humanity is a history of migration.” With these words Roland Psenner, President of Eurac Research, opened the concluding conference of the PlurAlps project in Bolazano, Italy. Representatives from the world of politics and society discussed what opportunities migration offers the Alps and how new arrivals can be better integrated into local societies. The partners also presented the results of this three-year Interreg project.

With the help of municipalities, companies and civil society, ten pilot regions in the Alps showed how integration can be successful. In Austria’s Bregenzerwald region, language courses and information made it easier for newcomers to gain access to the labour market; in Italy’s Valle Stura, refugees learned how to manage a mountain farm, while in Jesenice, Slovenia, “cultural mediators” helped them with their questions about language, registration and health. The partners collected the experiences from the pilot regions and published them in an innovation toolbox.

How can the attractiveness of peripheral regions in the Alps be increased? What strengthens social cohesion? How can innovation be promoted? The PlurAlps partners have developed a White Paper in a participatory process along with decision-makers, stakeholders and experts from the field of migration. It contains recommendations for politicians and society, from communication and integration into the labour market to the conception and implementation of political measures. The White Paper and other results of the PlurAlps project are available online at www.alpine-space.eu/pluralps

PlurAlps was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Alpine Space Programme and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.