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Youth taking action for the Alps

The CIPRA Youth Council (CYC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with a hike in the Italian and Slovenian Alps. © Andrea Müller

Calling for youth participation, engaging in Alpine policymaking, launching the first Youth Interrail Pass for the Alps: the CIPRA Youth Council is celebrating its fifth anniversary with an impressive record.

Travelling by train in a climate-friendly way, getting to know the Alps, living sustainability instead of preaching it: 100 young people set off this summer with the first Youth Interrail Pass for the Alps. The CIPRA Youth Council, co-developer of the «Youth Alpine Interrail» pilot project, made it all possible. The idea came about three years ago when members travelled in the most sustainable way they could to a CIPRA project held in the Italian city of Milan.

The CIPRA Youth Council currently comprises thirteen young people aged between 15 and 30 living in different Alpine countries. Since 2013 they have been working towards greater sustainability in the Alps, advising CIPRA and bringing their perspectives into Alpine policymaking and projects. For Youth Council member Julia Thüringer, 25, it above all strengthens self-confidence and provides motivation: «If other people are also working for the environment, it gives you the strength to persevere – even if you yourself sometimes feel that you cannot change things», she explains.

And perseverance is what is truly needed in Alpine policymaking. Young people still have too little involvement in political decisions. CIPRA Youth Council member Mirjam Kreisel often has the feeling that young people are not taken seriously by politicians: «In my opinion, young people are simply given responsibility for marketing.» But progress has been made: for example, the European Strategy for the Alpine Space (Eusalp) has invited young people to attend its annual forum to be held on 20-21 November 2018 in Innsbruck, Austria. Young adults can also submit their own project ideas by 15 October.

The CIPRA Youth Council celebrated its fifth anniversary this summer and made the best possible gift to itself with the introduction of the Youth Interrail Pass. Katharina Conradin, President of CIPRA International, congratulates them: «The five-year existence of the CIPRA Youth Council is a cause for joy: it shows that youth participation can succeed and produce very concrete results. A big thank you to everyone involved! »

Further information about the CIPRA Youth Council: www.cipra.org/en/cyc

The Youth Interrail Pass for the Alps: www.yoalin.org

Eusalp Project Competition: www.alpine-region.eu/pitch-your-project-annual-forum-2018 (en)