Alpine Convention

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The Alpine Convention is an international territorial treaty for the sustainable development of the Alps. The objective of the treaty is to protect the natural environment of the Alps while promoting its development. This Framework Convention involves the European Union and eight states (Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland). Opened to signature in 1991 and consisting of a Framework Convention, various implementation protocols and declarations, it entered into force in 1995, contributing to reinforce the recognition of special qualities and specific characteristics of the Alps, going beyond national boundaries and seeking international action.

Logo of the Alpine Convention

Geographic area of the Alpine Convention[edit]

Alpine arc

The geographic area of the Alpine Convention covers a 190,959 km2 or 73,730 sq mi encompassing 5867 municipalities (data from January 2008). The Alpine Range as defined by the Alpine Convention stretches across 1,200 km or 746 mi, through eight states, and its maximum width is 300 km or 186 mi, between Bavaria and Northern Italy. The entire territories of Monaco and Liechtenstein are included. Austria and Italy together represent more than 55% of the Convention area. With France, these three states cover the three-quarter of the total surface of the Alpine Convention territory. In 2007, the total population of this area was approaching 14 million inhabitants.[1]

The Institutions of the Alpine Convention[edit]

The Alpine Conference[edit]

The Alpine Conference is the body that takes the most important decisions regarding the Convention. The Presidency of the Conference rotates between the Contracting parties, each holding the Presidency for a two-year period. For the period 2013–2014 the presidency is held by Italy.

The Conference also welcomes the following observers: European association of elected representatives from mountain regions, Alpe Adria, Arge Alp, CIPRA International, Club Arc Alpin, COTRAO – The Working Community of the Western Alps, Euromontana, FIANET, the International Steering Committee of the Network of Protected areas, the IUCN, the Managing Authority of the European Cooperation Programme Alpine Space, Pro Mont Blanc, UNEP and ISCAR.

All the Alpine Conferences:

Conference Years Presidency Conference place
I. Alpine convention 1989 Germany Berchtesgaden
II. Alpine convention 1989–1991 Austria Salzburg
III. Alpine convention 1991–1994 France Chambery
IV. Alpine convention 1995–1996 Slovenia Bled
V. Alpine convention 1996–1998 Slovenia Brdo
VI. Alpine convention 1999–2000 Switzerland Luzern
VII. Alpine convention 2001–2002 Italy Merano
VIII. Alpine convention 2003–2004 Germany Garmisch-Partenkirchen
IX. Alpine convention 2005–2006 Austria Alpbach
X. Alpine convention 2007–2008 France Evian
XI. Alpine convention 2009–2011 Slovenia Brdo pri Kranju
XII. Alpine convention 2011–2012 Switzerland Poschiavo

The Permanent Committee[edit]

The Permanent Committee is the executive body of the Alpine Conference. It is composed of all Member delegations and guarantees that the basis, the principles and the objectives of the Convention are implemented. Permanent committee analyses the information submitted by the Member States in implementing the Convention and reports to the Alpine Conference; prepares programmes for meetings of the Alpine Conference and proposes the agenda; sets up Working Groups that have to formulate Protocols and recommendations and it coordinates their activities; examines and harmonizes the contents of draft Protocols and makes proposals to the Alpine Conference.

Permanent Committee meets twice a year; last meetings.

The Compliance Committee[edit]

The Compliance Committee is the body that oversees implementation of the commitments and obligations taken under the Alpine Convention. Every 10 years, Contracting Parties have to publish a report concerning the implementation of the Convention and its protocols. The first report was adopted at the Xth Alpine Conference (March 2009).[2]

The Permanent Secretariat[edit]

This treaty dedicated to a specific territory is supported by a Permanent Secretariat, created in 2003, that has its main office in Innsbruck, Austria, and a branch office in Bolzano-Bozen, Italy. The role of this Permanent Secretariat is to support all the other bodies instituted by the Alpine Convention by providing professional, logistic and administrative support, and by helping the Contracting parties, especially in implementing projects. The Secretariat is headed by a Secretary General, currently M. Markus Reiterer.

Permanent Secretariat carries out different projects and activities for promotion of the Alpine Convention.

Working Groups and Platforms[edit]

The Permanent Committee can establish Working Groups, with a 2-year-mandate, on topics it considers relevant to support the sustainable development within the Alps. The main responsibility of the Working groups and Platforms is the development of new protocols, recommendations and implementation measures, studies of ongoing developments and reports on the progress to the Alpine Conference and Permanent Committee.

Ten Working Groups and Platforms are currently active:

  • Working Group Transport [3]
  • Working Group UNESCO World Heritage[4]
  • Natural Hazards Platform[5]
  • Ecological Network Platform[6]
  • Expert Group -Report from the State of the Alps-[7]
  • Water Management Platform in the Alpine space[8]
  • Large Carnivores and Wild Ungulates Platform[9]
  • Working Group "Demography and Employment"[10]
  • Working Group "Macro-regional strategy for the Alps"[11]
  • "Mountain Farming" Platform[12]

Signatures and ratifications of the Framework Convention and its Protocols[edit]

The first meeting of interested countries took place in Berchtesgaden in December 1989. On 7 the Framework Convention was signed by Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Slovenia signed on 29 and Monaco on 20. Ratification occurred between 1994 and 1999.[13] Below is a brief overview about the signatures and the state of ratifications:[14]

State Signature Ratification Entry into force
Austria 1991 1994 1995
Switzerland 1991 1998 1999
Germany 1991 1994 1995
France 1991 1995 1996
Liechtenstein 1991 1994 1995
Italy 1991 1999 2000
Monaco 1994 1998 1999
Slovenia 1993 1995 1995
EU 1991 1996 1998

To date, Alpine states have signed all the protocols, except Monaco that didn't sign the protocol 'Energy' and the European Union that didn’t sign the protocols ‘Mountain Forests’ and ‘Settlement of disputes’. Regarding protocol ratification, Switzerland has not ratified any protocols yet.

Protocols and Declarations linked to the Framework Convention[edit]

Under the Convention, Member States should adopt specific measures in twelve thematic areas (Population and Culture, Spatial Planning, Air pollution, Soil Conservation, Water Management, Conservation of Nature and the Countryside, Mountain Farming, Mountain Forests, Tourism, Transport, Energy, and Waste Management).[15] Of these areas, eight are now protocols annexed to the Framework Convention:[16]

  • Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development;[17]
  • Mountain Farming;[18]
  • Conservation of Nature and Landscape Protection;[19]
  • Mountain Forests;[20]
  • Tourism;[21]
  • Soil Conservation;[22]
  • Energy;[23]
  • Transports.[24]

Two new protocols, not related to a specific thematic area, have since been adopted:

  • Settlement of disputes;[25]
  • Adherence of the Principality of Monaco to the Alpine Convention.[26]

The Alpine Convention includes two Declarations that could not been turned into Protocols:

  • Declaration on Population and Culture;[27]
  • Declaration on Climate Change.[28]

Publications of the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention[29][edit]

Future and evolution of the Alpine Convention[edit]

The European Commission wants to define geographical areas that overcome national boundaries. Its main aim is to better adapt and distribute economic development aid to the targeted regions. This new policy gives a strong stimulus to debate and exchanges of views on the creation of an Alpine Strategy, following the example of the Baltic Initiative or the European Strategy for the Danube Region.[36] In this context, the geographical area to be chosen constitutes a central element in defining such an Alpine region. Two different conceptions exist: the first, chosen by the Alpine Convention, limits the Alps to territory of a mountainous character; the second, chosen by the Alpine Space Programme extends the concept to non-Alpine regions and to bigger urban flatland areas around the Alps.[37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alpski signali 1 Alpine convention webpage, 02/10/2012.
  2. ^ en.htm Presentation of the Steering Committee from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 16 January 2011.
  3. ^ Working Group Transport from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  4. ^ Working Group UNESCO World Heritage from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  5. ^ Natural Hazards Platform from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  6. ^ Ecological Network Platform from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  7. ^ Expert Group -Report from the State of the Alps- from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  8. ^ Water management Platform in the Alpine Space from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 12 October 2012
  9. ^ Large Carnivores and Wild Ungulates Platform from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  10. ^ Working Group "Demography and Employment" from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  11. ^ Working Group "Macro-regional strategy for the Alps" from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 1 October 2012
  12. ^ "Mountain Farming" Platform from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 1 October 2012
  13. ^ State of Ratification from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 16 January 2011
  14. ^ State of Ratifications from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2011
  15. ^ Article 2 of the Framework Convention from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 1 October 2012
  16. ^ List and integral texts of the Framework Convention Protocols from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  17. ^ Protocol Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  18. ^ Protocol Mountain Farming from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  19. ^ Protocol Conservation of Nature and Landscape Protection from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  20. ^ Protocol Mountain Forests from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  21. ^ Protocol Tourism from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  22. ^ Protocol Soil Conservation from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  23. ^ Protocol Energy from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  24. ^ Protocol Transport from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  25. ^ Protocol Solution of litigations from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  26. ^ Protocol Adherence of the Principality of Monaco to the Alpine Convention from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  27. ^ Declaration on Population and Culture from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  28. ^ Declaration on Climate Change from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 2 October 2012
  29. ^ [1] from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 1 October 2012
  30. ^ Alpine Signals 5 from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 16 January 2011
  31. ^ Report on the State of the Alps #1 from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 16 January 2011
  32. ^ Report on the State of the Alps #2 from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 16 January 2011
  33. ^ The Alps-Eight countries, a single territory from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 16 January 2011
  34. ^ THE ALPS. People and pressures in the mountains from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 16 January 2011
  35. ^ Establishing an Alpine Ecological Network from the Alpine Convention website, consulted on 16 January 2011
  36. ^ Conference that took place in October in Brussels on the Alpine macro-region issue from the DG REGIO website, consulted on 16 January 2011.
  37. ^ The Alpine Space Programme consulted on 16 January 2011.

External links[edit]