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More than one hundred people interested in education for sustainable development participated in the international conference “Learning and Networking for sustainable development in the Alps” from May 14th to 15th.  The conference marked the beginning of a new form of education as the Alpine School Model and the international network on mountain-oriented education ‘OurAlps’ were presented for the first time.

 

The Alpine School Model as a tool to empower young people

‘Educate youth in the sense of mountain-oriented education for a sustainable future in the Alps’ - this is the motto of the approach promoted by the Alpine School Model which is based on the basic principles of educating on sustainable development. Moreover, the innovative approach includes outdoor learning, interdisciplinarity methods and aims at integrating non-formal approaches into formal education in order to re-connect youth to their mountain territory.


After a presentation of the approach by several pilot sites, the future of the Model and its integration in formal education curricula was debated during a roundtable involving official representatives from Italy, Austria, France and Slovenia. For example, in Italy the so-called “Reti di scopo”, several local networks made up of schools and other institutions, may manage the certification process of Alpine schools and their partners in the future. Also, in Austria, the Alpine school model will be implemented in the Burgenland region in order to ensure further dissemination and promotion. Promising remarks were expressed by the Minister for Environment and Climate of the Lombardy Region, who hopes that the Alpine school model will support the necessary changes towards a culture of sustainable development.

 

Press Release Mello

OurAlps network: connecting alpine students and educators
The second big conference input involved the presentation of OurAlps, the international network on Mountain-oriented Education in the Alps, which aims to bring together stakeholders from different domains to allow for exchanges to occur on the Alpine level. Its characteristics and future perspectives were discussed together with representatives from different international and national associations such as Alplab, Alpine Town of the Year, Umweltdachverband and the WEEC network. In this context, it also became clear that thinking outside the box and considering the inclusion of periurban areas may be highly important for an Alpine approach to mountain-oriented education.


On the second conference day, three workshops were organised allowing participants to engage in deeper discussions. While the workshop on the Alpine School Model allowed for the public to discover what the Model is about in practice, the workshop on the OurAlps network encouraged the development of future scenarios. Finally, the workshop on Climate Change and Biodiversity gave the participants a possibility to dive into thematical discussions.


For more information on the project YOUrALPS and its outputs:
https://www.alpine-space.eu/projects/youralps/en/home
OurAlps network: https://www.ouralps.org/en
Facebook: YOUrALPS
Twitter: @YOUrALPS

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French presidency of the Alpine convention

The XV Alpine Conference in Innsbruck, Austria marked the end of the Austrian presidency of the Alpine Convention. During its 2-and-a-half-year leadership, the Austrian presidency focused on climate change under the theme “protection and utilization” of the Alps. The conference, which took place during the first week of April, highlighted some achievements made over the past few years and the hopes for the future. The presidency was then passed on to France, who will make a thematic shift to air quality, biodiversity and water issues. The following actions will be put in place to address these topics: an ad hoc group alpine convention 2on air quality has been established on June 4-5 in Paris. Concerning water issues, the French presidency will collaborate with the Annecy agglomeration (FR) since the city has expressed its commitment and it will be the site of a conference on this topic in October 2019. Moreover, going off of the June 2018 national biodiversity plan, France will continue to address biodiversity in the Alpine region in addition to hosting the IUCN World Congress on Nature Conservation in June 2020 in Marseille.

 

New Secretary General Appointed

The 6-year mandate of the current Secretary General Markus Reiterer has come to an end. Alenka Smerkol of Slovenia, who has experience in international business and financial management and has served as the minister responsible for development, strategic projects and cohesion for the Slovenian government will be taking over in July 2019. ALPARC wish to thank Secretary General Markus Reiter for the intensive and fruitful cooperation and support during these years and wishes the new Secretary General a fruitful and intense cooperation with the Alpine Network of Protected Areas.

 

Declaration of Innsbruck “Climate-neutral and Climate-resilient Alps 2050”

This declaration reconfirms the Contracting Parties’ commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation. It highlights the conventions’ role to raise awareness about specific themes relating to climate change. The report was created by the Alpine Climate Board and it lays out specific target actions around 12 sectors to achieve climate neutrality. The declaration also includes the 7th Report on the State of the Alps which focuses on natural hazard risk governance.

 

The Alpine region commits to soil protection and sustainable land use

Commitments on many levels have already been made to protect the soil (e.g. European Soil Charter). However, a commitment was not made by the Alpine region until this year during the XV Alpine Conference when the 2018 EUSALP Action Group 6’s declaration on land use and soil protection was recognized. This showed the Alpine region’s commitment to protect this key natural resource.

 

Results of the Thematic working Bodies of the Alpine convention

Alpine convention newletter 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

From 2016-2019, Thematic Working Bodies have been working to fulfill their mandates approved during the XIV Alpine Convention. Numerous publications were released under these working groups, in areas such as Natural hazards, Water management in the Alps, Sustainable Tourism, and Mountain Forests. These working bodies are the 'thematic core' of the Alpine convention, producing knowledge and information that guide decision making processes within the Convention. The XV Alpine Conference highlighted much of the work done by the Thematic Working Bodies over the past few years.

 

Talking with youth

Representatives invited the delegates of the Youth Parliament to the take part in the conference. For the first time, students from the parliament actively participated in the conference table, expressing the need for urgent action on climate change in order to protect the environment for future generations.

 

AlpWeek Intermezzo

What will the Alps look like tomorrow? What do we want them to look like? These questions were the central theme of the AlpWeek Intermezzo, which took place simultaneously as the XV Alpine Conference. During the first day of the event, guest speakers presented three issues concerning the future of the Alpine region: 1. sustainable protection measures through mapping and limiting land use; 2. the consequences and reactions to climate change; and 3. new forms of transportation to help Alpine populations without further expanding road networks. On the second day of the conference, the past and present situation of the Alps were presented as well as a variety of projects aiming for a better future in the Alps.

For more info see: http://www.alpconv.org/en/newsevents/latest/NewsDetails.html?entryid=131923

convention alpine small

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Climate Change is threatening our planet. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s ‘Special Report’, if global temperatures rise above 1.5 °C (above pre-industrial levels) we will face extreme climate events, a substantial increase in biodiversity loss, and difficulties gathering fresh water.

 

Climate Change in the Alps
The situation in the Alpine region is even more alarming, with rising temperatures about “twice as large as the global trend” (Brunetti et al., 2009). Furthermore, climate change’s effects are three time stronger in the Alps than the world’s average (OECD, 2007) and gathering fresh water is becoming an increasingly urgent issue. Over 90 percent of glacier volume in the Alps could be lost by 2100. Ice melting has become a symbol of climate change in the Alps, since it is the most visible and easily measured effect of climate change and due to the glaciers’ high importance for the region’s landscapes, ecosystems and economy. ‘The Cryosphere’ review envisages two alarming scenarios in which, depending on the increase in global temperatures, Alpine glaciers may or may not survive. 
Alpine States are committed to climate change action and have adopted the Alpine Convention’s ‘Declaration on Climate Change’ (2006) and ‘Action Plan on Climate Change in the Alps’ (2009).   Since 2011, “taking action on climate change” has been one of the priorities set during the ‘Multi-Annual Work Programme of the Alpine Conference’. This brought about the establishment of the Alpine Climate Board in 2016, which coordinates all climate change-related activities.

 

Concrete actions in Alpine protected areas

Several Alpine protected areas are carrying out concrete actions to deal with the effects of climate change which mainly consist in monitoring and research, adaptation and mitigation measures, promotion, educational activities and dissemination of relevant information to the general public.


In France, the project Alpages sentinelles, started in 2000, studies and measures the effects of climate change on 31 Alpine pastures. The project’s goal is to develop adaptation measures to preserve the traditional pastoral activity in the Alps. It involves the Ecrins National Park, Vanoise National Park, Mercantour National Park, Chartreuse Nature Regional Park, Vercors Nature Regional Park, and Luberon Nature Regional Park. The partners of Alpage sentinelles met last March to analyse the results of 2018 - the warmest year ever recorded since the launch of the project. They agreed that the most effective measure is to manage the Alpine pastures in a way that avoids further stress on the grasslands. Indeed, pastures are already feeling the effects of increasing temperatures, resulting in the depletion of vegetation.
In the same direction, the National Park of Ecrins and the National Park Gran Paradiso launched the LIFE project PastorAlp. Based on a consistent activity of transboundary research, the final output of the project consists of developing a platform of tools to facilitate the adoption of climate change adaptation strategies in the two parks.

 

3pnv006188 Renoncule des glaciers. Au 2e plan les Roches Blanches au fd. de g. à dr. Col des Léchours Pointe des Léchours Col du Pelvo Roux e

 

The Interreg Alcotra CClimaTT project involves transborder protected areas from France and Italy. The objectives of the project include:  gathering more knowledge and understanding of climate change effects; involving and informing the general public; and influencing people’s behaviour toward greater environmental responsibility. Within this framework, the Ente Aree Protette Alpi Marittime and National Park of Ecrins, offered 40,000 euros to eight projects, selected by a jury of experts, that promote a resilient and climate-smart future under the motto “If climate changes… we change as well!”. The winners will implement activities for the mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Alpine areas.


The Festival scientifique “Avec ou sans Glace” is an example of a series of activities held to inform the general public on the effect of climate change in the Alps with specific reference to glaciers melting. The conference organised by the National Park of Vanoise (France) included a ‘geological hike’ to discover the impact of the melting glaciers and a conference where climate change experts interacted with the public.

Apart from informing the general public, protected areas play a key role in carrying out educational activities on climate change effects. For example, the Natural Park of Adamello (Italy), together with a local high school, organised outdoor activities dedicated to pupils under the Interreg project YOUrALPS: The trees in the Alps as a signal of climate change. Students were guided by experts to discover the effects of climate change on forests to better understand the changing ecosystem. In Austria, still under the YOUrALPS project, educational activities were carried out in the Nature Park Geschriebenstein where high school students were confronted with the issue of extreme weather events caused by climate change. During on-field activities, they experimented with climate change adaptation and mitigation measures against floods.

In Slovenia, the Triglav National Park is part of the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve. This initiative is an intergovernmental research programme that establishes a global network of biosphere reserves. This network strives to uphold the balance between people and nature, biodiversity and sustainable development and upkeep of cultural values. This is a great example of the enhancement of an active ‘sink’ of GHGs, which is a strong mitigation measure against climate change.

Moreover, the Berchtesgaden National Park, in Bavaria, is involved in different climate monitoring activities. One of these activities is the Klimamessnetz (Climate monitoring network).  It relies on the National park service and the German weather service to track the changes in Alpine climate in the long run and in a large area. Moreover, the National Park is one of GLORIA-EUROPE research sites whose goal is to understand future scenarios we will have to face due to climate change.

Climate Change is producing severe effects on the Alps, but protected areas are fighting to resist.


Protected areas actions:


Alpages sentinelles


Pastoralp LIFE Project


Festival scientifique “Avec ou sans Glace”


Triglav National Park, the Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve


Klimamessnetz


If climate changes… We change as well!


The trees in the Alps as a signal of climate change


“Draußen unterrichten“– Biodiversity Strategies


We are Alps


Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments

 

Bibliography

Brunetti et al., 2009, ‘Climate variability and change in the Greater Alpine Region over the last two centuries based on multi-variable analysis’, in International Journal of Climatology

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2018, ‘Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC’, as seen in https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/, 25-04-2019

NASA, 2019, ‘Responding to Climate Change’ as seen in https://climate.nasa.gov/solutions/adaptation-mitigation/, 26-04-2019

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2007, ‘Climate Change in the European Alps: Adapting Winter Tourism and Natural Hazards Management’, ed. Shardul Agrawala

Zekollari et al., 2019, ‘Modelling the future evolution of glaciers in the European Alps under the EURO-CORDEX RCM ensemble’, in The Cryosphere, volume 13, pp. 1125-1146

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Is it possible to make the Alps  climate-neutral and resilient by 2050? The Permanent Secretary of the Alpine Convention lays out concrete actions for the Alpine region to turn this objective reality in its new publication "Climate-Neutral and Climate-Resilient Alps 2050". The publication highlights three central policies, coming from the 25th Alpine Convention: The Declaration of Innsbruck, the Alpine Climate Target System 2050 and the 7th Report on the State of the Alps “Natural Hazard Risk Governance”.  The Alpine Climate Target System 2050, prepared by the Alpine Climate Board over the last two years, describes specific actions that must be taken under 12 different sectors to protect the Alps from climate change. The 7th Report on the State of the Alps describes the future for natural hazard risk governance. 

The Alpine Convention’s new publication calls for the Contracting Parties to prioritize climate change action and policies to preserve the Alps’ natural heritage. These targets showcase the Alps as being a model for international cooperation and its role in climate change adaptation and mitigation

The publication “Climate-Neutral and Climate-resilient Alps 2050" is available in English, French, Italian, German and Slovenian

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On Thursday April 11th, 2019, the new regional platform of the Alpine network ALPARC CENTR’ALPS was officially founded in Balderschwang, Nagelfluhkette Nature Park (DE).  Directly linked by contract to the ALPARC network, the new platform has an association status based on German law. 

The creation of a regional platform is based on the decisions of ALPARC’s last three General Assemblies, who decided to put in place a decentralized structure of ALPARC to guarantee concrete work on the ground, a closer proximity towards the managers of the protected areas and local initiatives. ALPARC CENTR’ALPS shares the same objectives and working axes of its “mother organization” and represents a concrete possibility for smaller protected areas and local managers of biodiversity and natural sites to join the network.  Thanks to ALPARC CENTR’ALPS there will be an opportunity to gain access to more of the EU’s funding for the central region. 

The 10 founding members include protected areas from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Swiss Park Network, the Federation of the Austrian Nature Park and the interactive natural museum Inatura located in Dornbin, Germany. The presidency of ALPARC CENTR’ALPS is assured by Peter Oggier, the current president of ALPARC and director of the Nature Park Pfyn-Finges

To insure a regional presence of the Alpine network with regional contact points and to guarantee the proximity to the protected areas, ALPARC is planning to create a second regional platform in the south-eastern Alps (East of Italy or Slovenia). This will strengthen the network’s activities.

List of the 10 founding members of the ALPARC CENTR'ALPS:

 

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Ponedeljek, 04 Marec 2019 12:05

We are Alps compact 2019

Every year, the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention invites journalists on the We are Alps, a tour across the Alps to experience interesting initiatives in the Alps hands-on and meet various stakeholders, travelling with trains, buses and other sustainable means of transport. 
This year, the tour will take place as the “We are Alps Compact” edition, being held on Wednesday 3 April – Thursday 4 April simultaneously to the XV Alpine Conference and focussing on the topics of Climate Change, Natural Hazard and Governance. Excursions in and around Innsbruck (AT) will demonstrate how these three issues are approached, taking into account the particularities of the Alpine natural features. Furthermore, the participants will get the chance to converse with political representatives of the 8 Alpine Countries in the run-up to the XV Alpine Conference (taking place in the morning of 4 April) and participate in the closing Press Conference.

The call is open until Sunday, 10 March for interested journalists from all types of media, particularly from Alpine countries to apply for a place on the tour.

Further information and the application documents can be found on the Alpine Convention’s website.

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On Thursday 21 February, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region was awarded with the “2018 Marianne d'or “ for sustainable development.

The award was handed over to Etienne Blanc, Senior Vice-President of the Region, and Eric Fournier, Vice-President in charge of Environment and Sustainable Development, Energy and Regional Natural Parks. This prize recognizes "an exemplary of the region in supporting of an innovative ecological transition". The Marianne d'Or for sustainable development is a "concrete indicator of field initiatives settled by motivated policy makers, private companies and engaged citizens" the committee points out. Created in 1984 during the first French decentralization actions, the Marianne d'Or competition is the first civical competition in France, with the objective of disseminating good practices led by local authorities.

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Torek, 09 April 2019 15:51

Conference on Sustainable Tourism

Europarc organise the XI Charter Network Meeting. It takes place in Greece (Tzoumerka, Acheloos Valley, Agrafa and Meteora National Park) between the 9-11th April, with a special post-conference excursion until the 14th April. It is an excellent opportunity to all professionals working and interested in sustainable tourism in protected areas to examine, discuss and learn from each other. Using practical examples and experience from across Europe,  this will be a valuable chance to consider how to explore a “sustainable response” to the many social and cultural impact that tourism brings about in Protected Areas.

Registrations are now open, all information available at: www.europarc.org/xi-charter-network-meeting

The successful two-year WeWild project ("We respect Alpine Wildlife") on ecologically friendly mountain sports has officially been completed. On November 7th, the final event of the project was officially held at the Alpine Museum of the Alpine Club in Munich. Once again, the project mobilized a large number of German and international stakeholders from protected area managements, Alpine clubs, authorities and nature conservation organisations, who used this day to exchange their experiences. The lively group discussions in the afternoon revealed current problems such as the growing influence of social media and online communities on the number of visits to sensitive natural areas. Options for action were discussed. The final event showed that all actors in the fields of nature conservation and (sustainable) nature sports in the Alps should take a stand on "overtourism" and "overmountaineering" and should jointly develop solutions.


Through the WeWild project and for the Alpine protected areas, ALPARC was able to launch a joint communication and cooperation initiative on human-nature conflicts in nature and mountain sports: "Be Part of the Mountain" (BPM). In the future, this initiative should promote the exchange of sustainable solutions, increase the reach of regional and local initiatives and develop joint awareness-raising tools and messages for nature conservation in mountain sports.
With the first snow that has arrived these days in the Alps, the number of members of “Be Part of the Mountain” has already risen to nine. Most recently, the Massif des Bauges Nature Park in France and the Dobratsch Nature Park in Austria were officially added as members. Members of BPM are officially committed to and promote the vision and common values of the initiative for ecologically friendly mountain sports that does not neglect nature conservation. They are involved - some of them already very successfully - at their level - in area management, visitor guidance and awareness-raising communication.


The following organisations are members of the initiative "Be Part of the Mountain" at the end of 2018:


•    The Ossola Protected Areas, Italy
•    CIPRA Italia, Italy
•    The UNESCO Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage Site, Switzerland
•    The Vercors Regional Natural Park, France
•    The Mont Avic Natural Park, Italy
•     The Nagelfluhkette Natural Park, Germany
•     The Dobratsch Natural Park, Austria
•    The Regional Natural Massif des Bauges Park, France


For more information see: www.bepartofthemountain.org

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ALPARC is currently carrying out the Destination Parks project, which aims to promote the exchange of Alpine park destinations on sustainable tourism and to develop a common positioning of these regions in Alpine tourism. In October and December, regional exchanges took place in three best practise regions: the Queyras Nature Park in the Southern French Alps, the Gesäuse National- and Nature Park Region in Styria and the Dobratsch Nature Park in Carinthia.
In France, in the Queyras, the participants exchanged notably on the development of sustainable products for park tourism and their marketing (target groups, nature-oriented activities and packages). The marketed tourism products are tightly linked to the natural and cultural heritage of the Queyras valley. The visits to the regions in Carinthia and Styria were successfully organized by ALPARC as a study trip: In the Gesäuse region, the exchange focused primarily on regional branding and cooperation (for whom, how and what). The presentation of the successful development of the "Gesäuse" brand by the regional tourism organisation made the exchange very concrete and the discussions highlighted important success factors. At the Dobratsch, Villach's local mountain in Carinthia, the participants were then given a lively demonstration of what the future of low altitude ski resorts in the Alps could look like. Since 2002, the local stakeholders have positioned the Nature Park as a sustainable nature showplace (NaturSchauPlatz) for everyone, whereby the tourism strategy is coupled with a holistic visitor guidance concept. As part of the "Magische Momente" (Magic Moments) campaign, nature-based tourism offers are cross-marketed in Carinthia's nature parks.
The exchanges in the three regions have provided the participants with many good examples of a more sustainable Alpine tourism. In all three regions, success factors for the cooperation between tourism organisations and protected area managements as well as for the development of partner programmes also came to light. The partner programmes in particular are extremely important for sustainable tourism and the valorisation of regional production, as they can promote ownership of the protected area idea among locals and visitors alike.
The project is carried out with support of the Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU, Switzerland).

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