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THE CONVENTION

Framework Convention

The Convention is a framework that sets out the basic principles of all the activities
of the Alpine Convention and contains general measures for the sustainable
development in the Alpine region. It entered into force on March 1995. 

The Convention text can be downloaded as a pdf.

Text

Preamble  

Article 1: Scope 
Article 2: General obligations 
Article 3: Research and systematic monitoring 
Article 4: Legal, scientific, economic and technical cooperation 
Article 5: Conference of Contracting Parties  
Article 6: Functions of the Conference 
Article 7: Decisionmaking within the Conference 
Article 8: Standing Committee 
Article 9: Secretariat 
Article 10: Amendments to the Convention 
Article 11: Protocols and amendments thereto 
Article 12: Signature and ratification 
Article 13: Denunciation 
Article 14: Notifications

Preamble

THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY,
THE FRENCH REPUBLIC,
THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC,
THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA,
THE PRINCIPALITY OF LIECHTENSTEIN,
THE REPUBLIC OF AUSTRIA,
THE SWISS CONFEDERATION
and
THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY,

AWARE that the Alps are one of the largest continuous unspoilt natural
areas in Europe, which, with their outstanding unique and diverse natural
habitat, culture and history, constitute an economic, cultural, recreational
and living environment in the heart of Europe, shared by numerous peoples
and countries,

RECOGNIZING that the Alps constitute the living and economic environment
for the indigenous population and are also vitally important for extraAlpine
regions, being the site of important transport routes, for example,

RECOGNIZING the fact that the Alps constitute an essential habitat and last
refuge for many endangered species of plants and animals

AWARE of the substantial differences existing between national legal systems,
natural conditions, population distribution, agriculture and forestry, the state
and development of the economy, the volume of traffic and the nature and
intensity of tourism,

AWARE that the evergrowing pressures caused by man
are increasingly threatening the Alpine region and its ecological functions, and
that the damage is either irreparable or rectifiable only with great effort, at
considerable cost and, as a rule, over a long period of time,

CONVINCED of the need for economic interests to be reconciled with ecological
requirements,

FOLLOWING the outcome of the first Alpine Conference of Environment Ministers
held in Berchtesgaden from 9 to 11 October 1989,

HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1: Scope   
  1. The Convention shall cover the Alpine region, as described and depicted
    in the Annex.  
  2. Each Contracting Party may, when depositing its instrument of ratification,
    acceptance or approval or at any time thereafter, extend the application
    of this Convention to additional parts of its national territory by
    making a declaration to the depositary, the Republic of Austria, provided
    that this is necessary to implement the provisions of the Convention.  
  3. Any declaration made under paragraph 2 may, in respect of any national
    territory specified in such declaration, be withdrawn by a notification
    addressed to the depositary. The withdrawal shall become effective on the first
    day of the month following the expiration of a period of six months after the
    date of receipt of such notification by the depositary.
Article 2: General obligations   

  1. The Contracting Parties shall pursue a comprehensive policy for the preservation
    and protection of the Alps by applying the principles of prevention, payment by the
    polluter (the 'polluter pays' principle) and cooperation, after careful consideration
    of the interests of all the Alpine States, their Alpine regions and the European
    Economic Community, and through the prudent and sustained use of resources.
    Transborder cooperation in the Alpine region shall be intensified and extended
    both in terms of the territory and the number of subjects covered.  
  2. In order to achieve the objective referred to in paragraph 1, the Contracting Parties
    shall take appropriate measures in particular in the following areas:        
    a. population and culture the objective is to respect, preserve and promote the
    cultural and social independence of the indigenous population and to guarantee
    the basis for their living standards, in particular environmentally sound settlement
    and economic development, and promote mutual understanding and cooperation
    between Alpine and extraAlpine populations;        
    b. spatial planning the objective is to ensure the economic and rational use of
    land and the sound, harmonious development of the whole region, particular
    emphasis being placed on natural hazards, the avoidance of under and overuse
    and the conservation or rehabilitation of natural habitats by means of a thorough
    clarification and evaluation of landuse requirements, foresighted integral planning
    and coordination of the measures taken;
    c. prevention of air pollution the objective is to drastically reduce the emission of
    pollutants and pollution problems in the Alpine region, together with inputs of harmful
    substances from outside the region, to a level which is not harmful to man, animals
    and plants;
    d. soil conservation the objective is to reduce quantitative and qualitative soil damage,
    in particular by applying agricultural and forestry methods which do not harm the soil,
    through minimum interference with soil and land, control of erosion and the restriction
    of soil sealing, 
    e. water management the objective is to preserve or reestablish healthy water systems,
    in particular by keeping lakes and rivers free of pollution, by applying natural hydraulic
    engineering techniques and by using water power, which serves the interests
    of both the indigenous population and the environment alike;
    f. conservation of nature and the countryside the objective is to protect, conserve
    and, where necessary, rehabilitate and natural environment and the countryside,
    so that ecosystems are able to function, animal and plants species, including
    their habitats, are preserved, nature's capacity for regeneration and sustained
    productivity is maintained, and the variety, uniqueness and beauty of nature
    and the countryside as a whole are preserved on a permanent basis;        
    g. mountain farming the objective is, in the public interest, to maintain the management
    of land traditionally cultivated by man and to preserve and promote a system of farming
    which suits local conditions and is environmentally compatible, taking into account the
    less favourable economic conditions;
    h. mountain forests the objective is to preserve, reinforce and restore the role
    of forests, in particular their protective role, by improving the resistance of forest
    ecosystems mainly by applying natural forestry techniques and preventing any
    utilization detrimental to forests, taking into account the less favourable economic
    conditions in the Alpine region;        
    i. tourism and recreation the objective is, by restricting activities harmful to the environment,
    to harmonize tourism and recreational activities which ecological and social requirements,
    in particular by setting aside quiet areas;
    j. transport the objective is to reduce the volume and dangers of interAlpine and
    transAlpine traffic to a level which is not harmful to humans, animals and plants
    and their habitats, by switching more traffic, in particular freight traffic, to the
    railways in particular by providing appropriate infrastructure and incentives complying
    which market principles, without discrimination on grounds of nationality,       
    k.energy the objective is to introduce methods for the production, distribution and use
    of energy which preserve the countryside and are environmentally compatible, and to
    promote energysaving measures;
    l. waste management the objective is to develop a system of waste collection, utilization
    and disposal which meets the special topographic, geological and climatic requirements
    of the Alpine region, paying particular attention to waste avoidance.
  3. The Contracting Parties shall agree upon Protocols laying down details for the
    implementation of this Convention.

Article 3: Research and systematic monitoring    

In the areas specified in Article 2, the Contracting Parties agree to:

  1. cooperate in the carrying out of research activities and scientific assessments;  
  2. develop joint or complementary systematic monitoring programmer;  
  3. harmonize research, monitoring and related data-acquisition activities.

Article 4: Legal, scientific, economic and technical cooperation 

  1. The Contracting Parties shall facilitate and promote the exchange of legal, scientific,
    economic and technical information relevant to this Convention.
  2. The Contracting Parties shall inform each other of planned legal or economic
    measures which are expected to have particular effects on the Alpine region
    or parts thereof, in order to give the utmost consideration to cross-border and
    regional requirements.  
  3. The Contracting Parties shall cooperate with international governmental and
    nongovernmental organizations, where necessary, to ensure the effective implementation
    of the Convention and the Protocols to which they are a Contracting Party.  
  4. The Contracting Parties shall ensure that the public are regularly kept informed in
    an appropriate manner about the results of research, monitoring and action taken.  
  5. The Contracting Parties' obligations under this Convention with regard to the
    provision of information shall be subject to compliance with national laws on
    confidentiality. Information designated confidential shall be treated as such.

Article 5: Conference of Contracting Parties (Alpine Conference)

  1. Regular meetings of the Conference of Contracting Parties shall be held to discuss the common concerns of and cooperation between the Contracting Parties. The first meeting of the Alpine Conference shall be convened a year after the entry into force of this Convention at the latest by a Contracting Party to be determined by agreement.
  2. Subsequently, ordinary meetings of the Conference shall normally be convened
    every two years by the Contracting Party holding the chair. The chairmanship
    and location shall change after each ordinary meeting of the Conference. Both shall
    be determined by the Alpine Conference.  
  3. The Contracting Party holding the chair shall propose the agenda for the meeting
    of the Conference. Each Contracting Party shall have the right to have other items
    included on the agenda.  
  4. The Contracting Parties shall forward to the Conference information on the measures
    which they have taken in implementation of the Convention and the Protocols to which
    they are a Contracting Party, subject to national laws on confidentiality.  
  5. The United Nations, its specialized agencies, the Council of Europe and all
    European countries may take part in the meetings of the Conference as observers.
    The same applies to crossborder associations of Alpine territorial authorities.
    In addition, relevant international nongovernmental organizations may be admitted
    to the Conference as observers.  
  6. Extraordinary meetings of the Conference shall be held by consensus or if a written
    application has been made to the presiding Contracting Party by one third of the
    Contracting Parties between two ordinary meetings.  

 
Article 6: Functions of the Conference

At its meetings, the Conference shall examine the implementation of the Convention
and Protocols, together with Annexes, and, in particular, shall carry out the following
functions at its meetings:   

  1. it shall adopt amendments to the Convention under the procedure laid down
    in Article 10;  
  2. it shall adopt Protocols and their Annexes and amendments thereto under
    the procedure laid down in Article I 1;  
  3. it shall adopt its Rules of Procedure;  
  4. it shall make the necessary financial decisions;  
  5. it shall approve the creation of Working Groups deemed necessary for the
    implementation of the Convention;  
  6. it shall take note of assessments of scientific information;  
  7. it shall decide or recommend measures to achieve the objectives laid down in
    Articles 3 and 4, shall determine the nature, subject and date of submission
    of the information to be submitted in accordance with Article S (4), and shall take
    note of this information, together with the reports submitted by the Working Groups;  
  8. it shall be responsible for carrying out essential secretariat functions.

 
Article 7: Decision making within the Conference   

  1. The Conference shall reach its decisions unanimously unless otherwise determined
    below. If all efforts to achieve unanimity with regard to the functions referred to in
    Article 6 (c), (0 and (g) have failed and the chairman specifically establishes this fact,
    the decision shall be reached by a threequarters majority of the Contracting Parties
    present and voting at the meeting.  
  2. Each Contracting Party shall have a vote at the Conference. Within the areas of its
    competence, the European Community exercises its right to vote with a number of
    votes equal to the number of its Member States which are Contracting Parties to this
    Convention; the European Economic Community shall not exercise is right to vote in
    cases where the Member States exercise theirs.

Article 8: Standing Committee    

  1. A Conference Standing Committee consisting of delegates of the Contracting Parties
    shall be set up as an executive body.  
  2. Signatory States which have not yet ratified the Convention shall have observer status at
    Standing Committee meetings. In addition, any Alpine State which has not yet signed this
    Convention may be given this status on demand.  
  3. The Standing Committee shall adopt its Rules of Procedure.   
  4. In addition, the Standing Committee shall decide on the procedures for any participation
    of representatives of governmental and/or non­governmental organizations at its meetings.  
  5. The Contracting Party presiding over the Conference shall appoint the chairman of the
    Standing Committee.  
  6. The Standing Committee shall carry out the following functions in particular:
    a. it shall analyse the information submitted by the Contracting Parties in accordance with
    Article s (4) and report to the Alpine Conference;        
    b. it shall collect and assess documents with regard to the implementation of the
    Convention and Protocols, together with Annexes, and shall submit them to the Conference
    for examination in accordance with Article 6;        
    c. it shall inform the Alpine Conference about the implementation of the Conference's decisions;        
    d. it shall prepare programmes for meetings of the Conference and may propose items for the
    agenda as well as other measures relating to the implementation of the Convention and is Protocols;        
    e.  it shall appoint Working Groups to formulate Protocols and recommendations, in accordance
    with Article 6 (e) and coordinate their activities;        
    f. it shall examine and harmonize the contents of draft Protocols from an overall point of view
    and propose them to the Conference;        
    g. it shall propose measures and recommendations for the achievement of the objectives
    contained in the Convention and its Protocols to the Conference. 
  7. Decisionmaking within the Standing Committee shall take place in accordance with the
    provisions laid down in Article 7.

Article 9: Secretariat

The Conference may decide unanimously to set up a permanent secretariat.


Article 10: Amendments to the Convention

Any Contracting Party may submit proposals for amendments to this Convention to the Contracting
Party presiding over the Conference. Such proposals shall be communicated to the Contracting
Parties and signatory States by the Contracting Party presiding over the Conference at least six
months before the Conference meeting at which they are to be considered. Amendments to the
Convention shall come into force in accordance with Article 12 (2), (3) and (4).


Article 11: Protocols and amendments there to   

  1. Draft Protocols within the meaning of Article 2 (3) shall be communicated to the Contracting
    Parties and signatory States by the Contracting Party presiding over the Conference at least
    six months before the Conference meeting at which they are to be considered.  
  2. The Protocols adopted by the Conference shall be signed at the Conference meetings or
    subsequently at the depositary. They shall be applicable to those Contracting Parties which
    have ratified, accepted or approved them. In order for a Protocol to come into force at least
    three ratifications, acceptances or approvals shall be necessary. The relevant documents
    shall be deposited with the depositary, the Republic of Austria.  
  3. Unless otherwise provided for in the Protocol, the entry into force and denunciation of a
    Protocol shall be governed by Articles 10, 13 and 14.  
  4. In the case of amendments to Protocols, paragraphs I to 3 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 12: Signature and ratification    

  1. This Convention shall be open for signature from 7 November 1991 in the Republic of
    Austria as the depositary.  
  2. The Convention shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. The instruments
    of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the depositary.  
  3. The Convention shall enter into force three months after date on which three States
    have expressed their consent to be bound by the Convention, in accordance with the
    provisions of paragraph 2.  
  4. In the case of any signatory State which subsequently expresses its consent to be bound
    by the Convention in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2, the Convention shall
    enter into force three months after the date of deposit of the instrument of ratification,
    acceptance or approval.

Article 13: Denunciation    

  1. Any of the Contracting Parties may at any time denounce this Convention by means of a
    notification addressed to the depositary.  
  2. Such denunciation shall become effective on the first day of the month following the
    expiration of a period of six months after the date of receipt of notification by the depositary.    

 
Article 14: Notifications
 
The depositary shall notify each of the Contracting Parties and signatory States of:

  1. any signature;
  2. the deposit of any instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval;
  3. any date of entry into force of the Convention, in accordance with Article 12;
  4. any declaration made in accordance with Article I (V and (3);
  5. any notification made under Article 13 and the date on which denunciation becomes effective.

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Convention.

Done at Salzburg on 7 November 1991 in the German, French, Italian and Slovene languages, each
text being equally binding, the original text shall be deposited in the Austrian State archives The
depositary shall send a certified CODV to each of the signatory States.


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