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Presidency: Germany and France

An ecological network is an area of natural habitats that are interconnected physically (territorially) and functionally through populations of species and ecosystems.
The Alps are one of the largest continual natural spaces in Europe. The Contracting Parties have undertaken to preserve, manage and, where necessary, to extend the existing protected areas and to identify, where possible, new protected areas. They have also committed to promote a cross-border network of protected areas, biotopes and other environmental assets protected or acknowledged as worthy of protection.
1. What is the Ecological Network Platform? 

The Ecological Network Platform of the Alpine Convention was set up by ministers at the IX. Alpine Conference in 2006 as an expert forum to develop common strategies designed to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity in the Alps, mainly through the design and support of measures ensuring the connectivity between natural habitats. Challenges to the biodiversity heritage are manifold. Climate change also has a severe impact on connectivity since average temperatures, which in the Alps increase faster than the average in the Northern Hemisphere, push fauna and flora to higher altitudes. The more fauna, flora and their habitat are pushed to higher altitudes, the harder is to maintain the connectivity. 
In the years 2013-2014 this Platform is focusing on coordination of support for the national plans of ecological connectivity; concrete platform contributions for planning and implementation of cross-border measures to enhance ecological connectivity with integration and evaluation of various possible instruments; integration of the Alpine landscape protection as a necessary complement to the platform. The Platform continues to support and monitor the activities in the pilot areas to keep the exchange of experiences and knowledge. Cooperation with other projects and initiatives will continue.   
Establishing an ecological network in the Alps was one of the key objectives of the Protocol “Conservation of Nature and Countryside” of the Alpine Convention. Furthermore, biodiversity is one of the priority action areas in the The Multiannual Work Programme 2011-2016.   
The contracting parties to the Alpine Convention delegated experts to be members of the Platform. Observers to the Convention may put forward representatives selected by the observers themselves.

List of members

2. Objectives 
The main objectives of the Ecological Network Platform are:
  • Elaboration of common terminology and methodology for the implementation of the Ecological Network with the help of experts.
  • Further development and dissemination of the catalogue of measures for the implementation of the Ecological Network, in terms of examples of good practice for the implementation of strategies on biodiversity on individual Alpine countries and the European Union.
  • Support and monitoring of the activities in the pilot areas in accordance with the platform to keep the exchange of experiences and knowledge between new and existing pilot regions.
  • Cooperation and coordination with all known projects on the subjects of “Ecological Network” and “ecological or biological corridors” at the international, national, and regional levels. 
3. Activities, documents, results
  • Mandate of the ECO-NET Platform (in DE, FR, IT, SL)
  • Final report on connectivity analysis (2012) - Topic: Cross-border ecological network in the Alps (in DE, FR, IT, SL)
  • June 2012: Synthesis report on indicators for monitoring the progress of the ecological network in the Alps
  • In March 2011 the Alpine Conference officially recognised and rewarded eight alpine regions for their exemplary work aiming at the creation of an alpine ecological network (more information here). The final report of the R&D-Project describes the nomination procedure of Pilot Regions (Summary). In the annex it includes the questionnaire interested regions need to compile, detailed explanations on this questionnaire and illustrates the benefits a region can get from the nomination. This annex is available in the DE version and in FR, IT and SL.
  • Report and presentations of the inaugural meeting, Munich, 29th March 2007
  • The representatives of member states compiled reports on the status of an ecological network in their countries in order to inform other bodies of the Alpine Convention and to decide on priorities for the work of the platform. A synopsis of the country reports can be downloaded here.
4. Links and Additional Information