66. Permanent committee meeting hosted in Innsbruck

For 2 days, Innsbruck (Austria) hosted the 66. meeting of the Permanent Committee of the Alpine Conference and the associated kick-off conference of the Alpine Partnership for Local Climate Action. The focus this time was on the 2nd priority of the Multi-Annual Work Programme (MAP) 2017-2022 “Taking action on climate change”. In the run-up to the meeting, the workshop on “Sustainable tourism in the Alps. Who gets the job done” was organized. All meetings were certified as Green Event Tirol. The second conference day was festively started, celebrating the 27th anniversary of the Alpine Convention! 

The PC discussed the report on the Alpine Climate Board, which over the last months has elaborated a concrete system of objectives of the Alpine Convention in regard to the perspective of a “climate neutral Alpine space”. This “Climate Target System” will be presented to the upcoming XV. Alpine Conference, that will take place on 4 April 2019 in Innsbruck. The challenges with regard to natural hazard risk governance in the Alps were addressed in the presentation and discussion about the 7th Report on the State of the Alps. 

Given the imminent expiry of the mandates of the thematic working bodies of the Alpine Convention, the Permanent Committee debated the upcoming 2019-2020 mandates. Furthermore, the members of the Permanent Committee discussed the common scenarios for the future spatial development of the Alpine space, as developed in the framework of the Ad-hoc Expert Group on Spatial Planning through the project „Alps2050 – Common spatial perspectives for the Alpine area. Towards a common vision”. Under the agenda item on climate-relevant activities, the Italian Delegation in person of Graziano Martini Barzolai outlined the devastating consequences of the severe floods and storms which hit large parts of Italy in the previous weeks. Provisional data indicate that more than 4 million fir trees and spruces were uprooted, resulting in a huge loss of income for foresters and a massive biodiversity loss. According to experts, it may take up to 300 years before the forests will be totally restored.

Finally, attention was drawn to the opportunities of Earth Observation (EO) research and development following the outcomes of the EO4Alps Workshop, which was organized by the European Space Agency (ESA). A representative of the ESA reported on the EO4Alps-initiative to allow for a fruitful exchange of ideas between ESA and the Alpine Convention. Last but not least, the CIPRA-initiative “Youth Alpine Interrail” (YOALIN), that has given young people the opportunity of travelling through the Alps for one month with a reduced fare train ticket, was evaluated. The Permanent Committee underlined the importance of sustainable mobility and praised the role of engaged young people in the promotion of sustainable lifestyles.

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