Biodiversity was in the spotlight at the 77th meeting of the Permanent Committee to the Alpine Conference. The meeting took place from 7 to 8 November in Bolzano/Bozen (IT) in the operational branch office of the Permanent Secretariat, which is hosted by Eurac Research.
The Slovenian Presidency updated the Alpine countries and Observers on its programme, specifically its biodiversity-related activities. These included progress on implementing the first priority of the Alpine Convention’s Multi-Annual Work Programme (MAP) 2023–2030, “conserving and valuing Alpine biodiversity and ecosystems” and the specific activities pursued to this effect by the Presidency, as well as the renewed Memorandum of Cooperation between the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Alpine Convention, and the Carpathian Convention
The Alpine Biodiversity Board and the Large Carnivores, Wild Ungulates and Society (WISO) Working Group, reported on the current state of implementation of their mandates. ALPARC shared insights from a new study on Alpine protected areas. Delegates at the Permanent Committee meeting discussed how all the activities will complement each other in fulfilling the MAP’s objectives in the priority area biodiversity.
Initial feedback was gathered on the policy brief on Alpine biodiversity which the Presidency is preparing. It will be further discussed at the next Permanent Committee meeting in May 2024, as well as in an international conference dedicated to Alpine biodiversity which will take place in Kranjska Gora in Slovenia from 12 to 14 June 2024. The aim of the policy brief will be to explore how the targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework are currently being addressed in the Alps as well as how they can be strengthened and supported by Alpine partners at different levels moving forward.
The ForumAlpinum, organised by Alpine Convention Observer ISCAR, will also take place in conjunction with the conference on biodiversity. This will be a useful opportunity for exchange between policy and research on biodiversity topics.
Another important event in 2024 will be the AlpWeek, an international event dedicated to sustainable development in the Alps, which is organised by several Alpine Convention Observers. The 8th edition will be dedicated to the topic “Alps in our hands” and will take place in September 2024 in Nova Gorica (Slovenia).
Concerning its second priority area, environmental education focusing on climate change, the Slovenian Presidency summarised and shared the take-aways from its international conference “Schools for climate action in the Alps”. The conference was held on 28 and 29 September in Bohinj (Slovenia) and brought together more than 50 participants from diverse backgrounds (including governmental institutions, schoolteachers, NGOs, and civil society). The results of the conference are available here.
After Slovenia, Italy will hold the Presidency of the Alpine Convention from 2025 to 2026. Italy took the opportunity at the Permanent Committee meeting to present the first outline of its programme to the delegates.
Finally, delegates at the Permanent Committee meeting discussed the ongoing activities of the EUSALP (the EU Macro-Regional Strategy for the Alps) and further cooperation with the Alpine Convention.
A special part of the 77th Permanent Committee meeting was the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention, which was set up in 2003. During the meeting, Alpine Convention Secretary General Alenka Smerkolj provided a look back on some of the many activities of the Secretariat over the past two decades.
The Secretary General and Permanent Secretariat staff were very touched by the creative signs of appreciation from Contracting Parties and Observers!