Leonore Gewessler, Austrian Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology and Alenka Smerkolj, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention met in Vienna on the 28th of September 2022. They were joined by Ewald Galle, head of the Austrian delegation to the Alpine Convention.
The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere. The discussions centred on the upcoming Alpine Conference in Brig (Switzerland), where the agenda will deal in particular with Alpine towns, which were the subject of a comprehensive report.
The Secretary General expressed her thanks for Austria’s active participation in all areas of the Alpine Convention. In particular, Austria chairs three of the Thematic Working Bodies, which all produced substantial and high-quality results in 2021-2022. One of the thematic bodies, the Alpine Climate Board, recently published a new brochure on good practices to initiate and support climate responsible lifestyles and the Soil Protection and PLANALP Working Groups, which Austria also chairs, have both had very productive mandate periods.
The Minister and Secretary General also exchanged on the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development 2022, agreeing on the need to raise awareness about the unique value of the Alps and their ecosystems. Moreover, they acknowledged the vulnerability of the mountains to the climate and biodiversity crises and the need to join forces worldwide to find solutions together.
“It was a pleasure to meet Ms Gewessler and discuss upcoming Alpine Convention topics as well as some of the key issues facing the Alps,” said Secretary General Alenka Smerkolj after the meeting.
Following their meeting, the Minister and Secretary General received a youth delegation from the YOALIN project – the Youth Alpine Interrail, a project which promotes sustainable travel through the Alps for young people. They exchanged on a wide range of issues and the Secretary General emphasised how important it is to speak to the younger generations, who are motivated to find solutions to key challenges in the Alps.