Education in the spotlight of the 72nd meeting of the Permanent Committee

The Permanent Committee of the Alpine Conference met for the second time this year, once again in an online format. In a positive atmosphere, the delegates from the eight Alpine countries, the European Union and the Observer organisations discussed ongoing priorities of the Alpine Convention and of the Swiss Presidency.

The Swiss Presidency updated delegates on the state of implementation of its Presidency programme. The programme consists of a five-point plan, dealing with the following areas: bike tourism, sustainable construction and renovation in the Alps, local climate events, Alpine towns, and the modal shift in freight transport.

Three of the topics have already been the focus of events organised in the first half of 2021. The “MoVe the Alps” conference on sustainable cycling tourism was held on the 22nd of April; the first edition of the Climate Hour, highlighting local climate action, took place on the 5th of June; and the Constructive Alps conference on climate-friendly building and renovation was held on the 9th and 10th of June. Alpine towns will be the focus of an upcoming peer-learning workshop being held on the 18th of June on climate action in Alpine towns.

Also on the agenda of the 72nd Permanent Committee meeting was the topic of environmental education in the Alpine region. The delegates heard presentations on ongoing and planned projects and programmes related to youth and environmental education:

  • Youth at the Top, an international project coordinated by ALPARC, brings together groups of young people who meet in protected areas and natural sites throughout the Alps and Carpathians to share a collective experience in the mountains.
  • The Youth Alpine Interrail YOALIN project enables 125 selected young people to travel sustainably across the Alps by means of public transport in the summer.
  • The Youth Parliament of the Alpine Convention YPAC brings together young people from several Alpine countries to discuss current topics regarding the Alpine region in a parliamentary simulation. YPAC celebrated its 15th edition this year.
  • The “Umwelt im Unterricht” ("Education in the classroom") programme of the German Ministry for the Environment recently featured Alpine educational materials as the “Topic of the week”.
  • Educ’alpes is a network dedicated to mountain education in the French Alps with diverse membership including teachers, mountain guides and policymakers.
  • The first “Alpine Changemaker Basecamp” will take place in July, offering young people aged between 18 and 30 the opportunity to advance their ideas and projects for social change and sustainable development in the Alpine region.

An animated discussion followed the presentations, with the Contracting Parties and Observer organisations sharing further activities and examples of environmental education. The delegates reflected what could be developed within the Alpine Convention to better include, promote or support such programmes and projects.

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