The Alpine Convention is leading the way for a sustainable life in the Alps, and a lot of this work is done at a local level by municipalities and administrations. An ongoing pilot project in Carinthia (AT) to develop a certification tool for Alpine Convention municipalities showcases how this works in practice. The overarching aim of this “8A Alpine Municipalities” project is to promote a good and environmentally sustainable life in the Alps in which communities exist in harmony with nature and the environment. To achieve this, an evaluation tool is being developed by Alliance in the Alps – the network of Alpine municipalities – to help municipalities comply with the Alpine Convention, its Protocols, and Declarations.
The project also consists of a training offer for municipalities on how to use the Alpine Convention, its Protocols and Declarations as they would any other national legislation. This training is carried out in Mallnitz, Austria. Mallnitz, both a Mountaineering Village as well as part of the Alpine Pearls network, sits at the edge of the Hohe Tauern National Park.
The Secretary General of the Alpine Convention, Alenka Smerkolj, was recently invited to Mallnitz to learn about the project and visit the new training centre. The trainings take place in the new visitor centre for the Hohe Tauern National Park, housed in an annex to an old villa that was built by one of the founders of the Austrian Alpine Club, Edmund Mojsisovics. In addition, the centre also hosts an exhibition and laboratories where children and young people can learn about nature, as well as the seminar rooms where the trainings for the “8A Alpine Municipalities” project are held.
During her visit, the Secretary General was shown the whole complex and learnt about how the education programmes are organised – both in the centre as well as in schools in the region. “The programmes sound very engaging and I am eager for other municipalities to take up this idea and join the initiative,” said Smerkolj.
The local officials in Mallnitz are the driving forces behind the implementation of the Alpine Convention in the village and its surroundings. The trainings offer interested community representatives the opportunity to delve deeper into the topic and learn about legal regulations on one hand and practical design options on the other. Overall, the pilot project serves as a leading example for the Convention’s application on the ground and the certification tool will be an invaluable tool for sustainable development moving forward. We look forward to the next steps!