Linking the Alpine Convention to the local level: spotlight on the Infopoints

Implementing the goals of the Alpine Convention is only possible through cooperation and collaboration. In order to foster local partnerships beyond areas in which the Permanent Secretariat is seated, the Secretariat has over several years concluded a number of “Memoranda of Understanding” with local organisations to become Infopoints of the Alpine Convention.

The Infopoints act as a bridge for the implementation of the Alpine Convention in local territories. The aim of the agreements with the Infopoints is to promote the knowledge and implementation of the Convention. Their strong links to the areas where they are located contribute to the implementation of the Alpine Convention’s objectives by involving inhabitants, administrations, tourists, institutions as well as private and public organisations.

The Alpine Convention currently has seven Infopoints: three in Italy, two in Slovenia, one in France and one in Austria. Among their many activities, they participate in our annual Reading Mountains Festival as well as carrying out their own outreach and communication activities.

As with most organisations, all the Infopoints were impacted by the health crisis, with many activities being cancelled or postponed. Nonetheless, there were some exciting developments we would like to share with you!

The three Italian Infopoints of the Alpine Convention are located in Domodossola, Morbegno and Cogne. In Cogne, the visitor centres of the Grand Paradis National Park in the valleys of Cogne, Valsavarenche and Rhêmes act as the Infopoints. In Morbegno, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the municipality and the Infopoint is located in the E. Vanoni library. The Infopoint in Domodossola is hosted in the headquarters of the ARS.UNI.VCO Association (Association for the development of culture, university studies and research in the Verbano Cusio Ossola).

Both these Infopoints have committed themselves, as they do every year, to participate in the activities organised by the Permanent Secretariat. Due to the pandemic situation, Domodossola has also developed several online projects and webinar series on important issues for the Alpine Convention.

The first Slovenian Infopoint is located in the Slovenian Alpine Museum in Mojstrana and hosted the Slovenian Alpine Convention Day in December 2020 on the topic of soil. This traditional event is organised by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and last year was already the 11th edition! Despite the museum being closed and having a limited number of visitors due to the pandemic, Mojstrana was hosting regular online events called “museum evenings” on different topics. They also organised a mountain film festival, “Goroventure” at the end of February with great content.

Meanwhile, the other Slovenian Infopoint, the Soča Valley Development Centre (Posoški Razvojni Center) in Tolmin, has been and continues to be very active – not only as an Infopoint! The Center also plays an active part in the Alpine Convention’s Thematic Working Bodies as well as the Alpine Partnership for Local Climate Action (ALPACA). Among current ongoing projects, the Tolmin Infopoint is focusing on sustainable mobility in the cross-border region.

The French Infopoint, the Community of communes of the valley of Chamonix Mont-Blanc, was able to hold the first of a series of local conferences on climate change last summer, which will be continued as soon as the sanitary situation allows. Chamonix prepared some great material for the Reading Mountains Festival 2020 – if you are interested in exploring some of their activities make sure to check out the videos on the Chamonix Alpine Museum’s Facebook page!

Finally, the Austrian Infopoint is the Dobratsch nature park which is located south of Villach. The park is the newest Infopoint of the Alpine Convention, having signed the cooperation agreement in April 2019. One of the Infopoint’s main areas of focus are activities relating to sustainable mobility, including organising a bus route that takes visitors straight to the park from Villach. The Infopoint also recently moved its office to a new location.

Especially given how tough the past year has been for all the Infopoints, we are very grateful for all their contributions to and communication of the Alpine Convention! This year, all the Infopoints will be participating in the Climate Hour on 5th June by organising events in their territory. The Climate Hour is a festival initiated by the Swiss Presidency and the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention. We look forward to seeing the Infopoints (and you) there – and make sure to stop by our Infopoints if you are ever travelling through those regions!

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