Ensuring and strengthening a sustainable Alpine living environment is an ongoing objective of the Alpine Convention. The COVID-19 crisis will very likely impact the efforts already made in the field of sustainable development. Secretary General Alenka Smerkolj: "I'm convinced that the coronavirus crisis can also spur a green recovery”. During its online meeting on 7 and 8 July, the Permanent Committee approved important levers in this regard.
Climate change and biodiversity loss are central issues within the current activities of the Alpine Convention. The operationalisation of the Alpine Climate Target System 2050 through implementation pathways addresses the even larger threats on Alpine society and economy arising from climate change. The Alpine Climate Action Plan 2.0, which will be presented at the XVI Alpine Conference in December, is closely connected to the credo "Building back better" and will trigger behavioural changes and investments in a green Alpine economy that will, amongst other co-benefits for people and the environment, reduce the likelihood of future shocks and increase the Alpine region’s resilience in such situations.
Biodiversity is particularly valuable and vulnerable in the Alps and is being put to the test by climate change and an intensive tourism industry. The Alpine Convention reinforces its commitment to a resilient Alpinebiodiversity by organising a side-event at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 in Marseille, which will take place in January 2021. The event will be elaborated by the French Presidency in close cooperation with the Alpine Biodiversity Board and observers ALPARC and UNEP.
Poor air quality puts the health of people at risk. The French Presidency made a clear commitment to address this issue in depth in the 8th Report on the State of the Alps. The report analyses the mechanisms of atmospheric pollution by bringing together data from the Alpine countries and includes a non-exhaustive list of smart solutions taken by regional and local authorities in the Alps. The full report will be presented at the upcoming Alpine Conference.
In the field of qualitative and quantitative water management, the Permanent Committee has given a strong signal with the preparation of a political declaration, which will be presented to the upcoming Alpine Conference. To this end, the outputs of the Water Conference held by the Presidency in Annecy will be enhanced and will set out the beacons for an integrated and sustainable water management in the Alps.
Last but not least, the Permanent Committee reaffirmed the role of the Alpine Convention in supportingsustainable tourism sector and providing the businesses with orientations from their recovery from the sanitary crisis.
Alenka Smerkolj: "With this online meeting held in the four Alpine languages, the Alpine Convention has taken an important step in embracing digital conference techniques. But most importantly, we achieved important progress towards a green Alpine economy and facilitating well-designed recovery policies in the light of the Covid-19 crisis, making the Alpine region more resilient".