The Alpine Convention was honoured to host and exchange with representatives from the Andes in the second half of June. A delegation from the Andean Mountain Initiative travelled to the Alps and the Carpathians to learn about regional and cross-border cooperation in mountain areas.
The Andean delegates first visited the offices of the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention in Innsbruck. Here, they had a first introduction to the workings of the Alpine Convention and the role of the Secretariat in its governance. The delegates and the Secretariat also exchanged on issues of sustainable development in mountain areas and how mountain areas can better represent their interests in global processes.
An introduction to other workflows of the Alpine Convention continued with a visit to the Slovenian Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning, which currently holds the Presidency of the Alpine Convention. During a meeting at the ministry in Ljubljana, the Presidency presented its programme for the next two years, including its priority focuses on climate change education, biodiversity, and quality of life. These topics are also frontrunner topics in the Andean Mountain Initiative’s current work. A constructive exchange was held on the importance of international cooperation in environmental topics, an area in which Slovenia has wide-ranging knowledge.
“Sustainable Mountain Development is enshrined in the Agenda 21, which emphasises the key role mountains play in all aspects of life. Reinforced partnerships between the Alps and the Andes, as well as with other mountain ranges, help strengthen the common voice of the world’s mountains at global summits. I sincerely believe such interactions enrich us and give us new ideas for our work – and honest peer-reviews help us see what we are doing well and where we can do better. I am very happy we could have this exchange and wish our Andean friends the best of luck in their future (mountain) endeavours! ” said the President of the Permanent Committee, Emil Ferjančič.
As part of the visit to Slovenia, an excursion was organised to the Alpine Convention Infopoint in Mojstrana, housed by the Slovenian Alpine Museum. Combined with a hike to Slap Peričnik in the Triglav national park, the Andean delegates received a first-hand experience of Alpine environments, history, and nature!
The delegates also had a very productive visit to the Triglav national park headquarters in the scenic town of Bled. During these visits they discussed various mountain topics including biodiversity, climate change, regional and local policy implementation, as well as communication with the wider public.
Finally, the Andean delegates shadowed the members of the Permanent Committee of the Alpine Conference who met for the 76th time in Radovljica in Slovenia on 22 June. The delegation held a presentation on the developments of the Andean Mountain Initiative and their strategies.
During their trip, the Andean delegates were also introduced to another example of transboundary mountain cooperation. During a study visit to the Carpathian Mountains, the delegates got to know the Carpathian Convention, the Alpine Convention’s “sister”!
“The Alpine Convention is honoured to have hosted the Andean Mountain Initiative. The Andes are an incredible mountain ecosystem with very different characteristics to the Alps but nonetheless sharing some common challenges. We had many valuable exchanges on the different issues affecting our mountains, how to work together across borders, and the importance of raising the voice of mountains on the global stage!” said Alenka Smerkolj, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention.
The visit was prepared in close cooperation with UNEP Vienna, the Carpathian Convention, the Slovenian Presidency of the Alpine Convention in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning, Triglav national park, and Planinski muzej.