The most important political meeting of the Alpine Convention, the biennial Alpine Conference brings together ministers from the eight Alpine countries, their delegates and high-level representatives from the European Union to discuss the objectives and establish political measures for implementing the Alpine Convention.
The XVI Alpine Conference looked rather different to previous ones, taking place entirely online in response to the public health crisis. This online format did not, however, prevent the ministers and delegates from the Alpine countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland) and the EU from tackling a comprehensive agenda.
At the XVI Alpine Conference, ministers and high-level representatives discussed and adopted decisions on topics that are crucial to the well-being of Alpine inhabitants and environments:
- Ministers adopted the 8th Report on the State of the Alps on air quality, reaffirming the urgency of tackling this issue in Alpine areas.
- The Alpine Climate Board presented the Climate Action Plan 2.0, which was adopted by ministers and contains implementation pathways to achieve the targets of the Alpine Climate Target System 2050.
- Ministers adopted a Declaration on Water, which addresses issues such as the protection of wild rivers and a more economic use of (scarce) water resources in Alpine territories.
- Ministers adopted a Declaration on the Protection of Mountain Biodiversity and its promotion at international level.
The XVI Alpine Conference also marked the end of the French Presidency of the Alpine Convention and the transfer of the Presidency to Switzerland for the next two years. The Swiss Presidency will make climate a thematic priority as well as focusing on spatial planning and development in the Alps.
Secretary General of the Alpine Convention, Alenka Smerkolj – “The motivation among Contracting Parties, Observers and stakeholders to reach common solutions at the XVI Alpine Conference was high, despite the challenging circumstances that required it to be held virtually. The work of the French Presidency was rewarded with the adoption of the 8th Report on the State of the Alps on air quality as well as political declarations on water and mountain biodiversity, priority areas for the health and well-being of Alpine citizens. The Conference also marked the end of the French Presidency and the handover to Switzerland for the next two years. We thank the French Presidency and look forward to the future cooperation with Switzerland.”