Ecological Network Platform (2006-2019)

Chair: France and Germany (alternating)

The Alps are one of the largest continual natural spaces in Europe and they are home to more than 30.000 animal species and 13.000 plant species. Article 12 of the Nature Protection and Landscape Conservation Protocol of the Alpine Convention specifically sets out that the Contracting Parties “will take appropriate measures for creating a national and cross-border network of protected areas, biotopes and other environmental assets protected or acknowledged as worthy of protection". Conserving and valuing biodiversity and landscape is also one of the six priorities set in the Multiannual Work Programme 2017-2022 of the Alpine Convention.

The Ecological Network Platform of the Alpine Convention was set up by the IX. Alpine Conference in 2006 as an expert forum to develop common strategies in order to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity in the Alps, mainly through the design and support of measures ensuring the connectivity between natural habitats. The Ecological Network Platform worked in the fields of science and policy in order to identify emerging issues related to ecological connectivity. The Platform also inspired and supported transboundary, alpine-wide and national projects on ecological connectivity and participated in the elaboration of various publications. The Platform analysed, presented and communicated the role of ecological networks and connectivity in the implementation of a green Alpine economy, in particular on the basis of best practices, thereby mainstreaming ecological connectivity into other sectors (especially spatial planning). 

Since 2011, the Ecological Network Platform has designated ten Pilot Regions of the Alpine Convention for Ecological Connectivity, which encompass existing protected areas but cover a much larger territory. The Pilot Regions are territories, often cross-border, in which specific activities are undertaken in order to develop ecological connectivity. The Ecological Network Platform gave official recognition to their commitment, concretely supported them by organising opportunities for the exchange of experience and monitored their progress.  

The Ecological Network Platform followed also EU policy and activities on Green Infrastructure. Close cooperation with the EUSALP Action Group 7 has been pursued. Beyond the Alps, the Ecological Network Platform supported the Memoranda of Understanding signed between the Alpine Convention and the Carpathian Convention, and between the Alpine Convention, the Carpathian Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity.  

During the mandate 2016-2019, the Ecological Connectivity Platform continued its core activities of expert exchange and support and development of the network of Pilot Regions. It has also specifically analysed how ecological connectivity is or can be included in spatial planning.

Overview of activities, documents, results

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