The Alpine Conventions has several partners, active at different levels. With some of them specific agreements (Memoranda of Understanding) have been signed in order to better structure the mutual cooperation.
Despite their geographical diversity, mountain regions worldwide also show great similarities in their challenges. Therefore, the Alpine Convention acts in a spirit of cooperation with several partners around the globe to exchange experiences and to raise awareness on the specificities of mountainous regions. This transcontinental cooperation contributes to the goal of protecting a balanced and sustainable development of mountain areas.
Hereafter, the international dimension of the Alpine Convention is briefly outlined.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The Alpine Convention has been active within the UNFCCC framework in order to raise awareness of climate negotiators of the "mountain dimension" of climate change. A first side event "Mountain Day" was organized in Durban (South Africa) in 2011 aside to COP 17 and a second one in Doha in 2012 aside to COP 18. The one-day side events saw the participation of representatives of most of the organizations dealing with sustainable mountain development in the whole world. The Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention actively participated in both events.
The Mountain Partnership was set up as a “Partnership type-2”in the framework of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development as a voluntary alliance with the objective of creating a platform for cooperation among all states, organisations and NGOs interested in sustainable mountain protection. The legal basis for its establishment are Article 13 of Agenda 21 and Article 42 of the Johannesburg Action Plan. It currently includes 50 governments, 16 intergovernmental organizations and 143 major groups (e.g. civil society, NGOs and the private sector) including the Alpine Convention. Its Secretariat is hosted by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome (IT).
Each year on 11 December, the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention celebrates International Mountain Day by organizing the cultural-literary festival “Reading Mountains”.
Convention on Biological Diversity
In 2018, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) celebrated 25 years of “safeguarding life on Earth”. The CBD promotes nature and human wellbeing and is structured according to the following three main objectives:
Considering the important role mountainous regions play in the scope of biological diversity on the one hand and the Alpine Conventions Protocol on Nature Protection and Landscape Conservation on the other hand, a Memorandum of Understanding between the CBD, the Alpine Convention and the Carpathian Convention was signed on 29 May 2008 in Bonn (DE) in order to facilitate the exchange of information and experience between the parties and to formalize their collaboration for the implementation of the CBD and the programme of work on mountain biodiversity.
The Alpine Convention is the first case of an international treaty focusing on a transnational mountainous area. However, many of the issues dealt with within the Alpine Convention are of interest in other mountainous regions of the world. Therefore Alpine Convention’s activities include an “external aspect”, which takes the form of direct or indirect support of or cooperation with relevant governance bodies in other mountainous regions of the world. This cooperation leads to a fruitful worldwide exchange of experiences and to the building of a global platform for representing the interests of mountainous regions.
Hereafter, the cooperation of the Alpine Convention with other mountain ranges of the world is briefly presented.
The Carpathian Convention
The Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (“The Carpathian Convention”) was signed in 2003 by Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Ukraine and is in force since 2006. Alike the Alpine Convention, it consists of a framework convention and thematic protocols (on biodiversity, forest management and tourism). The initiative for the negotiations of the Carpathian Convention was given by the UNEP Regional Office for Europe (ROE), which also hosts the Interim Secretariat of the Convention.
The Alpine Convention states (in particular Italy and Austria) played an active role in the process of establishment of the Carpathian Convention, after an “Alpine-Carpathian partnership” had been launched during the UN International Year of the Mountains 2002. On 13 December 2006 the presidencies and secretariats of the Alpine and Carpathian Conventions signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Since then the cooperation between the two Conventions, and in particular between the two respective secretariats, has been very intensive and fruitful, including, where necessary, mutual representation at external meetings in order to save resources.
Resolution by the Dinaric States
The Alpine Conference of 2006 declared The Western Balkans to be an area of “priority importance for cooperation” for the Alpine Convention on the initiative of Italy. Under Slovenian presidency in 2009 a process in view of achieving a common declaration was launched.
A common Resolution by the Dinaric States (“on the sustainable development of the Dinaric arc region”) was negotiated in 2010 and approved on 9 March 2011 by the Ministers or High representatives of Albania, Croatia, Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Slovenia on the side of the XI Alpine Conference. This Resolution intends to pave the way to a possible future instrument of international law, similar to the Alpine and Carpathian Convention.
The Pyrenees represent a very important landscape and biodiversity reservoir shared by three States (Andorra, France, Spain). The Pyrenees Climate Change Observatory was set up in January 2010 by the Working Community of the Pyrenees with the main aim of following and understanding the climate evolution in the Pyrenees, limiting its impacts and providing adaptation to its effects through adaptation strategies for socio-economic sectors and the most fragile natural areas. Cooperation between the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Pyrenees Climate Change Observatory is ongoing.
Caucasus Mountain Co-operation
Caucasus mountain range links together two seas on a territory with unique geological and environmental characteristics. With the aim of environmental protection and support for the sustainable development Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey) stepped together with a meeting of the Authorized Representatives on the Development of a Legal Instrument for the Protection of the Caucasus Mountain Ecosystem in 2001 where a resolution, recognizing the need of a legal instrument was signed.
One of the first steps towards cooperation in the Caucasus region was made through forming synergies between existing projects and fostering multilateral partnerships for mountain issues within the region as well as with the other mountain regions of the world. The project “Sustainable development of mountainous regions of Caucasus” was launched, inspired by the “Alliance in the Alps” network and financially supported by some Alpine Countries, with a goal of providing a draft for development programmes for eight mountain villages.
Mountain partnership in the Central Asia started in 2000 with the establishment of The Central Asian Mountain Partnership (CAMP) in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The main aim of the project was to promote sustainable mountain development to ensure better living conditions for poor majority of mountain people. In the first phases CAMP was working in four main areas: resource use, product development and marketing, village development, and policy dialogue. In 2003 CAMP established the Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities (AGOCA), after the model of “Alliance in the Alps”, as a network of mountain communities with a goal of promoting the interests of the mountain communities, improve communication between mountain villages and exchange of knowledge and experiences. Nowadays AGOCA comprises of over 40 participating villages and is the reference organization for coordinating transboundary cooperation projects.
The Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention cooperates with CAMP and AGOCA and some of the Alpine Convention governments finance specific small scale projects in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.
In 2007 a political initiative for establishment of Andean Initiative was launched by Argentina and Peru. A Conference was organized in Tucumán (Argentina) where the Government representatives of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú and Venezuela signed the Tucumán Declaration for promotion of sustainable development in the mountain areas of the sub-region. The Declaration was officially presented to the Permanent Committee of the Alpine Convention in October 2007. The Alpine Convention confirmed the willingness to cooperate with the Andean Initiative.
Forest Europe Process
In 2009 the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention obtained the observer status to the Forest Europe Process and used it in order to contribute to the substance of the discussion. The Ministerial Conference in June 2010 launched the negotiations of a legally binding instrument that is currently being negotiated. At these negotiations the specific forest-related protocols that the Alpine and the Carpathian Convention have, constituted important references.
In order to facilitate the implementation of the goals of the Alpine Convention and to be nearer to the territory, the Permanent Secretariat decided to conclude Memoranda of Understanding with several local organizations. Seven have already been signed.
The shared goal is to promote the knowledge and the implementation of the Alpine Convention also in areas more remote from the regions where the Secretariat’s offices or the responsible ministries are located. The strong link between the Infopoints and the territory they act in facilitates the implementation of the Alpine Convention’s objectives by involving the inhabitants, administrations, tourists, institutions and also a range of private and public organizations. Their role is therefore larger than a simple information transmitter; in the framework of the Memoranda of Understanding signed, the Infopoints act as the main connection between the Alpine Convention and the territory.
The staff of the Infopoints has been trained and is ready to spread this knowledge to the regions with the help of the promotional materials provided by the Permanent Secretariat.
The map below shows the already established Infopoints across the Alpine range.