A journey of 1500 km through the Alps to highlight the sites of EU-funded LIFE projects and the unique characteristics of the mountainous heart of Europe - starting from Slovenia and travelling through Austria, Italy and France to end in the city of Grenoble. This was the sixth edition of SuperAlp! – the sustainable crossing of the Alps organized by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention.
From 4th to 11th July 2012, a group of journalists from major newspapers and international media from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Nepal, Romania, Slovenia and Switzerland travelled through the Alps from east to west, using various means of transport as alternatives to private cars: train, bus, bicycle, and of course on foot. Among the objectives of every SuperAlp! is the desire to communicate the possibility of getting about in the Alps using public transport.
The core of the 2012 edition were visits to eight LIFE projects – one in Slovenia, two in Austria, three in Italy and two in France – focused on different subjects, from the reintroduction of bears to the preservation of water ecosystems.
This special edition took place in collaboration with DG Environment of the European Commission to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Habitats Directive and the ‘LIFE’ Programme, adopted to safeguard the most threatened species and habitats in Europe. Under the Habitats Directive, the world's largest coherent network of protected areas — Natura 2000 — was established, consisting of more than 26000 sites in all 27 Member States and covering nearly 18 % of the EU territory. This unique network was developed with financial support provided by the LIFE initiative.
The challenges of globalization bear heavily on the Alpine arc, and meeting them effectively requires coordinated action by the national territories it covers. The purpose of the Alpine Convention, an international treaty signed in 1991 between the eight Alpine states and the European Union, is to promote active cooperation to ensure sustainable development of the Alps and to protect the interests of the Alpine populations. The EU Birds and Habitats Directives and the LIFE instrument provide essential support for Nature conservation in the Alps and are a key tool to ensure that sustainable socio-economic development goes hand in hand with the need to protect and restore the valuable alpine biodiversity.