Space is a limited resource needed for a variety of purposes. This applies especially to the Alps, where less than 20% of the surface is suitable for human settlement. The remainder of the land is too steep, too high or too remote. Coordinating these demands in a sustainable way is key and must be done across country borders and sectors. A strong, committed cross-sectoral approach is needed to tackle the growing number of cross-cutting issues in spatial development and to strengthen the sustainable development of the Alpine Space.
Thus, the Contracting Parties of the Alpine Convention have defined the common goal "to ensure the economical and rational use of land and the sound, harmonious development of the whole region. Particular emphasis must be placed on natural hazards, the avoidance of under- and overuse and the conservation or rehabilitation of natural habitats by means of a thorough clarification and evaluation of land use requirements, anticipatory integral planning and coordination of the measures taken” (Framework Convention, article 2, paragraph (2b). In the Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development Protocol of the Alpine Convention, the Contracting Parties agreed upon more details for the successful implementation of spatial planning measures.
The topic of spatial planning is addressed in one of the subgroups of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) Action Group 6, which deals with the topic of “Preservation and valorisation of natural resources, including water and cultural resources”, led by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Province of Carinthia.