Climate change is increasingly impacting the Alpine regions and knows no borders. The environment ministers who took part in the online 16th Alpine Conference agreed on the urgency for Alpine-wide cooperation to protect the climate. To this end, Ms Sommaruga and her counterparts from the Alpine States adopted a Climate Action Plan, with the objective of achieving climate-neutral and climate-resilient Alps by 2050.
In assuming the 2021/22 Presidency, Switzerland will focus on climate protection by following a five-point plan, which will include cycle tourism, the ‘Climate Hour' in June, sustainable construction and renovation in the Alps, Alpine towns and the modal shift policy.
A series of projects and events are being set up to bring together relevant actors in the Alpine region, including ‘MoVe the Alps', an international conference on cycle tourism scheduled for April 2021. This will be followed in June by a conference on sustainable construction and renovation and the event ‘Climate Hour', with local events throughout the Alpine region. In addition, the 9th Report on the State of the Alps will focus on Alpine towns.
Ms Sommaruga also announced at the Alpine Conference that she would use the Presidency of the Alpine Convention to strengthen coordination between the Alpine States for modal shifts and transit traffic. The modal shift is a key pillar of a sustainable transport policy, and it is important that stakeholders address this issue in the Alpine region together. Ms Sommaruga also emphasised that the inclusion of young people will play an important role during the Presidency, saying: "As far as the climate is concerned, we have realised in the past few years at the latest that without the voices of young people, we cannot move ahead."
The Swiss Presidency will conclude in autumn 2022 with a climate-awareness week, during which the work on climate will be assessed and further activities launched. The environment ministers of the Alpine States will meet at the same time for the 17th Alpine Conference, which will be chaired by the Swiss Presidency.
The Alpine Convention
The Alpine Convention is the world’s first international agreement designed to protect a mountain region. It defines a transnational area as a functional geographical unit and as an important cultural heritage and economic area that faces a common set of challenges. The member states are Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia. At the beginning of the 1990s, the states parties drew up a framework convention, which came into force in 1995 and which Switzerland ratified in 1999. In 2021/22, Switzerland will take over the presidency for the third time. The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication (DETEC) is responsible for the Alpine Convention in Switzerland. The Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) has the lead role.
Address for enquiries:
Mrs. Silvia Jost, Head of International Affairs, Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE, Tel. +41 58 462 06 25