CAA General Assembly 2016 in Innsbruck
On September 17th the delegates of the CAA’s member associations – presidents and directors – met for the General assembly 2016 in Innsbruck, following the invitation of the Austrian Alpine Club.
The delegates approved a recommendation concerning belay devices for sport climbing, which the commission for mountaineering had prepared before, as well as a common position concerning artificial snow making, developed by the commission for nature protection and alpine spatial planning.
Regarding the online reservation system, for which the CAA made a start-up financing, the current state of the project was reported. The extended system is ready for operation since July 2016 and already in use in numerous SAC, DAV and ÖAV huts. The development of an e-payment solution is progressing. At the moment the system is in possession of SAC, DAV, ÖAV and AVS. Further associations can take it over and adapt it later.
For the use of the tool developed in the framework of the CAA project “Energy efficiency on mountain huts” a training course for persons responsible for huts was already held, in order to ensure a practical application of the tool, which allows an assessment of building and restoration measures.
The issues Alpine Convention, Alpweek 2016 and Macro-regional strategy for the Alps (EUSLAP) were discussed in the presence of the General Secretary of the Alpine Convention, who stressed the importance of the alpine associations and the CAA as observer of the Alpine Convention. He presented the programme of the forthcoming Alpine Conference in Grassau/Bavaria and gave a preview of the plans of the following Austrian Presidency 2017/18.
The longstanding treasurer in the CAA board, Gianna Rauch, stepped down from the office on her own request and was discharged by the delegates with hearty thanks. She was succeeded by Heinz Frei, member of the SAC’s central board, who was elected unanimously.
On the day before the delegates had discussed separately about the current challenges of the alpine associations in the CAA which was intended as contribution to an exchange of experiences and to understand each other better.
Furthermore, the General Assembly discussed in detail the foundation of a European Mountaineering Association, which most of the participants consider necessary. However, there are still different ideas about the shape of such an association.
As usual the reports and annual plannings of the board and the commissions as well as annual accounts and budget were approved.
Join us at
AlpWeek: Alps & People,
on 11-15 October 2016, in Grassau (Germany)!
Over 25 sessions and 20 market stands as well as 4 excursions await you as an opportunity to learn about current challenges and find common solutions in the fields of culture, demography, and quality of life in the Alps!
AlpWeek is an international event dedicated to new and promising prospects of sustainable development in the Alps. Organised jointly by the main alpine organisations engaged in regional and sustainable development, it is held every four years. AlpWeek 2016 is being organised under the German Presidency of the Alpine Convention.
On Oktober, 12th, the Austrian Alpine Club will present its main topic "Mountain Sports & Health" in a session.
Information and registration: www.alpweek.org.
Alliance in the Alps; Alpine Convention; Interreg Alpine Space Programme; Association Alpine Town of the Year; CIPRA International; Club Arc Alpin (CAA); ISCAR Alpine Research; Ökomodell Achental.
German ministry for environment, for nature protection, building and nuclear security, and Bavarian ministry for environment and consumer protection
Alpen & Menschen
Des Alpes & des gens
Le Alpi & la gente
Alpe & ljudje
Alps & People
CAA General Assembly 2015 in Brixen /Bressanone
On September 12 the delegates of the CAA’s member associations – presidents and directors - met for the General assembly 2015 in Brixen/Bressanone, following the invitation of the Alpine Club of South Tyrol.
In the series of recommendations regarding the alpine disciplines the delegates approved 10 recommendations for safety on ski tours which the commission for mountaineering had prepared before, as well as the final version of the recommendations for alpine tours.
Regarding the online reservation system, for which the CAA made a start-up financing, the current state of the project was reported. According to the report the system, in the beginning developed under the aegis of the SAC which is already using it successfully, will be at the disposal for the huts of DAV, ÖAV and AVS in Summer 2016. It will simplify the administration of the sleeping places for hut keepers.
The CAA-project “Energy efficiency on mountain huts” is now completely finished. Its results will help sections and technical experts responsible for huts to evaluate with a matrix to which degree single constructions or restoration measures really are energy-efficient.
Furthermore the issues Alpine Convention and Macro-regional strategy for the Alps (EUSALP) were discussed with which the CAA as alpine-wide umbrella organisation and official observer of the Alpine Convention deals intensively. In October 2016 the CAA will be one of the organizing partners of the Alpweek in Grassau/Chiemgau (Bavaria), a colourful festival related to alpine issues in connection with the Alpine conference of the ministers for the environment, which will conclude the German Presidency of the Alpine Convention.
On the day before the delegates had discussed already separately about the future tasks and main focuses of the CAA. Greater attention should be directed towards internal communication and the exchange of experience in the future. Structural changes were not considered necessary.
As usual, the reports and annual plannings of the board and the commissions as well as annual accounts and budget were approved. At last, Klaus-Jürgen Gran (DAV) was unanimously re-elected for a second term of office as CAA President.
Annual meetings of the Commissions for mountaineering, training and safety and huts and trails
During its meeting in June 2015 on the Pass Pordoi, the CAA commission for mountaineering, training and safety has developed common recommendations for ski tours, which shall be approved by the CAA General Assembly in September. Furthermore, a draft for a position paper regarding belay devices was discussed, which the commission will deal with more intensively.
At the annual meeting of the commission for huts and trails on the Gafadura hut in Liechtenstein, the main focus was–besides the completion of the project “Energy efficiency on mountain huts”–the online reservation system for huts, for which the CAA provided a start-up financing. The first huts will test it in the next winter, from summer 2016 on it shall be used by all interested huts of DAV, ÖAV and AVS.
Annual meeting 2015 of the Commission for nature protection and alpine spacial planning
On its annual meeting, held on 24-26 April in Schaan /Liechtenstein the Commission focused on the issue of mountain biking and environment. The framework conditions in the alpine states are different regarding the legal situation, and the integration of mountain biking in the training standards of the alpine associations differ considerably. However, the in the meantime often high percentage of active bikers in the member structure is similar – often one third – and partly the problems with erosion and above all conflicts between hikers and bikers are similar as well. The Commission agreed that a common position paper doesn’t make sense due to the big differences, but that a collection of “best practice” examples with focus on environmental aspects will be developed.
Besides, the Commission discussed further alpine-wide policy papers: the Commission intends to work out a common position of the alpine associations regarding artificial snowmaking. Furthermore the Commission will propose again Jörg Ruckriegel (DAV), chairman for the last four years, for another four-year-period as chairman of the Commission. Like every year the meeting served also for important exchanges of experience and information about the current activities of the associations in the area of nature protection and for the information of the Commission members about the current main focuses of the CAA board.
The next meeting will be hosted by FFCAM in the French Alps in April 2016.
CAA General Assembly 2014 in Paris
Following an invitation of the French Alpine Association FFCAM the CAA General Assembly (GA) took place in Paris this year on September 13th.
In the series of recommendations regarding the alpine disciplines the delegates approved 10 recommendations for safety on alpine tours which the commission for mountaineering had prepared before. Furthermore the position paper regarding wind power plants of 2006 was updated and approved.
The GA resolved a new paper regarding the significance of landscape. It’s exactly the landscape which fascinates mountaineers and other guests, and which determinates the identity of the population, and which also comes increasingly under pressure.
With the start-up financing of an online reservation system for overnight stays on huts the CAA pursues a really practical project, which will make the reservations – also across borders – easier for the users and will facilitate the administration for hut keepers.
Not yet completely but almost finished is the CAA project “Energy efficiency on mountain huts,” the results of which will help hut keepers and sections to evaluate with a matrix to which degree energy-efficient single construction or restoration measures really are.
Furthermore the issues Alpine Convention and Macro-regional strategy for the Alps with were discussed which the CAA as alpine-wide umbrella organisation deals intensively. The member associations were asked again to participate in the public consultation for the EUALP (see below), directly or with the CAA if they want.
As usual the reports and annual plannings of the board and the commissions as well as annual accounts and budget were approved. At last, CAA President Gran said goodbye with warm words and with applause of the General Assembly to the longstanding CAA Vice President Danilo Skerbinek who, after two terms of office, couldn’t run for office anymore. Afterwards the General assembly elected Miro Erzen (PZS) for the board. Oskar Wörz (OeAV) will be the new Vice President and Franco Capraro (CAI) was elected for a second term of office, too.
Public consultation for the EU-strategy for the alpine region (EUSALP)
On July 16th the public consultation of the EU commisison for the macro-regional strategy for the Alps (EUSALP) started. Until October 15th all interested persons and organisations can answer a questionnaire with several open questions to the principles of the planned strategy which are explained by an accompanying text. Good proposals and ideas are welcome!
The principles were developed by three working groups and the steering committee in spring 2014. They are grouped around the three pilars of the "Grenoble Document", in short: 1. sustainable growth and innovation, 2. territorial development, transport, 3. natural and cultural ressources, energy. The civil society - which also includes the alpine associations - was represented only in the working groups, and only by a person sent by CIPRA as representative of an "Alpine Network", consisting in observers of the Alpine Convention. In the “Steering Committee” representatives of the “Civil Society” were and are still not admitted, the Alpine Convention and the Alpine Space Programme are admitted as observers. It is therefore all the more important that those who work for the protection of the Alps participate in the consultation.
The CAA will participate in the consultation and remains at your disposal for any further information.
More Information also on the CIPRA website.
CAA panel discussion "The role of the Alps – the heart of Europe or outback of the metropolitan cities"? in the Munich Alpine Museum
Does a "macro-regional alpine strategy" offer additional value with respect to the Alpine Convention and if so, what value? Which problems of the Alps are dealt with in the numerous national and international bodies and institutions? Does this promote sustainable development, the goal shared by all? These and many broader questions were discussed on the evening of 26th March by well-known experts and administrative officers at the framework programme of the DAV exhibition "Alps under pressure", under the dedicated and knowledgeable moderation of Alpine journalist Axel Klemmer.
In his introduction, CAA president Klaus-Jürgen Gran put forward the question of whether the planned inclusion of approximately 66 million inhabitants in the area of the macro-regional strategy would lead to a considerably more complex range of interests than those, even within the perimeter of the Alpine Convention with its approximately 15 million inhabitants, that we have not yet been able to fully satisfy or not.
Alpine researcher Werner Bätzing determined the neo-liberal trend, orientate regions towards cities, and so making the actual Alps with its inhabitants on the outskirts. Peter Eggensberger from the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment, on the other hand, sees many new opportunities for cooperation and balancing of interests, he hopes for an integrated, coordinated Alpine policy. Christian Baumgartner from CIPRA international does not believe in the threat of external influences, as even within the Alps there are very strong regions. Eva Nussmüller from the EU, expert for the Danube macro-region, stressed that the EU is deliberately restraining itself, i.e. the regions themselves ought to form the strategy. The Danube region is said to be much more heterogenous than the Alps. Christian Salletmaier from the "Alpine Space Programme" noted that some problems should be solved better locally, whereas others, such as biodiversity or the use of natural resources, can only be properly managed on a cross-border basis, which also occurs through the project funding of its programme. Markus Reiterer, general secretary of the Alpine Convention, gave the project "Mountaineering villages" as a positive example for the advancement of locally-sourced added-value and wishes to maintain the Alps as an area worth living in and not reduce them to terms such as "Europe’s battery". Franz Ferdinand Türtscher, mayor of the municipality of Sonntag in the Great Walser valley, explains that promotion of the Vorarlberg state is succeeding rather than wealthy communities, such as Lech, supporting poorer areas.
In the recently begun work of the working groups on the development of the macro-regional strategy, up until now Baumgartner has missed visionary goals such as quality of life or sufficiency and sees the sectoral approach, sorted by e.g. transport, economy, environment, as rather unsuitable. Bätzing is likewise calling for an "inclusive orientation". He appealed for "functional interrelations" between the Alps and foreland areas to be handled "at eye-level", and pointed out that the "mental and linguistic rifts" within the Alps and between the Alps and the foreland areas are very deep. Eggensberger invited the representatives of the "civil society", including the CAA and its member associations, to bring their ideas to the process. Reiterer also sees the macro-regional strategy as an opportunity to bring the Alpine Convention to life and to make the Alps more visible in Brussels.
"Surely nobody expected all of the fog to be cleared at the end of the evening", joked CAA President Gran in his closing words after the long, at times challenging discussion. However, he announced that the CAA will continue to play a part in the process, "in order to help design the idea of the macro-region Alps and to bring out the best possible for the Alpine region, without compromising the achievements of the Alpine Conventions."
Panel discussion: The role of the Alps – centre of Europe or hinterland of the metropolitan areas?
In line with the decision of the European Council from December 2013 that a macro-regional strategy for the Alps is to be developed, the CAA on March 26th organizes a panel discussion with renowned experts in the framework programme of the DAV exhibition “Alps under pressure” at the Munich Alpine Museum.
In the light of the EU decision the Alpine Convention has to fight for a strong position. Which impulses can the Alpine Convention set to have a strong role in the sustainable development of the Alps? Which will be the main focuses of the German Presidency in 2015/16? Which chances will a macro-regional strategy offer to the Alps? What does it mean for the lives of the population of the Alps? Which role do metropolises like Milan or Munich play? And what could the civil society do to accompany the process actively?
The experts will face these and other questions and try to illustrate the abstract topic.
Date: 26 March 2014, 7.30 p.m., Alpine Museum, Munich
Klaus-Jürgen Gran, President of Club Arc Alpin: Address of welcome and introduction
• Professor Werner Bätzing, Cultural geographer, University of Erlangen
• Markus Reiterer, Secretary general of the Alpine Convention
• Dr. Christian Salletmaier, Alpine Space Programme manager
• Eva Nussmüller, EU Commission, Directorate-General for Regional Policy
• Dr. Peter Eggensberger, Bavarian ministry of the environment and consumer protection
• Dr. Christian Baumgartner, Vice president CIPRA international
• Franz Ferdinand Türtscher, Mayor in "Großes Walsertal", Austria
Moderator: Axel Klemmer, Geographer and Journalist
Macro-regional strategy without civil society?
On December 20th, the European Council has „requested“ the European Commission to develop a macro-regional strategy for the Alps until June 2015 together with the member states. On December 17th, a conference of the alpine states and regions as well as the Alpine Convention and the Alpine Space Programme took place in Bruxelles, where an alpine(-wide?) macro-region was promoted. On this occasion CIPRA International has represented 8 observers of the Alpine Convention – amongst them the CAA – and pleaded for a participation of the civil society in the process of the strategy development. Which organs in which constellation will treat which issues is still not clear at the moment. A meeting of the so-called “steering committee” has been held on January, 20th – but without an invitation to representatives of civil society. Only after a further meeting in February it will be decided if representatives of the civil society will get a seat in this organ. The CAA will keep on working for a right to participate under coordination of CIPRA.
Macro-regional strategy: CAA participates in joint initiative of observers of the Alpine Convention
CIPRA-press release, 13.12.:
On 19 December 2013 the European Council will decide whether there should be a European strategy for the Alpine space. States and regions have been working for months on an appropriate proposal – while excluding representatives of civil society. Why the alpine macro-region needs the science, NGOs and municipalities.
The heads of state and government of the European Union will on 19 December 2013 decide on whether the European Commission is to prepare a proposal for a European strategy for the Alpine space. What however are the topics for this macro-region? How will the decision-making processes look? The Alpine states and certain selected regions, co-ordinated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have been working for around half a year on a proposal. This document is intended to answer the basic questions and – if a European strategy for the Alpine space comes into being – offer concrete proposals for its implementation. However, representatives of civil society, organisations of nature and environmental conservation, Alpine Associations, science or Alpine municipalities were not allowed to contribute to the drafting process.
EU strategy for the Alpine space: building on experience and success
These networks and NGOs covering the Alps have a long upheld culture of co-operation and exchanges, for example through the Alpine Convention. The Alpine Convention formulates goals for the protection and the sustainable development of the Alps, offers instruments and a basis for co-operation. CIPRA and the networks of municipalities, Alpine Associations and scientists are therefore demanding that the spirit of the Alpine Convention should also live on into an European Strategy for the Alpine space. Eight of these organisations set out their joint demands and proposals for a macro-region in a paper containing considerations on the topics for a macro-region and how the European Community and the Alps will benefit from a common strategy.
Open and transparent processes
The core element of a European strategy for the Alpine space is a new multi-level governance, i.e. an inclusive process, as required by the European Commission. This is also the demand set out by the eight organisations in their paper. “A macro-region will only advance Europe and the Alpine space if it is of benefit to the local population”, says Claire Simon, Executive Director of CIPRA International. NGOs as representatives of the civil society can communicate a complex and new strategy of this type and apply the networking expertise gained in the Alps to Europe. Therefore, however, the NGOs must have a direct voice in the development of an European strategy for the Alpine space.
Joint position paper of the eight organisations Alpine Town of the Year Association, Alliance in the Alps, Club Arc Alpin CAA, International Commission for the Protection of the Alps CIPRA, International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps ISCAR, proMONT-BLANC, World Wide Fund for Nature WWF, International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN.
Compliance Committee postponed decision about CAA’s Piz Val Gronda request
On November 13th the Compliance Committee of the Alpine Convention in St. Gallen/CH discussed extensively CAA’s request regarding the suspected non-compliance of the Tyrolian government’s decision (September 2012) to approve the enlargement of the Ischgl ski area on to the top of Piz Val Gronda. CAA presumed that the approval was not in line with art. 6 (3) of the tourism protocol of the Alpine Convention. Due to the vague formulation of that article and the various aspects of interpretation there’s still a need for clarification in the committee. Now the main points of the discussion will be summarized and agreed in writing. In the next meeting in April 2014 –hopefully– the committee will find a clear statement. Furthermore, a kind of interpretative document to art. 6 will be formulated by the committee to facilitate future decisions.
Already the day before the committee dealed with the “deepening phase” of the new compliance mechanism, dedicated to tourism. On the base of a table which showed the deficits in the implementation of the tourism protocol detected by the states themselves there were fixed priorities. The states will now be asked for additional information connected to the implementation of some of the articles, among others article 6.
Declaration for a macro-regional strategy for the Alps
On October 18th the Alpine States and Regions signed a political declaration for a macro-regional strategy for the Alps in Grenoble. This meeting was initiated by France, the civil society – observers of the Alpine Convention and/or other NGOs – were not invited.
The Italian Presidency and the Secretary General of the Alpine Convention, Reiterer, witnessed the signing of the resolution. In a press release of the Permanent Secretariat Reiterer expressed his great hope that the EU will enter an open, constructive and transparent dialog with all relevant stakeholders – the civil society included – during the development of the strategy as such. On 19th of December the European Council is expected to decide if there will be a macro-regional strategy in the Alps at all. On 17th of December a joint conference of Alpine Convention, States and Regions is planned in Bruxelles which is supposed to convince the EU representatives of the benefits of an MRS for the Alps. The NGOs are at least involved in a panel discussion, CIPRA plans to coordinate that.
NGOs demand participation in the Alpine macro-region
Observer organisations of the Alpine Convention are bewildered at their exclusion from the Alpine macro-region. They are demanding their inclusion in the ongoing process for a macro-regional Alpine strategy.
The macro-regional strategy for the Alps is intended to promote future co-operation between the Alpine area and its surrounding regions and cities. This Friday, 18 October 2013, the French Minister for European Affairs, Thierry Repentin is inviting representatives of Alpine regions and countries to a conference in Grenoble. The official observer organisations of the Alpine Convention, i.e. its civil society representatives, are however not on the Minister’s guest list.
The observer organisations have always worked on the Alpine Convention in a constructive manner. They are also equally ready to participate in the development of a macro-regional strategy for the Alps and to make relevant proposals. As the conference in Grenoble is intended to lay the cornerstone for the new strategy, it is vitally important for the observer organisations to be involved. These organisations are also requesting that the goals specified in the Alpine Convention for the protection and sustainable development of the Alps should be taken on board for the macro-region. Their experience in the context of the Alpine Convention over the past 20 years will make an important contribution to a macro-regional Alpine strategy.
CIPRA, ISCAR, ALPARC, AIDA, Alpine Town of the Year, CAA
General Assembly 2013 in Slovenia
On September 14th, the CAA held its General Assembly at the PZS Mountaineering Training Centre in the Bavšica-Valley near Bovec in Slovenia. Apart from the usual agenda items like reports of the commissions, budget and annual plannings this time the target groups of CAA position papers and recommendations were also discussed. Furthermore,10 recommendations "Mountain Biking - safe and fair" were approved, which were developed under leadership of the mountaineering commission with participation of the other two commissions. The recommendations are directed to the single biker and can be used and published by the CAA-member associations. So these recommendations apply uniformly for the whole alpine region. The CAA has already approved recommendations for via ferratas and hiking in 2011 and 2012; recommendations for alpine tours will be prepared.
On the political level the CAA will continue to observe and accompany actively the ongoing process of a development of a macroregional strategy for the Alps. For the end of March 2014 in Munich a panel discussion is planned with representatives of the different initiatives (i.a. Alpine Convention, Alpine Space Programme, EU-commission, Region of Bavaria) which will be part of the framework programme of the DAV-exhibition "The Alps under pressure".
The 2013 CAA Commission Meetings
The Commission of Nature Protection met in Innsbruck at the start of May. The main topics discussed where the overview of environmental education in the associations with a joint introduction and comments on the Commission of Mountaineering’s draft “Mountain-biking recommendations”. “Alpine spatial planning” is to be prepared in a panel discussion on the subject of macro-regional alpine strategy within the scope of the DAV exhibition on the developmental pressure on the Alps at the end of March 2014. The Commission will also address the subject “Value of the landscape” in the next year.
The Commission of Huts and Trails addressed all issues associated with trails at its meeting in Chamonix in the middle of May: legal aspects and issues of liability, conflicts of use, financing of maintenance, working with tourist organisations, trail sponsorship, problems caused by glacial retreat, etc. Furthermore, the current status of the project on energy efficiency in huts, which is now entering its final phase, was discussed. The Commission proposed Georg Simeoni to the Executive Board for a second term of office as the Commission Chairman; he has since been elected. The next meeting of the Commission will be hosted by the OeAV in the middle of June 2014. In addition to an exchange of experiences, this should deal with leases, the protection of historical monuments and hut strategy/marketing.
In addition to an exchange of information on projects carried out by the individual associations, the main topics discussed by the Commission of Mountaineering in Villnöss/South Tyrol in the middle of June were mountain-biking recommendations and a request by the Commission to the CAA General Assembly relating to alpine tour recommendations and pictograms for hiking recommendations, which were adopted in 2012. The next meeting will be hosted by the DAV at the start of June 2014. Subjects covered should include safety recommendations for ski tours, emergency equipment and a general mission statement for education.
New request for checking compliance with the Alpine Convention: Piz Val Gronda
The Compliance Committee of the Alpine Convention on its 18th meeting n 9th/10th of April in Ponte di Legno dealed with CAA’s new request for checking compliance with the Alpine Convention regarding the exploitation of Piz Val Gronda. The CAA assumes that the currently approved cableway is violating Art.6 of the tourism protocol. The CC will request further information and statements during the next months, especially from Austria and the EU, and explore several questions, specified in the request. Hopefully, the CC will find a clear statement during the next meeting in November.
The former request regarding the project wind farm Sattelberg will only be treated by the CC when there's a legally binding decision in the local proceeding.
Second main topic of the meeting was the further proceeding regarding phase 2 (deepening) of the new compliance procedure, approved in 2012. The CC decided to deal firstly with tourism, namely on the basis of the reports of the CC from 2009 and 2011, the recommendations of the alpine conferences and other relevant information, as e.g. RSA IV. As a first step, a compilation of the deficits and difficulties of (legal) implementation detected in the documents regarding tourism will be made for the next meeting. It will be an interesting question which priorities then will be identified for work.
The CAA will continue to contribute actively to the work of the Compliance Committee.
Alpine Convention under Italian Presidency
With more than 50 participants on 7./8. of March took place in Bolzan the first meeting of the Permanent Committee of the Alpine Convention under the Italian Presidency 2013/14. It was embedded into the "Alpine Spring Festival", a week with workhops and meetings with several topics which are also discussed in the framework of the working groups and platforms of the Alpine Convention. Energy will be one of the main focuses: a new platform under Swiss Presidency will deal with use/saving, production, storage and transport. The minister of the environment, CLini, opened the Permanent Committee - and afterwards visited a lobbying event of the entrepreneurs association of South Tyrol. CAA will send and expert to this platform.
Furthermore there will be a new working group "mountain forests", which will work on protection and utility and the preservation of biodiversity of the forests.
In addition is intended a better coordinaion of the work of the numerous working groups and platforms. Right in time before taking over the Presidency Italy in 2012 had ratified all the protocolls of the Alpine Convention.