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The Alpine Conference is the decision-making body of the Alpine Convention, an international treaty between eight states and the EU to further the protection and sustainable development of the Alpine space. As the current holder of the Presidency of the Alpine Convention, Switzerland will be hosting the Alpine Conference for the second time, following on from 1999/2000. The agenda features the outcomes of the Rio +20 conference, and the question of how the guidelines on the green economy laid down in its Outcome Document can be amended and applied to the Alpine space. The environment ministers will also discuss the importance of renewable energies. In Switzerland, the Alps will play a major role in the Federal Council's new energy policy. Possible action areas to promote sustainable tourism in the Alps will also be under discussion.
The Alpine Conference is taking place as part of an AlpWeek for the first time. Running from 5-8 September, the event will turn the spotlight on current challenges in the Alps in a series of panel discussions, lectures and workshops based on the global theme of "Renewable Alps". The issues covered range from transport and mobility in the Alps to questions of governance and the role of SMEs in the local economy.
Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard has invited the environment ministers of the German-speaking countries to an informal meeting which follows on from the Alpine Conference. This quadripartite meeting of environment ministers from Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein is an annual event. The agenda for this year's meeting includes a review of the Rio +20 UN sustainability conference, and a look ahead to forthcoming international conferences on biodiversity and the climate.
Alpine Convention and AlpWeek
The Alpine Convention is the first agreement in the world on the protection of a mountain region that is binding under international law. It defines a transnational area as a functional geographical unit, and as a cultural and economic region which faces a common set of challenges. The Contracting Parties to the Alpine Convention are Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, Switzerland and the EU. In the early 1990s, these states drew up a framework convention, which came into force in March 1995 and was ratified by Switzerland in 1999. In Switzerland, responsibility for the Alpine Convention lies with the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC). Within DETEC, the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) takes the lead on individual activities. AlpWeek 2012 is being staged as part of the Swiss Presidency of the Alpine Convention. It is being organised by the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) and the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA), as well as the "Alliance in the Alps" network of municipalities, the International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps (ISCAR), the Alpine Network of Protected Areas (ALPARC) and the Club Arc Alpin (CAA), in close collaboration with the Valposchiavo region.
Registration – media information:
Representatives of the media are requested to register for AlpWeek and for the media conference on the Alpine Conference by 24 August 2012 at www.are.admin.ch/alpenkonvention.