On 13 February 2017, the General Assembly of the EU Alpine Strategy, the highest political level steering the implementation of the strategy, met in Rottach-Egern, Bavaria. After a retrospective on the activities and achievements of the Slovenian EUSALP Presidency 2016, the chairmanship of the implementation of EUSALP was formally handed over to the Free State of Bavaria. At the same meeting, the General Assembly adopted a Joint Declaration outlining the political priorities and the Work Programme for the Bavarian Presidency for the implementation of EUSALP.
On 14 and 15 February 2017, the Executive Board of the EU Alpine Strategy held its first meeting under the Bavarian Presidency. Among other things, the Executive Board members discussed the communication strategy for EUSALP and laid the foundation for an internal reporting and monitoring system for the implementation of EUSALP projects.
Guided by the motto “EU Alpine Strategy – joint action for the benefit of the Region”, the Bavarian Presidency has made the informing and involvement of stakeholders in the implementation of the EU Alpine Strategy a key priority. This newsletter is an important step in our endeavour and will help build an inclusive and citizen-oriented Alpine Region. To continue the dialogue, the Bavarian Presidency will host a Citizen’s Forum in the framework of the EUSALP Annual Forum on 23 and 24 November 2017. This Forum will offer numerous opportunities for information sharing and participation in direct interaction with political decision-makers.
Another key priority of the Bavarian Presidency is to work towards better project funding by embedding macro-regional strategies into the EU policy framework post 2020. At the moment, EUSALP and other macro-regional strategies lack adequate financial resources. Bavaria thus took the lead in formulating a political position to ensure more financial leeway for macro-regional strategies in the future. This position paper is politically supported by 14 EUSALP Members and by the “Friends of EUSALP” group in the European Parliament.
The Bavarian Presidency thanks all Action Groups Members for their active input and wishes everyone a good read!
NEWS FROM ACTION GROUPS
The Action Group 1 – composed of 18 members from 6 countries (IT, SI, AT, DE, CH, FR) – aims at developing an effective research and innovation ecosystem in the Alpine Region.
Action Group 1 is developing the Platform of Knowledge (PoK), a common technological management and monitoring platform that will be useful both for policy makers and public institutions and for the citizens. Moreover, the PoK will provide: a 3D/2D map to grant access to data and information concerning universities, research centres, enterprises and R&D governance institutions through an interactive visualization system, a virtual room to allow for flexibility and time and cost- saving in the organisation of meetings, a e-Learning platform for sharing courses and workshops, a urban sensing system for monitoring hot topics in the Alpine Region through the social media, and a constantly updated tool that will allow everyone to obtain information on funding programmes and related open calls about the R&I sector at a glance. The RE-SEARCH ALPS project, which aims at developing a technological tool to search and map the Laboratories and Research Centres in the Alpine Region, has been launched (to contribute to the project, please fill the questionnaire: http://bit.ly/RAproject). Write to Action Group 1 (firstname.lastname@example.org) to have more information.
State of Play of the subgroup and ongoing activities
Action Group 2’s subgroups have been active since the last meeting of the Action Group in February. The Health and Tourism subgroup met in San Remo on 20 March and in Munich on 12 June for a working session on a possible common project to promote the health benefits of Alpine tourism. The Bioeconomy subgroup met side-to-side with Action Group 2 during the Action Group Forum and is currently working on a project to develop cross-border value chains for bio-based industries in the Alps. Last but not least, the "Wood" subgroup met in Ostfildern on 7 February and started working on the development of policy instruments to foster the use of wood in buildings, with focus on research and innovation.
Moreover Action Group 2 published the short brochure "Added value of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) for clusters and enterprises" to inform clusters, enterprises and experts of the Alpine region and the general public about the EUSALP and Action Group 2 activities.The next meeting of Action Group 2 will take place on 26/27 September. More information coming soon!
Save the Date! 1st Forum on Dual Education in the Alpine Region in San Michele all'Adige, Autonomous Province of Trento, on 9 October 2017. Let's start from our best practices and the mutual recognition of competences
The Alpine region is rich in experiences referred to dual education, especially in the VET sector. The recognition of competences is one of the key questions leading towards a future mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
How can we work together on these issues? How can we best involve the key stakeholders of this sector in the EUSALP area? The 1st Forum on Dual Education in the Alpine Region will offer the floor to representatives from politics, administration, education and businesses to share experiences, discuss best practice examples, start networking and shape future project ideas.
The 1st Forum on Dual Education in the Alpine Region is organized back to back with the GECT Euregio Tirolo-Alto Adige-Trentino and will consider the territory of the Euregio in the morning session and the whole Alpine Region in the afternoon session.
The event is the first public activity of the EUSALP Action Group 3 dealing with education, training and the labour market. The activities of Action Group 3 will follow and on 10 October the first Workshop of MountErasmus will take place in San Michele all'Adige. MountErasmus aims at the creation of a strong network among training institutions in agriculture and the alpine economy and the promotion of new project ideas. The forum and the MountErasmus Workshop will take place in the framework of the Alpine Space project AlpGov, project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Alpine Space Programme".
Reviews of the mountain factors for external costs
Having met five times so far, EUSALP Action Group 4 has developed a comprehensive Work Plan, focusing on ten initiatives under three priority topics: the implementation of modal shift policies with a focus on toll systems, infrastructure for sustainable transport and interconnecting public transport systems.
Coordinated modal shift policies in the Alpine Region are built on the common understanding that the Alps face over-proportional environmental impact from freight and passenger transport. However, the scientific basis on external costs in mountain areas has not been updated recently and a basic piece of information is missing for the design of common policy instruments such as common pricing systems. Hence, in May 2017 the Action Group 4 lead commissioned a study to develop recent estimates for external costs in mountain areas. The initiative provides a crucial scientific basis for improved coordination and for designing accompanying policy measures in support of inter-modality. To avoid duplication and create synergies, the activity is closely coordinated with the Alpine Convention Working Group on Transport, which presented their approach, with a focus on air and noise pollution, at the fourth Action Group 4 meeting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on 14 February 2017. The EUSALP Action Group 4 analysis will focus on all elements of external costs in mountain areas. The main findings will be presented at the second EUSALP AG4 Mobility Conference on 25 October 2017 in Bolzano.
Progress of work
In line with the objectives of the Group Work plan, the Action Group 5 works are currently focusing on the preparation of two strategic projects aiming, respectively, at turning around current rural areas depopulation trends through the promotion of the "Smart Villages" approach and at boosting the quality of ICT in the Alpine area through the realization of a fibre-optics backbone in the Alps. The former project has already been submitted as an Expression of Interest to the first step of selection of the 3rd call for project ideas of the Alpine Space Transnational cooperation Programme by a partnership composed by applicants coming from the whole alpine arch. The project specific objectives will be to improve framework conditions for innovation in the Alpine Space, in order to respond to mountain people's concrete needs of development. The Alpine fibre-optics backbone project, on the other hand, will bring the Alpine ICT infrastructure capabilities into line with the alpine population needs in terms of digital exchanges and communication. This project idea has been the main theme of discussion during the last Action Group 5 subgroup 1 - Connectivity meeting, held in Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis on the 29th June.
Third EUSALP Action Group 6 Meeting
The third EUSALP Action Group 6 meeting took place from 8 to 9 June 2017 in Pörtschach am Wörtersee, in Carinthia. Following a short plenary session on the latest EUSALP developments, representatives of ministries and regional governments met together with civil society and research experts to discuss the future steps regarding the Action Groups’s three main sub-topics: Spatial development and soil conservation, future oriented farming and forestry and integrated and sustainable water management. Fruitful discussions and an active exchange among the stakeholders produced considerable progress towards the implementation of the Action Group’s work plan. Valuable input for cooperation was given by the representative of the Alpine Space Program and by the project partners of approved and on going Alpine Space Projects Links4Soils, SPARE, AlpFoodway and AlpES. The next Action Group 6 meeting will take place in January 2018 in Bolzano back-to-back with an international networking event, organized by Action Group 6, Action Group 5 and Platform Land South Tyrol. More information on the event will be available soon.
Towards a model region for ecological connectivity
“A green Alpine Matrix for Life which is designed and managed coherently across administrative borders and in close cooperation among all relevant sectors”. This summarises the vision of Action Group 7. In 2017, the Bavarian EUSALP Presidency is bringing the issue of Green Infrastructure, in a strategic partnership with major Alpine towns and cities, onto the political agenda by holding a Ministerial Conference on October 2, 2017 in Munich. Representatives from European, national, regional and municipality level will jointly set the political landmarks for making the Alpine region a model region for developing Green Infrastructure and launch an Alpine cities network. Partners from the ASP project LOS_DAMA!, Action Group 7 members and other delegates prepared this political meeting in a joint workshop on 31st of May and 1st of June 2017.
Action Group 7 focuses on developing ecological connectivity and thus strengthen, improve and restore biodiversity, as well as ecosystem services. With its broad representation of members from Alpine countries and regions as well as advisors with different institutional and sectorial backgrounds, Action Group 7 builds on a dialogue including stakeholders from all relevant sectors.
Third meeting of Eusalp Action Group 8
The third meeting of EUSALP Action Group 8 took place from 15 to 16 March 2017 at the Environmental Research Station, Schneefernerhaus, upon invitation of the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection. After an opening session dedicated to organisational and informative matters, the Action Group 8 content-related work commenced. A presentation was given of various projects and initiatives in the field of climate adaptation and a workshop was held on risk governance, chaired by an external expert from the Technical University Vienna. Besides the common challenges in risk governance, a first attempt to analyse the existing processes in more detail was aimed at. Finally the road map for the activities until the next Action Group 8 meeting on 19 September 2017 in Innsbruck was agreed on.
Sustainable Construction Symposium in October in Garmisch-Partenkirchen - 25 October 2017
As a concrete implementation measure under the Bavarian Presidency 2017, a study of the overall environmental effects and the energy balance of Alpine construction materials is being commissioned. The outcome of the study will be presented during the international cooperation forum on “Sustainable and energy efficient construction in the Alpine Area” on 25 October 2017, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The symposium contributes to the Action Group 9 goal to champion “Greening the Alpine infrastructure / building sector”, which supports actions promoting more sustainable and energy-efficient building stock. The forum will include keynotes and input about sustainable construction, funding schemes for sustainable and energy efficient construction in the Alps, grey energy assessment and recycling processes in the Alpine Area.
Further information about the forum can be found here: http://www.bayern-innovativ.de/eusalp2017