NEWS FROM EUSALP BODIES
As a political steering board of the Alpine Strategy, the General Assembly discussed main outcomes of the Bavarian Presidency year and adopted a Joint Declaration endorsing a list of implementation priorities from the Action Group Work Plans, committing to a targeted use of the available legal and financial instruments while welcoming the strong support from the European Parliament and the European Commission.
The EUSALP Executive Board met on 22 November 2017 in Munich to prepare the EUSALP Annual Forum, and to decide on the selection of project applications to be funded the Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF) based on the recent call for applications.
The 1st Annual Forum of the EU-Strategy for the Alpine Region marked the closure and was at the same time the peak event of the Bavarian EUSALP presidency. It aimed at taking stock of the results of the work made during the year 2017 and presenting them to a wider public including citizens but also using a momentum of the transition from recent to next EU Multiannual Financial Framework and paving the way for the future development of the youngest of the 4 macroregional EU strategies. Almost 600 representatives from politics, administration, academia, stakeholders, associations, civil society and citizens came together at the BMW Welt in a wide range of formats and in an innovative and stimulating location.
The Forum included a stocktaking of the activities under the Bavarian EUSALP presidency in the context of the trio presidency Slovenia-Bavaria-Tyrol and 10 workshops, out of which two were dedicated to the topic of better embedding macroregional strategies into EU policy post 2020, the other eight to topics of the Action Groups, not only show casing the current state of play in the Action Groups but also encouraging the cooperation of (two and more) Action Groups. In addition, a "Youth for EUSALP" Conference of young people from the Alpine Region formulated concrete recommendations for future involvement of youth in policy making processes, while citizens and stakeholders could inform themselves about and contribute to the strategy in a publicly accessible interactive exhibition on the EU Alpine Strategy.
The programme of the Forum also included the award ceremony of the photo competition "usandthealps", the awarding of project grants from the Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF) and a "Citizens Dialogue" hosted by the European Commission.
At the 1st Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region, Action Group 1 - led by Professor Anna Giorgi - ran a workshop on its ongoing Research, Innovation and Networking activities.
The Action Group 1 workshop was the result of a strong collaboration among all the Action Group Members, a first important step in stimulating the creation of a cross-national network. All Action Group 1 members proposed ongoing strategic projects which they presented to the EUSALP stakeholders as best practices to be capitalized on for the entire Alpine Region. Nine speakers spoke about: the Platform of Knowledge (PoK), available soon; Research Laboratories in the Alpine Area (RE-SEARCH ALPS), a project that maps Research Centers and Laboratories in the EUSALP area; and MORE‐Alps, a research & teaching project on Regional Development Policies within the EUSALP Strategy. Action Group1 activities also focus on issues that affect the whole Macroregion, such as climate change, which is being addressed by the Bavarian project Alpine remote Sensing of climate-induced natural hazards (AlpSense). Also presented was the group's work mapping research and innovation funding tools at the European, national and regional level and Alpine Space projects that are of particular interest for Action Group 1: SCALE (up) ALPS, Links4Soils, and Greencycle. Finally, the International Lake Constance University was presented as an example of Alpine cross-border cooperation in science and research.
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To increase the economic potential of strategic sector in the Alpine region: implementing activities of the Action Group 2 for 2018
The global aim of the Action Group 2 is to increase the economic potential of strategic sectors. The added value consists in leading a better utilisation of Alpine specific resources and develop potential in the identified strategic sectors with a special focus on the development opportunities for SMEs within the alpine region. Two workshops were held at the Annual Forum in Munich. One together with Action Group 6, on “Establishing bio-based value chains and shaping future ways for traditional economic fields”. A second on the “Alpine Region as a globally attractive place for health promotion”. Both workshops demonstrated the high potentials of cooperation within the Alpine Region by concrete examples and future initiatives.
For 2018 the following new initiatives are planned:
- Alpine Health Tourism – Positioning the Alpine region as globally attractive health promoting place
- Alpine Timber Constructions - lnnovation to foster sustainability and circular economy in Alpine forestry value chain and increased use of wooden constructions in the Alpine Region
- Alpine Bioeconomy - Bringing circular economy to the farmers in rural alpine regions for sustainable growth and organising an Entrepreneurial Discovery Workshop on Bioeconomy.
Next meeting of the Action Group 2 will be held on 1st February 2018 in Lyon.
A 2018 full of activities: focus on dual education and integration of migrants in the labour market
The 1° Forum on Dual Education held in Trentino last October launched the collaboration on EUSALP level in the field of Dual Education. The issue of a common term of reference in the Alpine Region was raised. The overall system needs more contamination, demands for stronger involvement of the enterprises and needs bridging the gap between the different actors. In particular topics as certification of competences, mutual recognition of titles and an increase in the number of mobilities of staff and trainers has to be dealt with. On these issues, together with the Tyrolean Presidency, Action Group 3 will organize in 2018 the 2° Forum on Dual Education where a 10 points Action Plan on Dual Education will be presented that intends to improve the different aspects of Dual Education.
The Alpine Pluralism Award 2018 was launched this autumn by Cipra Lab in the frame of the Alpine Space project “PlurAlps- Enhancing capacities for a pluralistic Alpine Space together with the EUSALP Action Group 3. It honours initiatives and projects that support integration and social diversity in the Alpine Region. The selection of the integration measures or projects will take place at the beginning of 2018 and will be presented in Turin at the PlurAlps mid-term conference in May 2018 and awarded by the Tyrolean Presidency.
Raising awareness with the Transport & Mobility Conflict Map
The special geographical features of the Alps cause particular constraints on connectivity, accessibility and transport infrastructure. In order to raise awareness for this topic, the Action Group 4 developed the Transport & Mobility Conflict Map which has been exhibited for the first time during the EUSALP Annual Forum. The aim of the conflict map is to identify the core challenges and points of conflict between transport and mobility in connection with the environment, economy and society in the Alpine Region and to visualize them using concrete examples put forward by the Action Group 4 members.
An informative brochure provides further information on the nine identified issues and examples displayed on the interactive map. Furthermore, the Action Group 4 organized a workshop on the improvement of cross-border connectivity in passenger transport, which requires the optimization and harmonization of travel information systems across regions and states. Representatives from the Bavarian Ministry of Interior, Building and Transport, SBB (Swiss Railway), Austria Tech, DELFI e.V. and the Dolomiti UNESCO Foundation contributed with their expertise to the development of an Action Group 4 project proposal on promoting modal shift by connecting travel information systems across the Alpine Region.
Action Group 5 strategic initiatives to be turned into cooperation projects
A first Action Group 5 strategic initiative to come to life, the Alpine Space project Smart Villages, focusing on a re-adaptation of the Smart City concept in rural areas, was recently approved to the 2nd step of evaluation of the Programme 3rd call for proposals. A multidisciplinary study of this concept was also conducted in a joint workshop of Action Group 3, Action Group 5 and Action Group 9 during the first EUSALP Annual Forum held in Munich in November, were Action Group 5 has also organized a common exposition, together with the Technical University of Munich and Piedmont Environment Protection Agency, on a 3D landscape model initiative.
A third initiative, carried out with Action Group 4 and focusing on Cross-border mobility will be funded by the Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund and will strive to use digital solutions to improve the situation of cross-border mobility and the management of infrastructure and cross-border passenger flows.
On 31 October, finally, was held a second meeting of sub-group 1, to consider the implementation of a feasibility study to define the state of the art situation and the interests of various stakeholders in the field of connectivity, in view of the realization of a transnational alpine backbone.
Action Group 6 at the EUSALP Annual Forum: Interactive Exchanges and approval of projects
Action Group 6, co-led by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Land Carinthia, organized a Workshop on “Establishing bio-based value chains and shaping future ways for traditional economic fields” together with Action Group 2. The Workshop demonstrated the practicability of the bio-based value chain creation approach in the Alpine Region by the example of projects.
At its market stand Action Group 6 presented its activities on the three sub-topics of spatial development and soil conservation, future oriented farming and forestry and integrated and sustainable water management. In addition, the project “Next Generation 2030” on youth and mountain farming, initiated by the Bavarian presidency, as well as the project “PureAlps” on hardly degradable pollutants from the atmosphere in the Alpine Region contributed to attracting many visitors to the market stand of Action Group 6.
At the EUSALP Annual Forum it was announced, that two projects of Action Group 6, submitted to the Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF), were approved: CirculAlps on circular economy, elaborated in cooperation with Action Group 2 and Alpjobs on demographic changes, jointly prepared with Action Group 3.
Going local – Green Infrastructure meets climate change adaptation
In implementation of the political declaration on Alpine Green Infrastructure adopted on 2 October 2017 by 27 Alpine states and regions and as follow-up of the Mountain Forest Summit held in September 2017 Action Groups 7 and 8 organized a workshop at the EUSALP Annual Forum on how to make best use of local driven instruments for implementing strategic goals. Experts and other stakeholders discussed synergies in the field of mountain forests as they have a vital function as protection forests, as green infrastructure, as livelihood for communities and many more.
The chair Peter Mayer (Austrian Research Center for Forests) together with the keynote speakers Jörg Ewald (University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf), Gian Antonio Battistel ( on behalf of EUSALP Action Group 7 Trentino), Sebastian Klinger (Bavarian State Forests) and Ethelbert Babl (Agency for Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry Kempten) set the scene. A discussion with workshop participants highlighted the potential given by community led local development approaches e.g. the LEADER program of the EU. As a follow-up a joint workshop of LEADER and EUSALP actors is envisaged for 2018. Results and more information can be found here.
Kick-Off of the EUSALP Energy Observatory in 2018
The geographic and structural characteristics of the Alpine region offer many potentials to make the Alpine region a model region for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Reliable energy data are an important basis for decision makers, to formulate, implement and verify the effectiveness of energy policies and measures. At macro-regional level, energy data is a support to formulate a long-term sustainable and transboundary energy strategy for the Alpine region.
The "EUSALP Energy Observatory" follows this rationale. The purpose of the observatory is to map the current state of energy production and consumption in the Alpine region and to identify macro-regional development trends. It is intended to provide assistance to those regions in the Alpine region that do not yet collect and evaluate local energy data systematically. The Tyrolean EUSALP presidency 2018 will support the establishment of a competence network as the first concrete step in the implementation process. Based on already existing regional cooperations and observatories in the alpine region, the competence network will elaborate in a series of workshops conditions and fields of action for the "EUSALP Energy Observatory".
Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF): First five projects selected
Since the launch of the Strategy, the Action Groups as well as the Executive Board of the Strategy have identified a number of themes and issues that need further and deeper investigation and preparatory activities in order to achieve the set goals. To support this, the European Parliament has taken initiative to introduce an allocation of EUR 2 million in the 2017 budget and mandated the European Commission to implement this preparatory action.
The European Commission awarded a direct grant to the Land of Salzburg which has organised the implementation process and – after consultation with the Executive Board - invited the Action Groups to come up with project applications. Five projects were selected by the Executive Board in a first round and the Annual Forum was an excellent occasion to present them:
CirculAlps: Innovation to foster sustainability and circular economy in Alpine forestry value chain
TRANSALP: Bringing circular economy to the farmers in rural Alpine Region for sustainable growth
ALPJOBS: Anticipate Future Jobs in Alpine Remote Areas
HEALPS: Alpine Health Tourism – Positioning the Alpine region as globally attractive health promoting place
CrossBorder: Cross-border mobility in the Alpine Region
Find out more under: www.alpine-region.eu