How networks of local political actors build the pan-Alpine region
The natural and socio-cultural Alpine territory is being threatened by increasing motorized traffic, the ageing of its population, the national fragmentation of the politics on its territory, and concerns linked to climate change. The general issue that this book is to understand the main social and political responses proposed by local political actors to solve these important social and ecological challenges. Already in the 1950s, some particularly sensitive local politicians and managers of protected areas alerted national authorities to the social and ecological crises that were threatening the Alpine region.
Forty years later, one solution recommended was the constitution of networks of local political actors implementing at the local level the Convention on the Protection of the Alps, usually called Alpine Convention. Local political actors view this international treaty as an appropriate tool to respond to the challenges facing the Alps. By imposing the concept of sustainable development as the solution for assuring the survival of the Alps, the convention can be considered a model for other mountain regions facing similar problems. Signed by the eight Alpine countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland) and the European Union, it entered into force in March 1995. The aim of the convention, according to its second article, is to “pursue a comprehensive policy for the preservation and protection of the Alps by applying the principles of prevention, payment by the polluter (the ‘polluter pays’ principle) and cooperation”.3 Additionally, through this convention, the...
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