How networks of local political actors build the pan-Alpine region
Throughout this research, I focused on the operation and significance of a recent phenomenon occurring in the Alps. Since the 1990s, a number of networks of political actors have been established. These connect different social and political actors (mayors, regional secretaries, managers of protected areas, rangers, ski resorts, scientists, ecological activists etc.) inside the Alpine region as defined by the Alpine Convention. Some of them were created as a strategy to provide consistency to an international treaty signed in 1991 by the ministries of the environment of Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Switzerland and the European Union. The Alpine Convention, which is also the name of the treaty, aims to promote sustainable development in the Alpine area and to protect the interests of the people living inside it. Given that the focus is on sustainable development, the research embraces environmental, social, economic and cultural dimensions.
Criticism towards the convention, which some consider to be merely a piece of paper without any real implementation in the territory, pushed political actors and organizations, first and foremost the Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Alpes (CIPRA), to find solutions to reach the local decision-makers and put into practice what the Alpine Convention promised: sustainable development in the entire Alpine arc. That is why, often thanks to the impetus of CIPRA, networks of local actors were established, which gave rise to a number of initiatives that Debarbieux identifies as a sign of a veritable “pan-Alpine activism” (Debarbieux,...
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