Switzerland has chosen to focus on climate, sustainable transport and Alpine towns during its Presidency of the Alpine Convention. Various projects and events related to these areas of focus will be held in 2021 and 2022.
The main theme of the two-year Presidency is climate. Switzerland will support sustainable transport, promote sustainable construction and renovation in the Alpine region, and demonstrate how spatial planning measures can help Alpine towns adapt to climate change.
The Alpine Convention has aligned itself with the Alpine Climate Target System 2050 and the Climate Action Plan 2.0 to pursue the objective of climate-neutral and climate-resilient Alps by 2050. Switzerland plans to carry out various projects to contribute to achieving this objective, including the Alpine-wide climate day «Climate Hour», a conference on climate-friendly construction and renovation in the Alps, and a ‘Climate Week’ at the end of its Presidency.
People live, work and spend their free time in the Alps. This has led to a high level of mobility and high capacity demands on the transport network. The Alps are also a highly-sensitive natural environment. To keep the impact on the environment to a minimum, we need to design transport in a resource efficient way and heighten awareness for the unique natural environment of the Alps. During its Presidency, Switzerland will be promoting activities including cycle tourism, sustainable travel for young people and transalpine freight traffic.
The Swiss Presidency would like to give new impetus in the urban areas of the Alps. In addition to environmental issues, Switzerland intends to address social issues. The Report on the State of the Alps will provide new insights into Alpine towns, their significance for the surrounding Alpine area and their development prospects. Switzerland has furthermore joined forces with Alpine towns and other partners to launch the ‘Climate Action in Alpine Towns’ project, which involves residents in promoting climate measures. The Alpine Towns Blog of the Alpine Convention informs about interesting projects, new findings and ongoing developments on Alpine towns. The Report on the State of the Alps will also be published there after its completion.
Alpine towns: the Kajzer Park in Idrija (Slovenia)
The Kajzer Park in Idrija (Slovenia) is a former mining site that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The brownfield site around these landmark buildings suffers from soil contamination caused by the mining activity. Idrija wants to seize the opportunity with the Territorial Agenda 2030 pilot 'Climate action in Alpine towns' to revitalise the area and make it climate-resilient. The lessons learned will then be applied to other parts of the city.
Since its inception in 2011, the international architecture prize for sustainable renovation and construction in the Alps «Constructive Alps» has contributed to the implementation of the Alpine Convention and its Climate Action Plan. To mark the tenth anniversary of the architecture competition, Switzerland organised an online conference on sustainable renovation and construction in the Alps last June and took the opportunity to announce the launch of the sixth edition of «Constructive Alps».
As part of its 2021/22 presidency, Switzerland is even more committed to climate protection and the sustainability of Alpine architecture. Climate-friendly building - in harmony with social aspects - is a key to a future with a high quality of life. Pioneering award-winning buildings from the last editions are presented in the Constructive Alps travelling exhibition. Current locations can be found here.