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The Alpine Convention and New Modes of Governance

The Alpine Convention as evidential support for New Governance Arrangements

Hausarbeit (Hauptseminar) 2009 15 Seiten

Politik - Internationale Politik - Klima- und Umweltpolitik



1. Introduction

2. The Alpine Convention

3. Network of municipalities
3.1 The Alpine Town of the Year Association
3.2 Sonthofen im Allgäu - Alpine Town of the Year 2005

4. New Modes of Governance
4.1 Governance as problem-solving mode
4.2 Actors involved in Governance Arrangements
4.3 Mechanisms in Governance Arrangements

5. Theoretical Implications
5.1 Governance under the shadow of hierarchy
5.2 Governance under the principle of a charter

6. Conclusion


1. Introduction

The concept of Governance has recently become one of the most popular in contemporary political science and at the same time it is as highly debated as desired to become a useful mode of problem-solving.

The aim of this paper is not to contribute to the theoretical discourse about Governance in first case, but to have a closer look on the applicability of Governance by trying to give evidential support. In other words: This paper is trying to contribute deductively to the Governance approach by examining an empirical case in order to derive theoretical implications.

The following will have a closer look on the Alps as a European region to examine a particular arrangement - the Alpine Convention. What is it? How is it realized and who is involved? What kind of arrangement is it in detail? Is it an empirical case of a Governance arrangement and if so, which implications may be derived for theoretical contribution? Therefore the Alpine Convention in connection with the Alpine Towns of the Year Association will be presented as an appropriate arrangement of multi-level Governance. Hence, the main goal of this paper is to discuss to what extent this project can be considered as a Governance arrangement and what implications emerge from its argumentation for the Governance concept as a whole. The core hypothesis of the following is that this arrangement can be regarded as a Governance arrangement and that it provides certain proposals to its practical applicability.

To do so, it is first and foremost needed to display the mentioned project which serves as an evidence for applied Governance arrangements in the European hemisphere. In addition, it is necessary to explain what this paper understands Governance to be like in the universe of different perceptions of the term Governance. On this basis, it becomes possible to have a closer look on the relationship between the concept Governance and the Alpine Convention as a project in order to define it more precisely within the theoretical borders of Governance arrangements. The paper´s argumentation is generally based on Mayntz´s and Schmitter´s theoretical approach. After New Modes of Governance as a problem-solving mode, its actors involved and mechanisms observed in Governance arrangements are explained, Governance under the shadow of hierarchy and Governance under the concept of a charter as theoretical implications will be derived.

2. The Alpine Convention

The Alpine Convention is an agreement between various countries for the protection and sustainable development of the Alpine Region. It was signed by the end of 1991 in Salzburg by Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the EU. Slovenia signed the Convention in 1993. Monaco became a party on the basis of a separate additional protocol. The Convention came into force on March 6th, 1995. The Alpine Convention is an agreement within the law of nations for the overall protection and the sustainable development of the Alps. It was set up upon the initiative and after long preliminary work by CIPRA („Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Alpes‟). The general framework convention, which in the meantime has been ratified by all the contracting parties, is applied by means of the so called Protocols of Implementation. The protocols of implementation are envisaged for twelve sectors, for nine sectors protocols already exist: (1 )Spatial planning and sustainable development, (2) Conservation of nature and the countryside, (2) Mountain farming, (3) Mountain forests, (4) Tourism, (5) Energy, (6) Soil conservation, (7) Transport, (8) Solution of litigations and (9) Monaco. The protocols regarding the following sectors: (10) Population and culture, (11) Prevention of air pollution, (12) Water management and Waste management have not been drafted yet. The Protocols of Implementation have not been signed and ratified by all countries yet. Since 2003, the Alpine Convention has been provided with a permanent secretariat, with its office in Innsbruck (BMU 2004: S 5f).

The Alpine Convention has eleven official organizations with an observer status, most important is CIPRA. CIPRA considers the Alpine Convention as a significant tool for sustainable development, but also as a tool for exchange and collaboration between the Alpine countries. CIPRA is active in the bodies of the Alpine Convention and constantly submits concrete proposals for the further development and the implementation of the Alpine Convention and its Protocols of Implementation. The contract parties are urged to cooperate with international and non-governmental organizations when necessary (Alpine Convention: Art. 4). The Alps face problems, which cannot be solved unilaterally. It is necessary to cooperate on international level based on a common strategy. This strategy is embodied by the Alpine Convention embedded in a multi-level framework (BMU 2004: 11).

Its protagonists are the European Union on Supranational level, the Member States on national level in coordination with regions and municipalities on local level. This process is regularly monitored by Non-Governmental Organizations like the CIPRA.

The Alpine Convention is either realized on local level, which will be shown off later on (exemplified by the Alpine Town of the Year Association), or on de-bordering regional level like „EuRegios‟. In any case, networking is the key concept. Whether it is the Alpine Town of the Year Association, the Alliance in the Alps in local terms or regional initiatives like EuRegios or the network of Alpine Protected Areas (ALPARC), all of them are circumscribed under the strategy of networking (BMU 2004: 12f). The graph below displays the interdependencies between the actors involved. In our case, the Alpine Convention is centralized, because it manifests the issue all stake- and shareholders are affected by. As one can see, a multi-level network is described in a non-hierarchical way. These interdependency ties will help us to understand the following argumentation and in particular when it comes to define this arrangement in theoretical terms.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In between it has to be added that International and interregional cooperation may be considered as a threat to local identities, but the major task is not to isolate cultural heritage, but to link identical heritage with touristic expectations. Economical, sociocultural and demographic transitions are preconditions for territorial restructuring and orientation. New cultural diversity within the Alpine population opens up new opportunities for politics. The generation of municipal and regional networking may be a precursor of successful political and cultural integration internationally (Debarbieux in BMU 2004: 59f). One of these networks is the Alpine Towns of the Year Association.

3. Network of municipalities

The Alpine Towns of the Year Association is an association of alpine towns which have been awarded the title of "Alpine Town of the Year". The title commends an alpine town for its particular commitment to the implementation of the Alpine Convention and is awarded by an international Jury consisting of representatives of the Alpine Towns of the Year Association, the CIPRA-International and others.

A similar network of municipalities "Alliance in the Alps" is an association of local authorities and regions from seven Alpine states and was founded in 1997. Its members, together with their citizens, strive to develop their alpine living environment in a sustainable way, too. “Exchange - Address - Implement” is the main idea behind the Alliance‟s activities. The basic and guiding principle for sustainable development is the Alpine Convention. Its implementation is to come to life wherever individuals are able to shape their future, i.e. in the community. And to ensure that the wheel does not have to be re-invented each time, the network of communities offers an exchange of experience and information beyond the boundaries of language and culture.

3.1 The Alpine Town of the Year Association

The fact that the Alpine Convention draws on alpine towns for its contents is of key significance given that around two thirds of the population in the Alps live in urba]nised regions, which in turn represent only around 40% of the total alpine area. So, while the Alps are still clearly rural in terms of surface area, the population - and with it the economy - is already predominantly urban. Here nature and culture, ecology and economy collide head on, and it is the stated principal objective of the Alpine Town of the Year to communicate that idea to the population at large. The Alps as a European region should be recognized as such to carry jointly decisions about the Alps as the significant European backbone for the future. Because in its whole, the Alps possess common decisive resources such as drinking water (Interessengemeinschaft 2004: 6).



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
682 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg – Marie Curie Chair in Public Policies
Umweltschutz Umweltpolitik Europa Governance Alpenschutz




Titel: The Alpine Convention and New Modes of Governance