New alliance for European mountain regions
Global warming, excessive tourism and landscape degradation require the very highest degree of multifaceted solutions. Three umbrella organizations committed to mountaineering and sustainability in European mountain regions therefore decided, at the end of November 2021, to join forces: the Club Arc Alpin (CAA), the European Union of Mountaineering Associations (EUMA) and the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA).
The European mountain regions – and in particular the Alps – are places where millions of people live or long for, year after year. While these regions may differ greatly, the pressures they face are similar: the climate crisis and ever new forms of exploitation by humans threaten biodiversity and lead to overloading of tourist hotspots or even entire terrains and landscapes.
To meet these challenges, three of the most important umbrella organizations in the areas of mountain sports and sustainability decided at the end of November to intensify their cooperation in line with the Alpine Convention: these are the CAA as the umbrella organization of the Alpine clubs
of seven Alpine countries, the EUMA as the umbrella organization of 25 mountaineering organizations from all over Europe and CIPRA, the umbrella organization of more than 100 environmental and sustainability NGOs from the entire Alpine region.
Joint hike – joint perspectives
After working out the central concerns to be jointly pursued and obtaining approval from the boards of the three partner organizations, their leaders sealed the project with a joint autumn hike, to the Regitzer Spitz above the Rhine Valley, where the Alpine countries of Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland meet – with Germany also in sight.
Ingrid Hayek, Vice-President of the European Union of Mountaineering Associations: “Words are
important because only they will enable human understanding and solidarity. However, appreciating a problem and understanding its solution are not the same as the solution itself: applying it will require joint action in real terms. This means that words must be followed by action, immediately! Act now!”
Bianca Elzenbaumer, Co-President of CIPRA International: “By bringing together our different perspectives on the Alps, we want to work boldly and inventively for a careful, communal approach to this space for living and adventure.”
Heinz Frei, Vice-President of the Club Arc Alpin: “Together with the two other major partner organizations, we must call upon and convince our members and the inhabitants of the Alpine countries to take action. Only together can we make a difference.”
Strengthening cooperation in 2022
Following this symbolic joint tour by their leadership bodies, the first meetings will be held in 2022 to develop joint activities. Facing the major mountain challenges of the 21st century will not always be
easy, but the gathering also clearly identified what unites them and spurs them to take action: “If we don't take care of our beloved mountains now, together, with our creative innovative power and the combined energy of Alpine residents and tourists – then when?