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Alpine Convention and its Protocols

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Alpine Convention and its Protocols


Framework Convention:

Article 2, General Obligations

Paragraph 2. In order to achieve the objective referred to in paragraph 1, the Contracting Parties shall take appropriate measures in particular in the following areas:

d. water management the objective is to preserve or reestablish healthy water systems, in particular by keeping lakes and rivers free of pollution, by applying natural hydraulic engineering techniques and by using water power, which serves the interests of both the indigenous population and the environment alike,


Protocol “Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development”

Article 3: Consideration of the criteria for environmental protection in the policies for spatial planning and sustainable development

c) the prudent use, compatible with the environment, of the natural resources – soil, air, water, plants and animals, energy,

Article 5: Taking account of the objectives in other policies 

The Contracting Parties undertake to also consider the objectives of this Protocol in their other policies, particularly in the area of regional development, urban planning, transport, tourism, farming and forestry, protection of the environment, and as regards supplies, especially of water and energy, also with the aim to reduce any negative or contradictory impacts.

Article 9: Contents of spatial and sustainable development plans and/or programmes

4. Protection of nature and the landscape 

a) delimiting of the areas for protecting nature and the landscape, and also for safeguarding the water courses and other vital natural resources,


Protocol “Mountain Farming”


RECOGNISING that, by virtue of its wealth of natural resources, water resources, agricultural potential, historical and cultural heritage, value for quality of life and for economic and leisure activities in Europe and the transport routes crossing it, …


Protocol “Nature protection and landscape conservation”

Article 4: Taking account of the objectives in other policies

The Contracting Parties undertake to also consider the objectives of this Protocol in their other policies, particularly in the area of: territorial and urban planning, safeguarding the air quality, defence of the soil, protecting the water balance and the quality of the water, tourism, agricultural and forestry economy, transport and energy policies, industry and manufacturing, management of waste; and also in the area of training, education, research and information, as well as in the area of cross-border coordination of the measures.


Protocol “Mountain forests”


  • aware that mountain forests are indispensable for the regional balance of the climate, for ensuring the quality of the air, and also for providing a water balance,

Article 8: Functions of a social and ecological character of mountain forests

Considering that mountain forests have to provide important functions of a social and ecological nature, the Contracting Parties undertake to adopt measures that ensure: 

  • their effectiveness for water resources, climate balance, cleaning the air, noise protection


Protocol “Tourism”

Article 3: Taking account of the objectives in other policies

The Contracting Parties undertake to take account of the objectives of this Protocol in their other policies as well, in particular in the fields of regional planning, transport, agriculture, forestry, protection of the environment and nature, and water and energy supplies, with a view to reducing any negative or contradictory effects.

Article 5: Managing tourism

Paragraph 2

b) the consequences for soil, water, the air, natural balances and the countryside, taking into account specific ecological data, natural resources and limitations to the ability of ecosystems to adapt;


Protocol “Energy”


CONSCIOUS that the Alpine region is of particular importance in Europe and that, in terms of geomorphology, its climate, water, vegetation, fauna, countryside and culture, this is a heritage as unique as it is diverse, and that the region’s high mountains, valleys and the Pre-Alps are environmental entities which all States, not just Alpine ones, have a duty to protect;

CONVINCED that, in the Alpine region, measures aimed at rational energy use and sustainable use of water and wood resources contribute towards meeting national energy needs and that it is increasingly important to make use of biomass and solar energy

Article 6: Renewable energy resources

Paragraph 2. 

They shall also encourage the use of decentralised plants for the use of renewable energy sources such as water, the sun and biomass.

Paragraph 4.

The Contracting Parties shall particularly encourage energy produced through the rational use of water and wood from sustainably managed mountain forests.

Article 7: Hydroelectric power

Paragraph 1. 

The Contracting Parties shall ensure that the ecological functions of watercourses and the integrity of the landscape are maintained through appropriate measures, such as establishing minimum flows, implementing standards for the reduction of artificial fluctuations in water level and shall guarantee animal migration in the case of new hydroelectric plants, and existing ones where possible

Paragraph 3.

They shall also undertake to protect water resources in areas reserved for drinking water, in protected areas and their buffer zones, other protected and quiet zones as well as areas of unspoilt nature and countryside


Protocol “Soil Conservation”

Article 1, Objectives

Paragraph 2. The Alpine soil shall be preserved in a sustainable manner to allow it to deliver its natural functions as

c) an integral part of the ecological balance, especially with regard to its water and nutrient cycles,

d) a conversion and compensating medium for the influences of substances, especially due to its filtering, buffering and storage qualities, for the protection of groundwater in particular,

Article 3, Consideration of the Objectives in Other Policies

…. In the Alpine region, this applies specifically to regional planning, settlement and transport, energy management, agriculture and forestry, raw material extraction, trade and industry, tourism, nature conservation and landscape upkeep, water and waste management, and clean air

Article 8, Economical Use and Prudent Extraction of Mineral Resources

Paragraph 2.

When extracting, processing and utilising mineral resources, impairments of other soil functions shall be reduced to a minimum. In those areas which are particularly important for the protection of soil functions and in areas specifically designated as drinking water resources, the extraction of mineral resources shall be foregone.

Article 11, Designation and Management of Alpine Areas Threatened by Erosion

Paragraph 3.

To protect human beings and material goods, measures to control water erosion as well as measures to reduce surface run-off shall preferably comprise hydraulic, engineering and silvicultural techniques with minimal environmental impact.

Article 15, Limiting Inputs of Harmful Substances

Paragraph 1.

The Contracting Parties shall do everything in their power to minimise, through preventive action, inputs of harmful substances into the soils through water, air, waste and other substances harmful to the environment. Preference shall be given to measures limiting emissions at their sources.

Article 21, Establishment of Permanent Monitoring Areas and Coordination of Environmental Monitoring

Paragraph 2.

The Contracting Parties agree to coordinate their national soil monitoring programmes with the environmental monitoring programmes for air, water, flora and fauna.

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