14 2 5 3 14 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come Concerns about environmental pollution and the esca lating loss of species and natural areas mounted from the 1970s onwards and in 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development also known as the Brundtland Commission which had been convened by the United Nations General Assembly published the seminal report Our Common Future WCED 1987 This document de ned the meaning of the term Sus tainable Development and laid down the path towards the major global environmental conference held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 that became popularly known as the Earth Summit UN DESA 2016 The outcomes of this summit of cially the United Nations Conference on Environment and Develop ment UNCED laid the foundation for today s glo bal and European biodiversity conservation goals It brought together 172 governments and 108 heads of State who agreed on a framework for tackling a broad range of social and environmental concerns from de forestation managing fragile ecosystems conserving biological diversity protecting water resources deal ing with all kinds of wastes and protecting the earth s atmosphere and climate to combating poverty through sustainable development All this was written into a non binding policy statement called Agenda 21 U N GAOR 1992 which was adopted at UNCED along with the Biodiversity Convention the Rio Declaration the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Statement of Forest Principles Agenda 21 outlines principles and objectives relating to implementation of actions in support of sustainable development at a national level The Biodiversity Convention advocates an ecosystem based approach to the conservation of biological diversity It de nes biodiversity broadly as the variability among living organisms from all sources including inter alia terrestrial marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part this includes diversity within species between species and of ecosystems CBD 2015a In the year of the Earth Summit the European Union also issued Directive 92 43 on the conservation of nat ural habitats and of wild fauna and ora the Habitats Directive which supplemented the earlier Directive 79 409 on the conservation of wild birds Birds Direc tive EC 1992 EC 2010 This was to become a very valuable major binding instrument for the protection of entire ecosystems not just individual species It is particularly important as in contrast to the Biodiver sity Convention and other global Conventions there is an enforcement mechanism attached to it A consider able time after the land based conservation Directives the European Council passed the Water Framework Directive EC 2000 which is also highly relevant to ecological connectivity as it is concerned with achiev ing good ecological status in water bodies a require ment that cannot be achieved without preserving aquatic connectivity and that also contributes to both land based and aquatic ecological connectivity At an Alpine scale the multilateral framework treaty of the Alpine Convention signed in 1991 and rati ed by all Alpine States in addition to the European Union aims for sustainable development of the Alpine region to enhance quality of life for Alpine residents Alpine Convention 2011 Alpine Convention 2015 The Al pine Convention s eight protocols focus more speci cally on the various environmental economic and so cial aspects of this goal The Protocol on Conservation of Nature and the Countryside is of special relevance for the conservation and restoration of ecological con nectivity in the Alps Its stated goal is to protect care for and to the extent necessary restore nature and the countryside in such a way as to ensure the lasting and widespread functional ef ciency of the ecosystems the conservation of countryside elements and wild animal and plant species together with their habitat the regener ative ability and lasting productivity of natural resources and also the diversity speci city and beauty of the natu ral and rural landscape Alpine Convention 1991a Article 12 of this Protocol requires the establish ment of an ecological network in the Alps Other Protocols such as the Protocol on Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development also contain impor tant instructions concerning the maintenance of landscapes and species habitats Alpine Conven tion 1991b It should be noted that although the European Union rati ed the Alpine Convention it did not follow this up with any mountain speci c legislation nor is there much mountain speci c environment legislation in Alpine countries Krämer 2011 and not all Alpine countries have rati ed all of the Alpine Convention Protocols For example neither Switzerland nor the European Union rati ed the Protocol on Conservation of Nature and the Countryside

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