14 2 5 3 79 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 2 6 Linking policy science and implementation The Platform Ecological Network of the Alpine Convention Bettina HEDDEN DUNKHORST Federal Agency for Nature Conservation Division of International Nature Conservation Bonn Germany Marie Odile GUTH Ministry of Environment Energy and the Sea Paris France 2 6 1 Background and objectives The Alpine Convention an international treaty be tween eight Alpine countries Austria France Germany Italy Liechtenstein Monaco Slovenia and Switzerland and the European Union became effective in 1995 The convention provides a framework for cooperation aiming to promote sustainable development by balanc ing environmental protection economic growth and social welfare in the Alpine space Details for the imple mentation of the convention are speci ed in nine pro tocols that primarily relate to environmental protec tion and nature conservation planning and manage ment economic activities farming forestry tourism as well as energy and transport The Protocol of Nature and Landscape Protection aims to foster measures to protect and where necessary restore nature and the landscape and to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions in the Alpine region Article 12 of the proto col relates to establishing an ecological network and calls upon contracting Parties to pursue the measures appropriate for creating a national and cross border network of protected areas biotopes and other envi ronmental assets protected or acknowledged as worthy of protection This protocol especially Article 12 laid the foundation for the establishment of the Platform Ecological Network that was decided upon at the 9th Alpine Conference in Alpbach Austria in November 2006 Since then the Platform has been chaired by Germany and France two member states that continu ously supported activities concerning biodiversity con servation and ecological connectivity in the context of the Alpine Convention The Platform brings together subject matter experts from all member states of the Alpine Convention re search organisations and NGOs to serve as a core group It aims to foster exchange cooperation and implemen tation related to ecological connectivity in member states across borders and in the Alps as a whole More speci cally the Platform seeks to gather discuss and expose best practice and to support project activities for the implementation of an ecological network It further encourages and supports connectivity related research and provides a forum to discuss methodologi cal approaches Beyond this the Platform provides information on the importance and potential of con nectivity measures to stakeholder and the public and contributes to capacity building and awareness raising The Platform operates on the basis of a mandate that upon further demand is renewed every two years after approval by the Alpine Conference of the Parties The biennial mandate allows for stock taking of progress achieved priority setting and adjusting the focus ac cording to new developments 2 6 2 Selected activities and achievements Since its inauguration in 2007 the Platform Ecological Network has supported and partly initiated a number of key activities One of them is the preparation of a Catalogue of possible measures to improve ecologi cal connectivity in the Alps Kohler et al 2011 The catalogue describes and brie y analyses more than 70 measures related to different sectors agriculture forestry tourism education spatial planning and more and comprehensively illustrates the potential to imple ment connectivity in practice In addition the Platform supported the compilation of several subject matter publications and informational material for various stakeholders An important impetus for advancing the concept of connectivity is given by related projects and initiatives Since the beginning of the last decade a number of projects have been carried out by different environ mental organisations some of them being repre sented in the Platform The project ECONNECT Re storing the Web of Life 2009 2011 carried out by 16 partner organisations across the Alps and primarily funded by the European Union EU was one of the largest projects It was followed by other EU supported

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