Workshop on mountain transboundary cooperation


Mountain transboundary cooperation was the topic of a one-day expert workshop organized by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, on 9 November 2018.

The seminar was attended by approximately 120 participants from EU Institutions, interregional programmes, international organizations and representatives of governments and of civil society.

The objective of the workshop was to discuss policies, projects and governance that contribute to the development of mountainous areas in the European Union (EU).

Wallis Goelen Vandebrock, Head of Unit DG REGIO (Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development), presented an analysis of the implementation of the 2014-2020 programmes and how mountainous specificities have been dealt by concerned Member states and regions. Regarding the next programming period, she noted that the cohesion policy will continue supporting mountains and other areas with geographic specificities post 2020 in a more simplified and flexible way.

“The new cross-cutting policy objective, EU Closer to Citizens will give Member states the maximum flexibility to design integrated development strategies in a participatory and bottom up manner tailor made for targeted territories, including mountains, “said Vandebrock

The presentation of the future EU common agricultural policy post 2020 highlighted the goals of simplifying and modernizing the policy, encouraging innovation,  enhancing ambitions in relation to the environment and climate, taking up citizens’ concerns about quality and production methods and mobilizing rural capacities for jobs and growth, among others.

Presentations on the environmental and climate change policies of the EU stressed the pressure on mountain biodiversity and the impacts of climate change on high mountain environments. Other presenters reported on EU digital policy and experiences of mountain related EU programmes and projects, particularly in the Alps, Carpathians and Pyrenees.

In the last session, presentations and discussions focused on the types of governance in mountainous regions and how governance models affect the success of cooperation. This topic was analyzed through presentations on EU macro-regional strategies, legally binding instruments (the Alpine Convention and the Carpathian Convention), a transboundary cooperation programme (Spain-France-Andorra-POCTEFA), the Mountain Partnership, Japanese mountain policy and civil society organizations activities (European Union of Mountaineering Association and  Mountain Wilderness International).

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Photo by UNIMONT

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