2013, 2014… soon 2015, the years go by – it is now almost 20 years since the beginning of international cooperation between Alpine protected areas.
In 1995 we saw that managers were very highly motivated to discover new things, to exchange, to question themselves about their own principles of management and to develop common projects.
This motivation still exists… but there is a fundamental change: the Alpine protected areas are “growing up”. In fact, the first one, the Swiss National Park, is already very grown up, having celebrated its 100th birthday this year.
Often, as they get older, the protected areas find themselves confronted with a certain transformation and evolution in their assignments. New challenges, such as more cross-sectoral, international and interdisciplinary approaches, have been added to the traditional ones.
The years 2013 and 2014 have been very difficult for most Alpine reserves and parks because of the cuts in budget following the 2008 recession. We are quite keenly aware that many managers are no longer ready to invest themselves in work at an international level in view of the lack of funds.
Nevertheless, it is precisely this type of investment which is more important than ever. It is becoming more and more difficult to meet new needs, except through cooperation, by sharing knowledge, skills and means, all of which needs to be supported by the experience of fellow-workers and collective “lobbying”, in order to defend our original assignment, the protection of biodiversity, as well as, for some parks, the sustainable development of their region, and in this way meet new challenges.
In this spirit we wish all the managers of the Alpine protected areas of the Alpine Arc a restful Christmas season and a dynamic New Year 2015, the 20th year of our cooperation, full of energy to go forward together in the Alps.