Results of the 2nd EUSALP Annual Forum in Innsbruck

The 2nd EUSALP Annual Forum, which took place in Innsbruck on 20 and 21 November 2018 under the Tyrolean EUSALP presidency, offered a series of interesting and exciting workshops on a wide range of topics. The workshops, organized by the EUSALP Action Groups, the European Commission and the University of Innsbruck, aimed at discussing concrete contents of EUSALP, exchanging problems and challenges, identifying best practices and developing joint solutions in the framework of EUSALP. In line with the overarching motto of the Annual Forum, “shaping.future.together. with the next generation”, many workshops included young people and addressed the maintenance and further development of the Alpine space as an attractive living and working space for the next generation.

The results of the workshops will feed into further discussions and actions of EUSALP. Below you can find the agenda and the results of the ten workshops.

WORKSHOP 1: MODEL EUSALP 2018 „YOUNG IDEAS MATTER – BEYOND BORDERS, ACROSS COUNTRIES, WITHIN THE ALPS“

The simulation Model EUSALP 2018 invited students to act and negotiate as delegates representing the seven member states of the EUSALP. The students were selected by the University of Innsbruck within the framework of an alpine-wide call. The goal was to simulate a EUSALP’s Action Group meeting on the basis of EUSALP’s rules of procedure. The overall topic of the simulation model EUSALP 2018 was “reconciling mobility and environment”.

Rapporteurs: Larissa Willamowski & Johannes Marco Oberhofer, students at University of Innsbruck, EUSALP-Model organization team

Workshop results

WORKSHOP 2: NATURAL HAZARD RISK MANAGEMENT IN A CHANGING CLIMATE – THE NEXT GENERATION

The Alps are one of the most beautiful and precious environments of the world. With the demand for living space and infrastructure and the climatic changes, the need for protection against natural hazards has increased. The challenge is to provide sustainable protection for today’s younger generation taking into account ever increasing maintenance costs due to more investment and the fact that budgets are limited.

This workshop was a moderated experimental game and aimed at discussing potential solutions to present and future challenges of natural hazard risk management with decision makers, scientists and youth to ensure sustainable development for the generations to come.

Workshop results

WORKSHOP 3: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE ALPINE REGION

The Work Plan of EUSALP Action Group 4 foresees harmonizing the different existing but in many cases not interoperable information, tariff and ticketing systems across regional and national borders. The objective is to connect the different existing platforms to create an integrated travel information system in the EUSALP territory, facilitating interoperability of the different information systems in order to provide better connectivity to travelers (inhabitants and tourists). The overarching aim is to promote sustainable modes of transport, facilitating door-to-door mobility and making public transport and soft modes more attractive versus the individual motorised transport.

Young people have different access to passenger information systems, in particular with regard to the use of means of transport and the way information is acquired. In this context, the workshop “A journey through the Alpine Region” aimed at simulating a journey through the Alpine Region. During the game students could experience the problems of getting cross-border schedule information and buying cross border tickets in the Alpine Region. Their results and problems can be used for the further development of this activity in the Work Plan of Action Group 4.

Workshop results 

Presentations

WORKSHOP 4: PLURALISM IN THE ALPS: LEARN FROM INSPIRING PRACTICES!

The Alpine area is experiencing the combined challenges of an ageing population and new migration models. At the same time, increasing cultural diversity and pluralism are opportunities for social innovation and development. The project PlurAlps, which is funded by the INTERREG Alpine Space Programme, focuses on migration and a better understanding of pluralism as a chance for the Alpine area. As part of PlurAlps, Alpine Pluralism Award 2018 makes innovative integration projects visible. In this workshop the participants could learn more about the practical experiences of the four winning projects:

• The 6th continent – House of Solidarity (Bressanone, IT)

• Revealed hands – Connecting women of diverse backgrounds (Jesenice, SI)

• Germinale Agricoltura Comunitaria – Combining community work, agriculture and integration (Valle Stura, IT)

• Talents for Austria – the role of education (Styria and Lower Austria, AT)

In this context, the participants exchanged success factors and obstacles and provided space for new project ideas. Furthermore they were invited to discuss a policy paper on pluralism and the integration of migrants in the Alpine region, which is currently being elaborated by the PlurAlps partners.

Workshop results

WORKSHOP 5: ALPS2050: COMMON SPATIAL PERSPECTIVES FOR THE ALPINE AREA – TOWARDS A COMMON VISION

The Ministers responsible for Spatial Planning of the Alpine Convention States have agreed in 2016 to initiate a project on spatial development visions and perspectives for the Alpine Region with a time horizon towards 2050. This project has been implemented as a targeted analysis in the framework of the EU Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) and involved an international research team from all Alpine Region countries, led by the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg.

The project results will serve as an important input and be taken up by several territorial development initiatives, such as EUSALP, Alpine Convention and the INTERREG ALPINE SPACE Programme 2020+. It was the aim of the workshop to present the results of this project and discuss its findings and implications with a broader public.

Workshop results 

WORKSHOP 6: COOPERATION ALPS 2020+ SHAPING THE CHALLENGE OF FUNDING TOGETHER: HOW TO FINANCE EUSALP PROJECTS AFTER 2020?

Objective of the workshop

Most of the actions arising from the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) require funding! However, access to available funds is not always easy. This is challenging as it limits the effectiveness of EUSALP and deprives the funding instruments from valuable projects with big impact.

EUSALP is the overarching strategic frame for the Alpine Region. Taking into consideration that EUSALP has been supported by the highest political level and that funds are generally available, practical and relatively simple solutions should be developed to facilitate accessing these funds. Therefore, the objective of the workshop was to discuss available funding sources and mechanisms for EUSALP projects by facilitating the alignment of both at the same time.

These funds can be provided by the EU, Member States, Regional and local authorities as well as by private banks or investors. However, as 2019 will be the time to prepare the 2021-2027 programming period under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the workshop mainly focused on ERDF and Interreg. As one illustrative example, it addressed the challenge on how to finance projects in the field of environment and provide an outlook on other possible funding tools.

The conference “Cooperation Alps 2020+” which took place in Salzburg on 1 and 2 October has been an important step to prepare the Alpine Region for the post2020 period. Conclusions of this conference served as a starting point of this workshop’s discussions. Regarding the ERDF, awareness of the need to align the funds to macro-regional strategies has grown in recent years and the Commission has made very concrete proposals: macro-regional strategies are recognised as being a key instrument for territorial development. ERDF programmes will therefore have to describe ways how funds will be used to support cooperation projects. The Alpine Space programme will be 100% aligned to the priorities of EUSALP.

This workshop was an attempt to provide practical answers on how to translate embedding into practice. It dealt with the question on how to link up EUSALP with the available funding sources and covered aspects such as coordination of the planning and implementation, capacity building, type of projects that could contribute to a macro-regional strategy, as well as selection criteria.

Workshop results

WORKSHOP 7: PROMOTING OPEN INNOVATION IN THE EUSALP MACRO-REGION: EXPERIENCES FROM THE ALPINE REGIONS

Open Innovation model is used to encompass the complexity of factors that influence innovation at regional, national and international level.

Several factors influence open innovation dynamics: companies, government and governance, education and research system, research intermediaries and wider framework conditions (e.g. financing, legal, regulations, standards, internal demand and cultural framework).

Every element of the system needs to work at least at an acceptable quality and efficiency, and the interlinkages between them need to function well. Business enterprises are principal actors in the system, and the articulation of effective demand is central to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation. The capacity of the macro-region to deliver in knowledge intensive activities will depend on the flow of knowledge and ideas, and from a supportive framework enabling the key players to act in global value chains where high value activities emerge.

In the framework of this workshop, the EUSALP Action Group 1 intended to discuss on Open Innovation and on how to implement the model at macro-regional level. The focus was on creating the conditions for mutual learning and for the development of Smart Specialisation Strategies at transnational level. Open Innovation platforms and other experiences can be useful tools within the entire research and innovation ecosystem.

As the Forum was oriented towards young people living in the Alpine region, the topic of open innovation was certainly attractive to this audience. Hence, the purpose of the workshop was to stimulate the debate on how to promote Open Innovation in the Alpine region.

Regions shared experiences and presented existing tools to build on for the creation of an Open Innovation Platform for the Alpine macro-region. The platform will support regions promoting interregional cooperation based on Smart specialisation and cross-sectorial fertilisation. Starting from a discussion on European experiences in the field of Open Innovation the workshop explored on one hand the issue of interoperability between different platforms and related tools, and on how to make available existing platforms to those regions not having developed yet their own implementation tool for Open Innovation. It also provided an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between the existing platforms and the Platform of knowledge (POK) developed in the framework of ALPGOV project.

Workshop results 

WORKSHOP 8: CROSS-BORDER MOBILITY IN THE ALPINE REGION

Cross-border mobility is one of the strategic initiatives of the Actions Groups (AGs) 4 and 5 of EUSALP. Both AGs have teamed together and applied for an Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF) project. The project is led by the Swiss Centre for mountain regions SAB (Co-Leader of AG 5 “Connectivity”) in partnership with the region of the Tyrol (Leader of AG 4 “Mobility”) and CIPRA International. The project was approved in November 2017 and runs in the years 2018 and 2019.

Aims of the Workshop

The participants discussed the main challenges towards the creation of a cross-border passenger/commuter mobility system making public transport and sustainable modes more attractive and easy to use. The workshop also focused on ICT enabling factors in term of infrastructures and digital services. Further the workshop aims were:

• to present the first results of the ARPAF project;

• to discuss solutions for facilitating daily cross-border passenger flows with the audience;

• to connect with past and ongoing Interreg projects in the field of cross-border mobility;

• to raise political and public awareness for the search for solutions to cross-border mobility in the Alpine region;

• to stress the relevance of the work of EUSALP for the Alpine population and economy;

• to underline the potentials of cooperation amongst EUSALP Action Groups and the benefits of the ARPAF funds;

• to involve the youth as one of the key target groups in improving accessibility and connectivity in the Alpine Region.

Workshop results 

Presentations 

WORKSHOP 9: INCREASE, PRESERVE AND RE-CONNECT... BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT 15 YEARS? VISIONS FOR THE EUSALP REGION REGARDING THE ECONOMY, EDUCATION, NATURE AND CULTURE

Futures are indefinite, unpredictable and multiple; but, if we imagine the desirable ones together, if we visualize the steps necessary to bring them closer, we have more chance to direct the development of the present towards them. The participants were involved in a visionary and strategic debate on common concerns in the fields of the economy, education, nature and culture, on possible futures, on the desirable ones, focusing the more promising steps in between. The futures-oriented approach is inspired by the conceptual framework of "Three Horizons", developed by the International Futures Forum. Participants were provided with material to immediately get to a productive interaction. The results of the workshop will fertilize the work of the EUSALP Action Groups 2, 3 and 6 as well as the Alpine Space project YOUrALPS.

Workshop results

WORKSHOP 10: ALPINE FORESTS SEEN FROM A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE

Forests are the green lungs of our planet. At the same time, our native forests are a habitat of numerous creatures, an environment of rich biodiversity, a place of recreation for humans and a storage for large amounts of CO2 in soils and biomass. Especially in steep alpine terrain, forests have an important protective function against mudflows and avalanches. Local timber is an important natural resource for construction materials for buildings, energy supply and woodcrafts, supporting the economic sector with a rich tradition and promising future while contributing to CO2 reduction through substitution, short transport routes, and product storage. Without any doubt, the Alpine Forest is a multi-talent that provides a very broad quantity of services. Due to its manifold importance for nature and man, the forest is at the core of several scientific disciplines and policy areas.

Based on the work programs of the EUSALP Action Groups 2, 6, 7 and 9, all related to the topic of forest and wood in the Alpine region, the workshop discussed multi-functionality of the Alpine forests and timber. Advisory experts from various disciplines provided further input on current developments in the forest and wood sector. The aim of the workshop was to strengthen synergies between the work programs of the Action Groups and to identify interrelations and potential conflicts of interest at an early stage so to be able to deal with them productively.

Workshop results

Presentations