How can mountains contribute to European goals for 2020?
Mountains occupy 41.3% of European territory (EU-27, Norway, Switzerland, Balkans and Turkey) and are home to 25.4% of Europe’s people (ESPON and University of Geneva, 2012). If we consider only EU-27, mountains represent 28.7% of landmass and 16.9% of population.
Europe’s ecological backbone for the European Environmental Agency, huge reservoir of natural resources, boarder areas in many cases, places for recreation and inspiration, mountains are also places of residence, of production, of life, which provide to the continent food, energy, employment and quality places to live as well as numerous other ecosystem services.
These territories have a strong innovation and growth potential in areas targeted by the European Union in its strategy on the horizon 2020, be it smart growth (bioeconomy…), green growth (energy, sustainable agriculture and forestry…) or inclusive growth (strong communities, welcoming territories…). Exploiting fully this potential requires active, ambitious and targeted policies, which help to overcome constraints related to difficult geography and changing climate which result in every action being more expensive to implement.
Success is possible! Some areas have greatly demonstrated it already. We want to disseminate their examples to inspire those who are designing today programmes for tomorrow. Other areas, unfortunately more numerous, are confronted to increasing difficulties, aggravated by inadequate policies which ignore the development potential of these areas and refuse to invest there.
We hope, through this initiative, to help decision makers and mountain people themselves to find promising solutions for the future.
“Toward Mountains 2020”: a multi-step process
The framework proposed for European policies for the period 2014-2020 is a new framework, that we must understand and appropriate. More integrated, based on a ‘common strategic framework’ assembling the five funds which mainly contribute to territorial development, articulated around 11 investment priorities, it is clearly oriented towards the results Europe wishes to achieve collectively.
How can mountains contribute to this project? What do they need in order to do so? Which actions have been undertaken in some areas which have proved sucessful?
These are the questions Euromontana will try to answer through the “Toward Mountains 2020” process, hoping to contribute to smart programming of European policies towards 2020 aiming to achieve sustainable mountain development. We conceive this initiative as a continuous, multi-step process.
Step 1: Capitalising on the work of Euromontana and its members
The first step consisted in capitalising on the thematic work undertaken in the period 2007-2013, to extract lessons learnt and organising them according to the 11 priorities of the common strategic framework. We have prepared 11 fiches, one per priority, compiling results of of our work and useful links.
Prior to these fiches, we have introduced a chapter aiming at informing mountain people about the logic of the new framework, building mainly on the initial Commission’s proposals, waiting for a definitive framework approved by the Parliament and Council. This work led to the first version of a document that we wish will be considered useful.
Download the 11 priority fiches:
- Priority 1: Strengthen research, technological development and innovation
- Priority 2: Enhancing access to, and use and quality of information and communication technologies
- Priority 3: Enhancing competitiveness of SME, the agricultural and fisheries sector
- Priority 4: Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors
- Priority 5: Promoting adaptation to climate change and risk prevention and management
- Priority 6: Protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency
- Priority 7: Promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures
- Priority 8: Promoting employment and supporting labour mobility
- Priority 9: Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty
- Priority 10: Investing in education, skills and life-long learning
- Priority 11: Enhancing institutional capacity and ensuring an efficient public administration
Dowload the overview of Euromontana work 2007-2013 used for the elaboration of these documents.
Step 2: Enriching the mountain vision for 2020 and building alliances
We do not consider the first step as exhaustive, far from it! Hence, we wish to collect, in the coming weeks and months, experiences that mountain actors will want to communicate to us as well as their opinions on orientations proposed in the document.
We invite all interested organisations and authorities to communicate us their point of view. You wish to support this process? you can disseminate this document, transfer it to your national or regional authorities, create links on social networks, organise translation in your language. Keep us informed!
After the elaboration of this document, we:
- support our members in the elaboration of programmes (operational programmes, rural development programmes including thematic sub-programmes for mountain areas);
- envisage to undertake a serious work on the preparation of local development strategies which will be submitted in 2015.