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Scientific Workshop on Mountain Mobility and Transport (SWOMM)
11 December 2013
Vienna International Center, Vienna

In the framework of the International Day of Mountains launched by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the ninth edition of the SWOMM (Scientific Workshop on Mountain Mobility) was held in Vienna. The meeting focused on mobility and sustainable tourism, with particular attention to accessibility of mountain areas in the Alps and the Carpathians, on the basis of the project ACCESS2MOUNTAIN. The workshop was attended by more than fifty experts and representatives coming from ten Alpine and Carpathian countries.

Harald Egerer (UNEP Vienna - ISCC) and Paolo Angelini (President of the Permanent Committee of the Alpine Convention) opened the workshop, underlining the importance of the meeting and the sharing of experiences between the Alpine and Carpathian Conventions.

Romain Molitor (komobile w7) introduced the first session dedicated to a comprehensive approach to the issue of sustainable mobility and tourism in sensitive areas of the Alps and the Carpathians. Günther Lichtblau (Environment Agency Austria), Lead Partner of the ACCESS2MOUNTAIN project, focused on the status quo of the project activities, in view of the Final Conference to take place on 1-3 April 2014. Harald Egerer and Thierry Louis (French Ministry of Ecology, Chair of WG Transport of the Alpine Convention) explained the institutional experience gained in the Working Groups Transport of the Alpine and Carpathian Conventions and the results achieved by their institution until now.

David Osebik
(National Park Gesäuse), opened the second session of the workshop, dedicated to important initiatives, whose purpose is to encourage the development of forms of "car free" tourism in the Alps. First, the platform GSEISPUR, an innovative tool aimed at facilitating the journey of tourists headed to the National Park Gesäuse, followed by Harry Seybert (Bavarian Ministry of Transport), Lead Partner of the "AlpInfoNet" project, which focuses on cross-border mobility through experimentation of a specific network that will be tested in a few selected pilot areas. Massimo Sargolini showed the innovative model of traffic flows developed by the University of Camerino, which will be tested in nine pilot areas of the project ACCESS2MOUNTAIN, including Maramureş (RO), South Tyrol (IT), Košice (SK) and Timok (RS). Finally, Carmen de Jong (University of Savoie) continued these reflections emphasizing, among other points, the relation between tourism development and land use in the highlands and the specificities of locations (e.g. those gastronomic) for the purpose of promoting tourism.

The afternoon session was opened by the Under Secretary of State for the Environment and current President of the Alpine Conference, Marco Flavio Cirillo, who recalled how the Alps, in their entirety, constitute one of the earliest tourist destinations in the world and one of the largest recreational areas of Central Europe. The following presentations given by project partners of ACCESS2MOUNTAIN, highlighted interesting good-practices and experiences developed in the context of the project.

Michael Gansch (Mostviertel Tourismus Ltd.) showed the example of the Mariazellerbahn narrow-gauge railway, followed by Henrieta Kiralvargova (Regional Development Agency Košice), who informed on the experience gained on sustainable accessibility to mountain areas in Eastern Slovakia. Rada Pavel (Maramureş Info Tourism) introduced the Travel Green initiative in Maramureş, followed by Miriam L. Weiß (EURAC research), who deepened the issue of multimodal transport solutions with a focus on South Tyrol. Last, Matthias Jurek (UNEP Vienna - ISCC) explained the policy development process, which will lead to the adoption of the Carpathian Convention Transport Protocol by the Contracting Parties of the Convention.

At the end, a roundtable was held with Thierry Louis, Massimo Santori (representative of the Italian Ministry of the Environment), Günther Lichtblau, Massimo Sargolini, Pier Carlo Sandei (UNEP Vienna - ISCC), Miklós Puky (MTA Center for Ecological Research), moderated by Christian Baumgartner (Naturefriends International). The experts further deepened the subjects analyzed during the workshop, particularly underlining the importance of the Transport Protocol and its application within the territory of the Carpathian mountains. They also highlighted how the Alps and the Carpathians, despite different general situations (especially from an economic and environmental point of view), share common issues to deal with. The introduction of other forms of cooperation and synergy between the two Conventions is certainly desirable to strengthen the development of further initiatives in this direction, in the wake of what has been achieved by the project ACCESS2MOUNTAIN.

The event was co-organized by the Italian Presidency of the Alpine Convention and the University of Camerino, with the support of the Austrian Environmental Agency, EURAC Research and the Interim Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention (UNEP Vienna - ISCC).

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