The Alpine Convention is an agreement under international law on the comprehensive protection and sustainable development of the Alps. It was created on the initiative and after a long preliminary work of CIPRA. The General Framework Agreement, which has in the meantime been ratified by all the Contracting Parties, is applied by the so-called implementing protocols. The implementing protocols are planned for twelve sectors, eight sectors are already the subject of protocols: the Alpine Convention is an agreement between different countries for the protection and sustainable development of the Alpine region. It was signed on 7 November 1991 in Salzburg (Austria) by Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the EU. Slovenia signed the Convention on 29 March 1993. Monaco became a Contracting Party on the basis of a separate Additional Protocol. The Convention entered into force on 6 March 1995. While Switzerland is largely mountainous, the delays in ratification are mainly due to the lack of support for the mountain cantons, not least because they have seen in the Constitution that the Convention is more focused on environmental protection than on economic development.
After a few years of deadlock, an agreement was reached between the Confederation and the mountain cantons in 1996, when the Confederation approved financial measures in favour of the cantons. Subsequently, political links with other controversial issues in Parliament led to further delays before Switzerland ratified at the end of 1998 and took over the presidency at the beginning of 1999. The Alpine Convention advocates a comprehensive approach to the policy of conservation and protection of the Alps, implemented by the Contracting Parties through protocols on spatial planning and sustainable development, nature and landscape protection, mountain agriculture, mountain forests, tourism, soil protection, energy, transport and dispute settlement. The protocols are autonomous transposition agreements into international law and must be ratified individually. The presidency of the Alpine Conference rotates every six months. Germany held the Presidency of the Council during the period 2015-2016. Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks handed over the Austrian Presidency at the 14th Alpine Conference in Grassau on 13 October. Since 2003, the Alpine Convention has had a “permanent secretariat” based in Innsbruck. . .