Governance Capacity


Key Issues

Social attractiveness of Alpine places mainly depends on job availability in the place or nearby (when commuting is possible), on the quality of the environment and on the quality of local infrastructures and services. But while attractiveness can explain most of migration trends, it does not explain the capacity of local people to develop good governance practises.

Local cultural identity is a major factor for governance capacity, since inhabitants, when sharing common values and visions, can more easily agree on projects and actions. However, for being an effective resource for collective action, local identity should not be the "property" of a minority (i.e. old local families), should be open to incomers and meaningful by itself, even when commodified for tourists.

Territorial cohesion can support social cohesion and governance capacity. Whatever settlement structures are, it is important for local societies to develop a comprehensive perception of the local territory, individual places being articulated in a coherent structure, meaningful for all inhabitants.

The more local societies are open to the outside world and the more local individuals are connected to social networks including non-local individuals, the better are social resources liable to be invested in local development and governance.

Gender equity and women’s participation are major factors in the building of fair and dynamic local societies (Source: Frank Schultze / ZEITENSPIEGEL)
Gender equity and women's participation are major factors in the building of fair and dynamic local societies. The creation of favourable conditions for the economic, political and socio-cultural inclusion of women (property and land ownership, employment, membership in local associations and councils) fosters the potential of the whole region since women comprise more or less half of the total population.

Regardless to the diverse political and administrative cultures within the Alpine regions, it seems to be important that the various modes of government match with the expectations and wishes of the individuals by permitting bottom-up processes and democratic participation. A major issue for local societies is to find their own way in matching these expectations with the institutional framework of their respective area (region, nation).

Infrastructures and services are subject to global trends that may enhance competition amongst places. Local communities have to cope with the challenges involved with the privatisation of public services and hence develop local initiatives and innovative ways for maintaining these services. This is also crucial for maintaining the number of inhabitants. ICT can be considered as an interesting tool for the improvement of local development, especially when they are associated with other public services or activities.

Whatever the dynamics of local economies are, the most important issue for governance capacity is the capacity of local enterprises to co-operate, to share common visions on the future of the place, to be willing to be involved in local projects and to enter a continuous learning process in order to improve individual competencies.

Awareness by local people on the specific assets and amenities but also on the constraints and limitations of their region facilitate co-operation, the implementation of projects and common actions. A realistic attitude on what their collective future could be purports a mobilising impact.
Further Readings & Links
Poschiavo, situated in a peripheral valley in the Canton Grisons/Switzerland has a modern competence centre – the Polo Posciavo. With video conferences, computer-, languague-, as well as vocational courses the valley is conntected with the rest of the world - and with ist own inhabitants (Source: CASSIANO LUMINATI, POLO POSCIAVO).

Polo Poschiavo, Puschlav, Grisons (Switzerland)

Prize winner of CIPRA’s Future in the Alps competition, 2005

Valposchiavo, Bregaglia, Val Müstair, Valle Maggia, Valtellina, Valchiavenna are all tributary valleys in southern Switzerland and in Lombardy which today are by no means as remote as they once were. With the Polo Poschiavo internet distance learning project, they have created a gateway to the world. Polo Poschiavo is a competence centre for cross-national vocational training featuring video conferences, language courses, vocational courses and computer courses.

Internet Crash Course After Maternity Leave

The fact that the project not only informs, educates and entertains its many users, but also provides opportunities for political information and co-determination is just one of the reasons it is so popular. Its users are often women who want to get back into professional life after their maternity leave, but also master craftsmen and women, retailers, farmers and senior citizens. Since 2002, the initiative has offered more than one hundred courses. The project is sponsored by the Canton of Grisons, the regions and municipalities, and the association of craftsmen and retailers. The annual budget is €200,000.
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"Future in the Alps Workshop"
Workshop on the opportunities of ICT (information and communication technology) in Alpine areas (in German and Italian).