Governance Capacity



Key recommendations:

  • Local Alpine societies should improve the quality of recognition of its social diversity and give space to the expression of particular cultures, interests and expectations, especially to those which are frequently neglected (women, children, new inhabitants, foreigners, second home owners, etc.) in order to prevent social exclusion.
  • Local Alpine societies should work on the building of a common identity, which should display the identities of the majority of inhabitants’ and groups’ without excluding the interests of social, cultural, ethnic, religious or political minorities.
  • Local Alpine societies should work on the building of an integrated vision of their own territory, taking into account the specificity of every village and hamlet and the specificity of local economic activities for a better use of every opportunity in local planning, cultural events, etc.
  • Local Alpine societies should foster local economies within the scope of global trends they cannot escape from, and thus elaborate cross-sectored strategies and partnerships based on different levels and types of territory (from local level to international level - urban, rural, peri-urban).
  • Local Alpine societies should develop specific skills for the comprehension of the various political and administrative processes and tools in order to enhance their participation in the definition of these processes and to combine local interests and expectations with more global development frames and conditions.
  • Local Alpine societies, in towns like in the countryside, should promote an outward-looking attitude, being aware to maintain and to develop each type of external partnership they can built.
  • Local Alpine societies should develop initiatives for maintaining or even creating adapted, new and more appropriate infrastructures and services. Due to a relative decrease of public subsidies and to a privatisation context of public services, local communities have to co-operate and to join their needs and means.
  • Local Alpine societies should undertake every effort to assist women empowerment and to strengthen the position of women, respectively, in order to establish a more gendered community and to better utilise the potentials of the region.

Recommendations regarding public services

  • More cooperation and coordination: Community services need to be made as attractive as possible through cooperative schemes across sectors and/or municipal boundaries: eg. a social services centre with nursing home, residential units for assisted living, kindergarten and crèches, medical practice, cafés and multifunction halls all under one roof, which can be built and operated together by a number of municipalities.
  • More competition, which needs to be based mainly on volunteer community involvement and the development of new organisational arrangements. This includes: vibrant clubs and societies with interesting offers for youth; motivating the fit and healthy elderly to take on volunteer activities; maintaining and further developing cultural events and festivities as well as cultural attractions in the broadest sense. Also applicable here are innovative models for multifunctional local service provision, that incorporate numerous services (eg. grocery store, café, post office, etc.) and are founded and operated by new and innovative organisational concepts (eg. society of 'Friends of the Village Store' etc.).
  • The recommendation to apply both strategies at the same time may sound paradoxical at first, but it should have a positive effect. There are several crucial preconditions for success: the mobilisation of the creative potential of the region; a wise way of solving emerging conflicts; and a careful conception and moderation of the necessary communication processes, which have to take place outside of gridlocked patterns. Professional support may be needed for this.
  • In order to implement these recommendations, financial resources of the EU can be used jointly with national resources. The EU-structural funds for the development of rural regions is particularly suitable for this purpose. Within the framework of the local and regional Agenda 21, know-how and expertise has been accumulated, and the organisational preconditions that should now be utilised has been created.
Further Readings & Links

"Future in the Alps Workshop"
This link takes you to the resources of a workhop that dealt with planning, steering and networking within Alpine regions (in German).

Proceedings of the CIPRA-Conference on Public Services in the Alps

FAVRY et al. (2006)
Post offices, shops and schools are being closed – are the provision of public services in small rural villages endangered?

EGGER & FAVRY (2007)
Provision of public services in Alpine areas: State of the art, recommendations and good practice examples.

Old people, families or single parents in the Austrian Drau valley can call the "Dorfservice" in exceptional circumstanes and recieve much needed help (Source: Barbara Breyer / ZEITENSPIEGEL).

Village Service in the Spittal District (Carinthia, Austria)

The Society for Household, Family and Business Service was founded for the establishment of the Village Service. The development of a network took place from the top down, the structures at district and state level were prepared over a fifteen year period prior to the project being implemented at municipal level. Village Service grew out of an unemployed return to work pilot project. Village Service is a socially integrating program for needs-tailored and local provision of social services. The concept includes three areas of activity:
  • Practical support in exceptional circumstances The volunteer carers run the household for the short term, look after children for a few hours at a time, and activate family, social and volunteer networks.
  • Information hub for social welfare and health The volunteer carers inform people about available services, coordinate and network with these services, and continually assess needs and pass this information on to those responsible at district level.
  • Volunteer social work Volunteer community groups are formed and professionally assisted. All of these activities together help to secure quality of life in rural areas.

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