Political Framework in the Alps


Support for Local Development Projects

ICT Infrastructures

"The impact of LEADER+ in Austria". (Source: BMLFUW 2005, Evaluierung der Halbzeitbewertung). Click on the image to enlarge it.
Public policies in favour of improved access to ICT in mountain areas (cellphone coverage, broadband connection) are most important for mountain areas because they compensate for poor physical accessibility, counteract the "digital divide" and make socio-economic development of remote areas possible.

Local Development Projects Basing on Landscape Resources

Several policy instruments are encouraging local development activities and providing financial and organisational assistance for projects based on natural and cultural resources. Various policy tools may be subsumed within this approach, such as the European programmes for regional/rural development (especially LEADER and INTERREG), the Swiss RegioPlus programme or procedures for the French Regional Natural Parks. These policies encourage local co-operation and cross-sector approaches. The decentralisation process in France brings about national authorities delegating management to local stakeholders, where economic activities are to take advantage of local resources.

The most visible impact of policies supporting local development projects are:
  • the mobilisation of the population,
  • the improvement of local co-operation structures and
  • the enhancement of regional identity,
wheras there are only small direct effects on regional economy and job opportunities (REGALP 2005).
Further Readings & Links

The final evaluation of the EU Interreg III programme in Switzerland.

Tourism Projects

However, as the Alpine countryside is the outstanding natural resource of the Alps, development options are often perceived above all for the tourism sector. Tourism development is generally done by local initiatives in co-operation with tourism associations, whereas national tourism policies appear to be weak, especially with regard to mountain tourism. The support for various local projects encouraging the development of tourism through European, national and regional funds is important (click here to access the tutorial Alps and Tourism).

Public Services in Rural Areas

The maintenance of an adequate supply with public services corresponding to the needs of the population and the regional economy is an important challenge in development polices, especially in mountain areas. There are some regional development strategies in favour of local initiatives and projects, such as “on demand” transport services or mobile public services (learn more about public services in the tutorial "Governance Capacity").

PUSEMOR Final report (2007)
Report on the Interreg III B project on the provision of public services in sparsely populated mountain areas.

Best Practice: Village Services, Carinthia, Austria

Local Volunteers for Social Services

Local voluntary groups help those who are in need in several villages in Carinthia (Source www.dorfservice.at)
Village Services, a local project presently implemented in four communities in the Carinthian district of Spittal/Drau intends to close gaps in social services on a local level. Missing services are provided for elderly people and caring family members, for single parents and families:
  • After a survey of local needs, local voluntary groups have been founded. The volunteers help elderly people with transport and shopping services and with visits to the sick. They receive a compensation e.g. for fuel costs and are supported through an exchange of experiences.
  • The Villages Services staff provides rapid and professional individual help, e.g. when caring family members are sick or overburdened.
  • Village Services informs about the existing offer of social services and co-ordinates different suppliers.
¨ The project is a local initiative which was prepared as a LEADER project; the first implementation steps took place within the Interreg IIIB project PUSEMOR, and the responsible reckons on financial contributions of the municipalities for the planned long-term implementation.
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