14 20
A new year under the sign of transition
December 2020 - January 2021
Low Carbon

2021 will be the year of transition(s): the Interreg Alpine Space programme is heading towards the ending phase of the programming period 2014-2020 and launching the new period 2021-2027. While the priorities and procedures of the new programme are under development, one thing is for certain: the Interreg Alpine Space is committed more than ever to the transition to an innovative, climate-neutral Alpine region.


In this newsletter as well as in our other communication channels, we would like to bring to you more (good) news about how our co-financed projects take up the challenge of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. They contribute by protecting the biodiversity, finding sustainable solutions to local challenges of the area or joining forces across all Interreg transnational programmes. Read about the inspiring initiatives from 4 projects highlighted in this edition, and do not miss the occasion to learn more about our projects´ achievements, by checking the wealth of (online) events in our calendar. There is even a photo/video competition!


We warmly invite you to go through this transition year 2021 with us. We will soon inform you about a series of thematic sessions to take place in Spring 2021, where the themes of the new Interreg Alpine Space 2021-2027 will be discussed. Stay tuned!

4 Alpine Space projects showcased on Mountain Biodiversity Day

On 13 January 2021 was organised the Mountain Biodiversity Day 2021, an event hosted by the outgoing French Presidency of the Alpine Convention in cooperation with the French Presidency of EUSALP and coordinated by ALPARC, the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention as well as the United Nations Environment Programme.


The event was an opportunity to reflect on the current trends and challenges faced by mountain areas, recall the importance of protecting global mountain biodiversity as well as present best-practice examples and solutions from different regions.


On this occasion, several Interreg Alpine Space projects (AlpBioNet2030, AlpES, Links4Soils, GreenRisk4Alps) have been showcased in the different thematic sessions dedicated to the Alps. Their contribution to the current state of knowledge in diverse fields (ecological connectivity, maintenance and management of ecosystems services, natural risk mitigation) was notably brought to the attention of an audience composed of experts and various representatives of mountain regions coming from all over the world.

Interreg Alpine Space projects contributing to the European Green Deal

In September 2019, the European Commission responded to this and launched the European Green Deal, a set of measures that aims at making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.


Numerous projects funded by the Interreg Alpine Space programme already contribute to delivering the Green Deal locally in the Alpine Space. Projects such as LinkingAlps, SaMBa, Greencycle, AlpGrids, CIRCULAR 4.0 or BB-CLEAN are working on sustainable solutions for the Alpine mobility, industry and energy sectors.


Learn more about these achievements in the article we published on the interreg.eu blog!


This article was written by our Interreg (IVY) reporter Selina Schwarz, who was part of our team from September to December 2020.

#InterregTalks: leaders from the Alpine region in favour of Interreg

In 2020, Interreg celebrated its 30 years anniversary. For this special occasion, European leaders share with us their perception of Interreg, and told us why they believe cooperation beyond borders is more essential than ever in Europe.


This series of #InterregTalks was realised in cooperation with the Interreg transnational programmes, and coordinated by our colleagues from Interreg Central Europe.


We are proud to make three voices from the Alpine region heard in this series: Herbert Dorfmann - Member of the European Parliament, Brigitta Pallauf - President of Salzburg State Parliament and Raffaele Cattaneo - Minister for environment and climate of Lombardy.


Click on more to watch other interviews from all over Europe!



Developing the economic potential of bioeconomy


Agriculture is an important sector in the Alps, but too often by-products do not find adequate valorisation. AlpBioEco works to increase the sustainability of the apple, walnut and herbs value chains while identifying opportunities and paths for innovation.


From the initial 440 new product and service ideas, the 26 most promising ones have been made into eco-innovative business models, 7 of which have then been pilot tested. These pilot projects and the lessons learnt by testing them unlock new competitive advantages for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Alpine food value chain.



Better planning for a sustainable mobility in the Alps


Although e-cars are gaining momentum, using them to travel across the Alps isn’t easy yet. Charging stations are scarce, locating them isn’t easy and the payment options they provide sometimes strongly limit their accessibility. Planning effective e-mobility systems in the Alps requires a broad, transnational vision as well as local action plans to adapt the overall strategy to the local needs and objectives.


e-MOTICON has tested key tools to ease the adoption of harmonised e-mobility systems across the Alps: the e-hub online platform, the e-trail model for integrating e-charging stations into mobility systems and new user needs assessment methods.



Increasing the knowledge about soils to better protect them


The soil does us many, often unrecognized services: it purifies water, retains it in the case of floods, stores large amounts of carbon, allows plants to grow and influences our well-being in many ways. Its wide-ranging functions make soil governance difficult for public administrations, which often lack soil knowledge and applicable management tools.


To provide this much-needed soil expertise and information, Links4Soils has created the alpinesoils.eu website, which includes an Alpine soil map, cross-sectoral case-studies and a soil management consulting service, as well as a transnational community of soil experts.



Encouraging the adoption of a clean, renewable heating energy


In the Alps, CO2 emissions, mostly related to touristic and residential heating, are one of the most urgent issues to tackle. Yet, until a few years ago, using the energy stored in the ground to heat buildings wasn’t thought of as an option in the Alps.


The GRETA project has studied the opportunities, technical issues and economic viability of applying near surface geothermal energy to villages, public buildings with specific constraints and isolated Alpine huts. Thanks to GRETA, people can learn about the shallow geothermal energy potential of their area; administrators can take advantage of policy guidelines and all can best understand how long it may take for the initial investment to pay back. This knowledge allows for a new heating system to be developed.

News on the future: programming 2021-2027

The preparation of the Interreg Alpine Space 2021-2027 moves steadily forward. Beginning of February, the programme task force looked into ways to support EUSALP governance and implementation and reflected on different types of projects to support the green and innovative ambition of the programme.


In the upcoming months, the focus of work will be on rules and procedures and how to make the best use of simplification options. The aim is to finalise and submit the new Interreg programme (IP) to the European Commission in spring, when the publication of the final regulatory framework is expected.


In this last phase, the programme stakeholders communities will be continuously involved and consulted. Before the launch of a first call for project proposals (expected for the late autumn 2021), we will open the discussion on the topics of the Interreg Alpine Space 2021-2027, in a series of online thematic sessions in mid-April/May. As always, stay tuned for more information coming soon!

Upcoming project events and competition


Here are some opportunities to engage with our projects on various topics such as bio-economy, sustainable mobility or the protection of biodiversity:


Join the final conference of the project AlpBioEco (11 February) to learn how it fosters bioeconomy and eco-innovation in the Alpine Space. Take your expertise on bioeconomy to the next level in the Alpine Policy Forum (16 February) organised by the  projects AlpLinkBioEco and ARDIA-Net, in which you will have the chance to discuss regional initiatives for circular bio-based economy.


Sustainable mobility is also high on the agenda with the 2nd transnational living lab of the project e-SMART (16 February) dedicated to the challenges of e-mobility in local public transport and last-mile-logistics. Besides, the project SaMBA organises a photography and video competition for you to share your vision of sustainable mobility in the future (until 31 March).


Rather interested in biodiversity and climate change issue? Attend the digital conference of ALPTREES (25-26 February) and share your experience and views on non-native trees or climate change. Other upcoming events include the final symposium of the project trAILs (1-2 March) as well as the final conference of ATLAS (14-16 April). Stay tuned for more info about these events!

AlpBioEco final conference
Alpine Policy Forum
e-SMART 2nd Transnational Living Lab
Digital ALPTREES Conference
Final symposium LOST & FOUND of the project trAILS
EUSALP event: Ski resorts and climate change
ATLAS Final Conference
European Regional Development Fund