German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Convention on the Protection of the Alps (Alpine Convention)

Logo Alpine Convention

Convention on the Protection of the Alps (Alpine Convention)

Brief description

The Alpine Convention is a treaty under international law for the protection and sustainable development of the Alpine region.

Contracting parties

Eight Alpine states (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland) and the EU.

In force since

1991 (Germany ratified the convention in 1994)


Conference of the Contracting Parties

The Conference of the Contracting Parties, also known as the Alpine Conference, is the decision-making body of the convention and meets biennially. The responsible ministers of the Contracting Parties come together to discuss future priorities and measures for the implementation of the convention.

The Permanent Committee of the Alpine Conference

The Permanent Committee is the executive body of the Alpine Conference, which usually meets twice a year. The Committee consists of delegates from the Contracting Parties. Representatives of various governmental organisations as well as research and non-governmental organisations also take part in the meetings.

The Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention

The Permanent Secretariat is the operational body of the Alpine Convention and is mainly responsible for the following tasks: administrative and technical support of the Contracting Parties for the implementation of the convention, coordination of research projects in the Alpine region, supervision of the Observation and Information System for the Alps (SOIA), public relations work on the convention, public relations work on the Convention, etc..

Thematic Working Bodies

The ministers decide on the establishment of thematic working bodies. They are composed of experts in the respective thematic area. Current thematic working groups deal with topics such as biodiversity, climate change, soil protection, mountain agriculture and forestry, transport,  etc..


The objective of the convention is to protect the natural environment and to promote sustainable development in the Alps. Special importance is given to safeguarding the economic and cultural interests of the local population. Within the framework of cross-border cooperation, measures are carried out in the following areas: Nature conservation and landscape management, population and culture, spatial planning, air pollution control, soil protection, water balance, mountain agriculture, mountain forest, tourism and leisure, transport, energy and waste management.


The Alpine Convention is a framework agreement. Implementation protocols are negotiated by the Contracting Parties for individual thematic areas. These specify the obligations of the Contracting Parties and the necessary implementation measures. At present, the following implementing protocols exist, which, however, have not yet been ratified by all Contracting Parties: Nature Conservation and Landscape Management, Mountain Agriculture, Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, Mountain Forest, Tourism, Energy, Soil Conservation, Transport, Dispute Settlement. In addition, ministerial declarations can be adopted. For example, the following declarations have been adopted in recent years: Declaration on the Protection of Mountain Biodiversity and its Promotion at International Level (2020), Declaration of Innsbruck: Climate-neutral and Climate-resilient Alps 2050 (2019), Declaration of the XIV Alpine Conference on strengthening of sustainable economy in the Alps (2016) or Declaration on Population and Culture (2006). The Alpine Convention has developed a multi-annual programme in order to focus its actions towards a stronger strategic orientation. Priority fields of action of the 2017-2022 programme are: people and culture, climate change, conservation and valorisation of biodiversity and landscape, green economy and promotion of sustainable transport.

Activities/role of BfN

In Germany, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is responsible for the Alpine Convention. BfN supports BMU in all substantive issues related to biodiversity and nature conservation. From 2007-2009 and from 2014-2016, BfN chaired the working body "Platform Ecological Network of the Alpine Convention". Currently, BfN represents BMU in the Alpine Biodiversity Advisory Council.

Last Change: 12/03/2021