Half day excursion
Brig lies at 700 metres, at the starting point of the Simplon Pass (2005 m.a.s.l.), which leads across the Alpine ridge to Domodossola (300 m.a.s.l.). It has for centuries been an important transit route linking the Valais with northern Italy. With the influence of the arch-capitalist and politician Kaspar Stockalper (1609 – 1691), the old mule track became an important European trade route. It was used to transport just about anything that could fit on a pack animal and promised profit and income. Today, more than 11’000 heavy lorries with dangerous goods a year roll over the Simplon Pass, despite the railway tunnel below, which was built in two stages about 100 years ago.
Our excursion takes us to this hotspot of Alpine traffic problems, combining the up-close experience of an imposing mountain and traffic landscape with expert input, from the history of the pass route full of smuggling adventures to today’s pressing traffic issues. The excursion also serves to publicise a petition by various NGOs in the Alpine region demanding that dangerous goods transports on all Alpine routes be shifted from road to rail – not only, but in particular also on the winding Simplon road.
Route: After a bus ride to the top of the Simplon Pass, we will hike back towards Brig, with stops along the way to learn about the exciting background of this impressive Alpine transit route in short input speeches and discussions.
Important: The hike leads along good hiking trails, but sturdy shoes and adequate equipment (weatherproof mountain jacket, warm clothing) are necessary.
Languages: DE and EN
Organiser: Alpine Initiative & CIPRA International (email@example.com)
11:36 Brig station: Public bus in direction of Domodossola, we leave bus on Simplon Pass (please buy your own ticket Brig – Simplon-Pass)
12:12 Arrival on Simplon Pass and lunch from backpack (please bring your own)
13:00 Hike with short input speeches and discussions from Simplon Pass to Brig on the ViaStockalper
17:30 Arrival in Brig
18:00 Apéro at Stockalper Palace on invitation of the municipality of Brig-Glis, followed by AlpWeek evening-program
Festive Networking Evening
Apéro on invitation of the Stadtgemeinde Brig-Glis
Celebration of 20 Years Via Alpina
Join us on a hike along the Via Alpina. We look forward to an evening full of anecdotes, pictures and stories of the transalpine hiking trail.
Organiser: CIPRA International
at Zeughaus, Saal 1
Get together: Networking with music, drinks, and talks
Alpine music in the bar
Food and drinks not covered but available
at Zeughaus, Bistro
Registration – Coffee
Greetings and Introduction
Keynote 1: Grassroots innovations in the French Alps. Which potential for regional socio-ecological transitions?
Language: translated into DE, FR, IT, SLO
Speaker: Kirsten Koop
Social initiatives envisioning sustainable transitions have been mushrooming in the French Alps during these last two decades. They are embedded in translocal networks which foster the transfer of know-how and mutual aid. This keynote will delve into levers and obstacles for broader regional transitions triggered by such grassroots innovations.
Keynote 2: Upper Vinschgau Citizens’ Cooperative
Speaker: Armin Bernhard
The motivation of the founders of the cooperative lay in their common endeavour to shape a sustainable future for the Upper Vinschgau region. The goal of the Obervinschgau citizens’ cooperative is an ecologically and economically sustainable development of the valley. Peripheral rural areas are at a disadvantage compared to the centres in today’s social development. For this reason, it is important to take a different direction. Not to continue developing efficiency, competition and consumption strategies, but to build on resilience, cooperation and diversity. The initiators are united by the common will to create a sustainable region and to solve local needs and difficulties. The cooperative builds on the people and resources of the region, strengthens local cycles and social cohesion.
Organiser: CIPRA International
Youth from all over the Alps will present 4 different projects and studies. A breath of fresh air that will open the alpine week debates
Language: Translated into DE, FR, IT, SLO
Organiser: CIPRA Youth Council (CYC) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Brig-Glis is a good example of how Alpine cities could use and valorise the abundant water in mountain areas. Water can be used to cool the increasingly hot urban areas, for urban design, as a tourist attraction and much more. In the alpine environment, it is usually available in abundance.
Various impulse presentations on water as an urban planning element; urban climate: the central role of water; water in Alpine towns: displaced, tolerated, integrated – practical examples and a short portrait Brig-Glis will lay the foundation for the subsequent workshops.
During a tour of the city of Brig-Glis in the second round of parallel workshops (Session 2/part 2), the topic will be explored in greater depth.
Organiser: Alpine Town of the Year
Language: FR, DE, EN, translation in DE, FR, IT, SLO
Organiser: For the Forum Landscape, Alps, Parks:
Jörg Balsiger, University of Geneva
Marcel Hunziker, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)
Carolina Adler, Mountain Research Initiative MRI
Dr. Christine Jurt Vicuña Muñoz, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
What are the relevant labels that distinguish sustainable destinations in mountain tourism? What is their underlying philosophy? What do they bring in concrete terms?
More and more labels are being introduced in tourism, at the business level, but also at the destination level. Some are explicitly focused on tourism, others go beyond that, such as the two mountaineering villages newly introduced in Switzerland in 2021 or “Gewässerperlen plus”. The aim is 1) an overview and comparison of existing labels at the level of Alpine destinations, 2) a more detailed presentation of 2-3 labels, in particular the Mountaineering Villages initiative, and 3) a critical reflection on the possibilities and limits of labels.
Language: DE, possibly EN
Organiser: Swiss Alpine Club
Philippe Wäger, Swiss Alpine Club
Fadri Guidon, President of the municipality Bever
Hans-Christian Leiggener, Director UNESCO Welterbe Schweizer Alpen Jungfrau-Aletsch
Simona Barmettler, Sedrun Disentis Tourism SA
Agricultural surface in the Alps and other European mountain regions is to large parts grassland or rangeland, which can be utilised exclusively by herbivore livestock. As a resource for sustainable animal production these pastures are extremely valuable, yet the necessary labour input is high, which leads to their continuous abandonment and subsequently encroachment. In the light of urgent needs for more ecological and climate friendly agricultural production schemes, we need to reassess the role of animal husbandry in mountain regions for food production, ecosystem services and, not the least, animal welfare. In the workshop we will discuss the general significance and challenges of mountain pasturing in Europe, and we will hear and discuss the hands-on experience of Swiss alpine dairy farmers.
Language: DE or EN
Organiser: Franz Steiner, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, FiBL, Switzerland
Alain Gisiger-Perrier (Farmer)
In the midst of the city of Brig-Glis, the participants will deepen the topics discussed in the first part of the workshop by means of concrete aspects in small groups. Among the topics are:
– Regarding the practical implementation of water as an urban planning element: What is Brig-Glis doing? What is being done elsewhere? What are the concrete benefits? Where are the stumbling blocks in the implementation?
– Assessment of the “water situation” and recording of the urban climate on the basis of selected quarters of Brig-Glis: concrete assessment parameters and measurement methods.
– How can society and politics be won over for the topic of “water in the city”? How can a step-by-step participation process – being informed, having a say, co-deciding, participating – be set in motion? What best practice experiences are there?
Followed by a synthesis and final discussion with Monika Holzegger and Rolf Weingartner
Organiser: Alpine Town of the Year
Local and innovative solutions to improve energy efficiency: the use of biomass, microgrids and e-mobility solutions.
Energy efficiency being one of the Interreg Alpine Space core priorities, we will further explore this topic in our workshop focusing on local and innovative solutions to improve energy efficiency: the use of biomass, microgrids and e-mobility solutions. Based on the results and experiences of the Alpine Space projects ALPGRIDS, BB-CLEAN and e-SMART, we will see how local solutions in the Alpine cities and rural areas can make a difference to the energy transition at Alpine level. The discussion will then focus on the challenges posed by the implementation of these solutions (political and citizen support) as well as on the broader issues at stake, such as energy sufficiency. Participants to the workshop will be able to share their experiences and ideas on how to overcome these challenges.
Organiser: Interreg Alpine Space
What will drive us up the wall when we sow rye in 2050? Will crops and alpine cattle thrive better in the forested semi-shade in the future? In the workshop we want to think together about the future and address the aspects that are essential for us participants in adapting alpine farming, mountain farming and mountain forestry to changing climate conditions. We all know that various established balances are shaken. That is why we want to bring together participants with different forms of knowledge and experience, gather our knowledge, formulate hypotheses, discuss connections and interrelationships, and explore possible opportunities and limits. We will design the exchange process along the 5 steps from the Problem Based Learning method, which our students at BFH-HAFL use to set up their learning processes. Through structured moderation, we hope to be able to present some essential questions for the future in “greener Alps” at the end.
Language: DE (+EN in case of more than 10 participants), translation in DE, FR, IT, SLO
How can we envision ecological and social transitions as a whole, from an interdisciplinary perspective, rather than from sectoral approaches.
In the 2020-2024 program of LabEx ITTEM, the approach to the notion of transition is correlated with that of innovation in order to question the continuous re-evaluation of models and norms of contemporary societies through the prism of theories of change. In the face of major environmental, climatic and energy challenges, against the backdrop of the preservation of the planet’s habitability, the very conception, scope and intensity of this transition are being debated: is it a horizon of reform that will make it possible to ‘green’ modes of production and life, while maintaining the presupposition that the solutions being sought must not restrict economic growth? Or, on the contrary, is it a process of profound transformation at the political and economic levels, but also at the cognitive and cultural levels?
In this respect, mountain regions – at different scales and in very contrasting contexts – are particularly suitable fields of study and a scientific object, not only because of the accentuation of environmental crisis phenomena, but also because of social resilience processes. Ecological and climatic vulnerability, physical constraints, mobility and access to services, economic and residential attractiveness dependent on natural, cultural and heritage resources, and the accentuated seasonality of activities are some of the major characteristics. The emergence of the mountain as a transnational and transcultural common good is thus to be put in perspective with the evaluation of the demonstrative value of the socio-ecological experiments observed in the mountains, and to contribute to their transferability.
Organiser: For ISCAR Alpine Research:
Thomas Spiegelberger, INRAE, French National Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment
Raffaela Balzarini and Carine Pachoud, LABEX ITTEM, Innovations et transitions territoriales en montagne
Co-create with us – the future network and story of the long-distance hiking trail Via Alpina!
The transalpine long-distance hiking trail “Via Alpina” celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022 as an official implementation project of the Alpine Convention. A hike along the Via Alpina makes alpine-wide challenges such as climate change, pressure of use and rural exodus tangible. But it also shows solutions such as sustainable building culture, slow tourism and innovative projects of local populations. After 20 years, the network around the Via Alpina will be reactivated to enable alpine-wide projects along the trail and to maintain its existence as a form of soft tourism.
We will look into the future of the Via Alpina. How should a network in 2022 look like? Who needs to take part? And how? A joint workshop round will bring together interested organizations, partners, and individuals from the entire Alpine region to clarify needs and allow joint projects and collaborations to emerge.
Organiser: CIPRA International
The panel discussion is open to the public. No registration necessary.
Language: DE (translated into EN, FR, IT, SLO)
Photovoltaics will be the absolute focus of the expansion of electricity production capacities in Europe in the coming years. The electricity can be produced cost-effectively, CO2 emissions are reduced. The potential is enormous – and in the Alpine region in particular, it could be used to produce a high proportion of the missing winter electricity. What about large-scale ground-mounted systems? Can they be realized in a way that is compatible with the landscape, and what is the legal situation?
This question will be discussed by experts from science and practice with different perspectives among themselves and with the audience. Raimund Rodewald, Managing Director of the Swiss Landscape Conservation Foundation, will begin with an input from the perspective of spatial planning, biodiversity and landscape.
Input: Raimund Rodewald, Managing Director, Swiss Foundation for Landscape Conservation
Statements and panel participants:
Markus Schreiber, lawyer, University of Lucerne, perspective of spatial planning law
David Stickelberger, managing Director, Swissolar, perspective of the photovoltaic industry
Renato Jordan, Initiator Gondosolar, Perspective Initiator of a ground-mounted system in the Valais Alps
Boris Salak, Social Sciences in Landscape Research, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)
Moderation: Catherine Duttweiler, Journalist
Alpine music intermezzi in the bar
at Zeughaus, Bistro
Morning Program of the CYC – closed for public
How can climate change be made visible in the region of Brig?
A cross border exchange between young people from Brig and the CIPRA Youth Council to make climate change artistically visible in the region – in cooperation with the ClimateFresk
Full day excursion
In the Aletsch region, the effects of climate change are already very visible. On this excursion we will look at the effects on the landscape, flora, fauna and people of the region and what measures will be necessary as a result.
Description: One effect of climate change in the Alps can be observed particularly well – glacier retreat. Taking the Great Aletsch Glacier as an example, we will look into the future of the ice giant and ask ourselves what other consequences the melting will have for the landscape and the people of the region.
But it is not only the glaciers that are affected by climate change. Consequences are also to be expected or already observable for the flora and fauna of the Alpine region.
Planned tour: The excursion will bring us to the Moosfluh with its beautiful view on the Aletschgletscher. From there we will walk through the Aletsch forest known for its old trees to the Villa Cassel. From there we will go back to Brig.
Important notice: Good shoes are recommended. Costs 30€/CHF
Language: DE or EN
Organiser: Pro Natura Zentrum Aletsch, Maurus Bamert, Director and CIPRA Switzerland (email@example.com)
09:48 Brig train station: Postbus to Mörel (independent)
10:03 Mörel: cable car ride to Riederalp Mitte (independent)
10:15 Riederalp Mitte: Welcome and introduction by excursion guide
10:30 Moosfluh valley station: cable car ride to Moosfluh
15:20 Villa Cassel: End of excursion
16:00 Riederalp West: Return journey to Brig
Migration, Youth & Participation – Whether characterised by structural weakness and migration or by one-sided developments in tourist hotspots – a large part of alpine communities is confronted with a strong demographic change and the associated limited opportunities for social exchange.
After an input on demographic developments & trends in peripheral regions, we want to discuss local experiences, challenges, and strategies of the participants concerning immigration, diversity, as well as integration, and participation with an emphasis on young people.
Organiser: Alliance in the Alpes, Elisabeth Gruber, Humboldt Stipendiatin Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürenberg FAU
Opportunities and challenges of renewable energies between planetary boundaries and local interference in the biosphere.
The energy transition – which implies decarbonisation of energy production and the eventual abandonment of nuclear energy – requires the development of new renewable energy production infrastructures. Due to their topographical and atmospheric characteristics, high-altitude regions tend to have a higher energy potential than lowland regions. However, the development of new infrastructures is hampered by the need to protect nature and landscape. In this workshop, we want to discuss the following issues in particular:
– Can the concept of “planetary limits” help reconcile the energy imperatives of decarbonisation and biodiversity protection?
– Which scale of intervention is more appropriate: the concentration of heavy infrastructures in specific sites or the dissemination of low-intensity production infrastructures over the territory?
– Are biodiversity/geodiversity (nature) protection issues the same as landscape protection issues?
Language: DE , FR, (EN), translation in DE, FR, IT, SLO
Organiser: Co-organised by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mountain Research CIRM (University of Lausanne) and the Institute Cultures of the Alps (University of Lucerne)
Language: DE or EN
Organiser: Olivier Ejderyan, Research Institutes of Organic Agriculture FIBL
Closing Plenary and debate
Harvesting sessions and plenary discussion: transitions in the fields of energy, tourism, demography and biodiversity in the Alps.
Room: Saal 1
translated into DE, FR, IT, SLO
Half day excursion
Viticulture is of great economic importance in the Valais. In the Pfyn-Finges Nature Park, ways are being sought to preserve soil fertility and biodiversity.
Description: Viticulture in Switzerland is undergoing profound structural change. The earlier cultivation methods changed fundamentally through the use of chemical substances – and not always in a positive direction. Today, people are aware of these problems and so soil fertility, greening and the use of environmentally friendly products are becoming increasingly important.
The excursion will also present and discuss landscape challenges: Should all dry stone walls be preserved? Should further large-scale meliorations take place and why should solar collectors not be placed on the well-sunned slopes above the vines?
It goes without saying that these topics will be discussed over a glass of wine!
Language: DE or EN
Organiser: Pfyn-Finges Nature Park, Peter Oggier, Director and CIPRA Switzerland (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Meeting point: Zeughaus
Departure in Brig: 13:03
(1) Welcome and introduction (30′)
(2) The transition to organic farming, Felizitas Mathier (60′)
(3) How the nature park was born from wine, Peter Oggier (60′)
(4) Photovoltaic system in the vineyard? Peter Oggier (60′)
Arrival in Brig: 18:32
Half day excursion
Locally processed wheat and rye
About Achera Biela: The Achera Biela in Ried-Brig is a hotspot of biodiversity: very rare arable flora, steppes, dry grasslands, traditional irrigation by means of suonen, extensively used pastures, etc. The agricultural use of this unique cultural landscape is traditional, albeit with modern machinery. Traditional rye fields can be seen as the origin of Valais rye bread, a typical Valais specialty. On the 90-minute tour, you will learn many exciting facts about Valais culture and nature.
About the Artis Bakery: In October 2021, the Artis Bakery opened in Ried-Brig. The in-house creations and their beneficial effects can be enjoyed with all senses. The bakery attaches great importance to producing healthy products with high-quality raw materials and using local resources. Participants can convince themselves of this during a tasting.
14:10 Meeting point Brig train station
14:18 Departure by post bus B632 from the station, arrival in Brig-Ried at 14:29, guided tour through the farmland with Gerhard Schmid
16:00 Guided tour of the bakery with tasting with Mathias Biner
16:51 Departure Postbus B631 to Brig train station, arrival at 17:10
Possible connecting trains e.g.: 17:57 -> Geneva, Annecy, etc.; 17:18 -> Munich, etc. or 17:48 -> Zurich, Innsbruck, Basel, Lindau, Freiburg, Sonthofen, etc.; 17:22 -> Torino, etc., 18:22 -> Domodossola, Milano, etc.
(costs 10 €/CHF)
Organiser: Alpine Town of the year (email@example.com)
The plenary parts are translated into DE, FR, IT, SLO