The Alpine Convention is an agreement of international law relating to the general protection and sustainable development of the Alps. It was set up on the initiative and after a long previous work by CIPRA. The General Framework Convention, now ratified by all parties, is enforced by the implementing protocols. The implementation protocols are set out for twelve sectors and there are already protocols for eight sectors: the Alpine Convention is an agreement between different countries for the protection and sustainable development of the Alpine region. Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the EU signed in Salzburg (Austria) on 1 November 1991. Slovenia signed the convention on 29 March 1993. Monaco became a part on the basis of a separate additional protocol. The convention came into force on March 6, 1995. While Switzerland is largely mountainous, the delays in ratification are mainly due to the lack of support from mountain cantons, not least because they were perceived by the perception of environmental protection and not economic development. After a few years of deadlock, an agreement was reached between the Confederation and the mountain cantons in 1996, when the Confederation agreed to financial measures in favour of the cantons. Subsequently, political ties with other controversial issues in Parliament led to further delays before ratification by Switzerland at the end of 1998 and the adoption of the presidency in early 1999.
The Alpine Convention calls for a comprehensive political approach to the conservation and protection of the Alps, implemented by the contracting parties through protocols on land use and sustainable development, nature and landscape conservation, mountain agriculture, mountain forests, tourism, soil conservation, energy, transport and dispute resolution. Protocols are independent enforcement agreements under international law and must be ratified individually. The 14th Alpine Conference decided that the 7th State of the Alps report would focus on the policy of natural hazard risks and would be managed by the Alpine Convention`s Natural Risks Platform (PLANALP). Another obstacle to implementation is the development of the transport protocol, which has been more or less down since 1995. Unlike most other protocols to date, this has involved a large number of departments, many of which have come under considerable pressure from an industry lobby for which environmental protection is not very important.