Project

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European Regional Mountain Initiatives (ERMI): From Pyrenees to Caucasus

English title European Regional Mountain Initiatives (ERMI): From Pyrenees to Caucasus
Applicant Debarbieux Bernard
Number 137989
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Département de géographie et environnement Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.01.2012 - 31.08.2015
Approved amount 400'000.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Social geography and ecology
Political science
Legal sciences

Keywords (8)

Mountains; Regions; Territory; Governance; Scale; Policy diffusion; Framing; Sustainable development

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Regional governance in mountain ranges

Lead

Mountain regions (or massifs) are recognized as critical human-environment systems of global value and sustainable mountain development has become a worldwide concern. In Europe transboundary institution building has occurred in numerous massifs. How are they similar and different and what can they learn from each other?

Background

In 1991 Alpine countries and the European Union signed the Alpine Convention to promote sustainable development in the mountain range. Several transboundary mountain initiatives have since drawn inspiration from the Alpine Convention. Although they follow similar rationales, they vary in important respects. They espouse different interpretations of sustainability, evolve around different legal and political institutions, and co-exist and interact with different parallel initiatives. Mountain initiatives are neither unique nor copies of each other. Rather, their trajectories are linked but shaped by variable local, national, and international contexts.

Aim

The project compares several existing and emerging transboundary mountain initiatives through a combination of perspectives from geography, legal studies, and political science. Its aim is fourfold. First, to trace the histories of mountain initiatives in the Pyrenees, Jura, Alps, Carpathians, Balkans and Dinaric Arc, and Caucasus; second, to examine how these massifs have been portrayed and delineated in international cooperation; third, to analyze prevailing legal and institutional arrangements and their diffusion to other places; and fourth, to specify the degree to which a common ‘Alpine model’ has been balanced with context-specific goals.

Significance

The project sheds light on the challenges and opportunities of governance in mountain regions, as well as transboundary region-building more broadly. It integrates disciplinary approaches and builds a common set of conceptual views of political, juridical and geographical modes of regionalization.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Construire les Carpates: l'institutionnalisation d'une éco-région
Simon Gaberell (2016), Construire les Carpates: l'institutionnalisation d'une éco-région, Peter Lang, Berne.
Functional regulatory spaces and policy diffusion in Europe: The case of mountains
Balsiger Jörg, Nahrath Stéphane (2015), Functional regulatory spaces and policy diffusion in Europe: The case of mountains, in Environmental Science & Policy, 49, 8-20.
Green Economy and Institutions for Sustainable Mountain Development: From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and beyond
Kohler Thomas, Balsiger Jörg, Rudaz Gilles, Debarbieux Bernard, Pratt D. Jane, Maselli Daniel (2015), Green Economy and Institutions for Sustainable Mountain Development: From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and beyond.
Melting law: Learning from practice in transboundary mountain regions
Perrier Benjamin and Levrat Nicolas (2015), Melting law: Learning from practice in transboundary mountain regions, in Environmental Science & Policy, 49, 32-44.
Should mountains (really) matter in science and policy?
Balsiger Jörg, Debarbieux Bernard (2015), Should mountains (really) matter in science and policy?, in Environmental Science & Policy, 49, 1-7.
The European Union Strategy for the Alpine Region
Balsiger Jörg (2015), The European Union Strategy for the Alpine Region, in Gänzle Stefan and Kern Kristine (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 189-213.
The Mountain: A Political History from the Enlightenment to the Present
Debarbieux Bernard and Rudaz Gilles (2015), The Mountain: A Political History from the Enlightenment to the Present, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Die schweizerischen Berggebiete in der Politik
Rudaz Gilles, Debarbieux Bernard (2014), Die schweizerischen Berggebiete in der Politik, VDF, Zurich.
Mapping regions, framing projects: A comparative analysis on the role of mapping in the region-building process of two European regions
Gaberell Simon, Debarbieux Bernard (2014), Mapping regions, framing projects: A comparative analysis on the role of mapping in the region-building process of two European regions, in Geoforum, 52, 123-136.
Scientific collectives in region-building processes
Debarbieux Bernard, Balsiger Jörg, Djordjevic Dusan, Gaberell Simon, Rudaz Gilles (2014), Scientific collectives in region-building processes, in Environmental Science and Policy, 42, 149-159.
La montagne suisse en politique
Rudaz Gilles, Debarbieux Bernard (2013), La montagne suisse en politique, PPUR, Lausanne.
The institutionalization of mountain regions in Europe
Debarbieux Bernard, Price Martin, Balsiger Jörg (2013), The institutionalization of mountain regions in Europe, in Regional Studies, 1-15.
Cosmopolitization in action. Connecting levels of scale in International Environmental Organizations (IEOs)
Isabelle Mauz Bernard Debarbieux Céline Grandjou, Cosmopolitization in action. Connecting levels of scale in International Environmental Organizations (IEOs), in Global Networks.
Données géographiques et construction institutionnelle d’une région transnationale. Le système d’observation et d’information des Alpes
Pieroni Raphaël, Debarbieux Bernard, Données géographiques et construction institutionnelle d’une région transnationale. Le système d’observation et d’information des Alpes, in Revue Internationale de Géomatique, 24(1).
Regionalized Scientific Networks in the South-East European Mountains: A Social Network Analysis Approach
Rudaz Gilles, Regionalized Scientific Networks in the South-East European Mountains: A Social Network Analysis Approach, in Ankara University Journal of Environmental Sciences.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Perth College, University of Highlands and Islands Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Mountain Research Initiative Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
United Nations Environment Programme, Vienna Office Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Institut Universitaire Kurt Boesch Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia Georgia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
European Association of Elected Representatives from Mountain Areas France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
European Academy, Bolzano Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
GRID-Arendal Norway (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
UACES 45th Annual onference Talk given at a conference Macro-regionalization in the Alps 07.10.2015 Bilbao, Spain Balsiger Jörg;
Perth III Conference "Mountains of our Future Earth" Talk given at a conference Do mountains matter in regional governance? 04.10.2015 Perth, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Balsiger Jörg;
A ‘Macro-regional’ Europe in the Making? Theoretical Approaches and Empirical Evidence Talk given at a conference Macro-regionalization in the Alps 02.10.2014 Kristiansand, Norway Balsiger Jörg;
Forum Carpaticum 2014 Individual talk Keynote address: "Scientific collectives in region-building processes" 16.09.2014 Lviv, Ukraine Balsiger Jörg;
International Symposium on Society and Resource Management "Challenges of Urban and Rural Transformation" Talk given at a conference The "field" concept in regional mountain governance 03.06.2014 Hannover, Germany Balsiger Jörg;
Global Land Project, Second Open Science Meeting Talk given at a conference Institutional redundancy, system stability, and adaptation: Insights from the European Alps 19.03.2014 Berlin, Germany Balsiger Jörg;
Regional Mountain Governance Talk given at a conference The role of the Millennium Development Goals in regional mountain governance 30.10.2013 Genève, Switzerland Rudaz Gilles;
Regional Mountain Governance Talk given at a conference European regional mountain initiatives as functional regulatory spaces 30.10.2013 Genève, Switzerland Nahrath Stéphane; Balsiger Jörg;
Regional Mountain Governance Talk given at a conference The role of working groups and international treaties in regional mountain governance 30.10.2013 Genève, Switzerland Perrier Benjamin;
Regional Mountain Governance Talk given at a conference Regional scientific networks 30.10.2013 Genève, Switzerland Balsiger Jörg;
Regional Mountain Governance Talk given at a conference The status of mountain initiatives: from Pyrenees to Central Asia 30.10.2013 Genève, Switzerland Rudaz Gilles; Balsiger Jörg;
Regional Mountain Governance Talk given at a conference Scaling and Framing in regional mountain governance 30.10.2013 Genève, Switzerland Debarbieux Bernard;
Complex Transboundary Problems: EU and US Perspectives Talk given at a conference Regional Environmental Problems 18.10.2013 Berkeley, United States of America Balsiger Jörg;
Les Troisièmes Rencontres Internationales de Reims en Sustainability Studies Talk given at a conference Sustainable development governance in transboundary mountain regions: Lessons and prospects 19.06.2013 Reims, France Balsiger Jörg;
'Macro-Regions' and Multi-level Governance in Europe: Theoretical Approaches and Empirical Evidence Talk given at a conference Macro-regionalization in the Alps 13.06.2013 Potsdam, Germany Balsiger Jörg;
Towards a Scientific Network in the Caucasus Mountain Region Talk given at a conference Scientific Networks in mountain regions/Experiences from other mountain regions: Science for Carpathians and SEE More 30.05.2013 Tiflis, Georgia Balsiger Jörg;
Preparatory Meeting towards a Scientific Network on the Caucasus Mountain Regions Talk given at a conference Regional Approaches in the Caucasus Mountain Regions: Context, Processes, and Actors 10.04.2013 Tbilisi, Georgia Balsiger Jörg;
Preparatory Meeting towards a Scientific Network on the Caucasus Mountain Regions Talk given at a conference Towards a scientific network on the Caucasus Mountain Regions – Opportunities and Challenges 10.04.2013 Tbilisi, Georgia Balsiger Jörg;
'Macro-regionalization' in Europe: Theoretical Approaches and Empirical Evidence Talk given at a conference Macro-regionalization in the Alps 13.12.2012 Kristiansand, Norway, Norway Balsiger Jörg;
Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change: Evidence for Sustainable Development Talk given at a conference A view from the mountains: National involvement in Southeast European regionalization 05.10.2012 Berlin, Germany, Germany Balsiger Jörg;
Carpathians Unite – mechanism of consultation and cooperation for the implementation of the Carpathian Convention Talk given at a conference European regional mountain initiatives: from Pyrenees to Caucasus 28.09.2012 Zakopane, Poland Debarbieux Bernard;
SEEmore Conference 2012: Mountain Resources and Their Response to Global Change Talk given at a conference Regional scientific networks in Southeast Europe 07.06.2012 Ankara, Turkey, Turkey Rudaz Gilles;
2nd Forum Carpaticum: From data to knowledge, from knowledge to action Talk given at a conference Regional scientific networking in the Carpathians 30.05.2012 Stara Lesna, Slovakia, Slovakia Balsiger Jörg; Rudaz Gilles;
Planet under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solution Talk given at a conference Twenty years of regional governance in mountain areas: Key lessons and challenges 26.03.2012 London, United Kingdom, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Debarbieux Bernard; Balsiger Jörg; Rudaz Gilles;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Roundtable session "Challenges and advances in crossscale research of governance in mountain systems", Perth III Conference "Mountains of our Future Earth" 04.10.2015 Perth, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Roundtable Session "Exploring Synergies Around Mountain Social Dynamics and Governance", International Symposium on Society and Resource Management 03.06.2014 Hannover, Germany
Session "The role of Governance in Adaptation to Global Change in Mountain Regions", Global Land Project, Second Open Science Meeting 19.03.2014 Berlin, Germany
Scales Seminar with Sylvie Motard (Senior Programme Officer UNEP-Geneva) 24.04.2013 Genève, Switzerland
Scales Seminar with Daniel Maselli (previously responsible for mountain dossier at Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) 20.03.2013 Genève, Switzerland
Scales Seminar with Claude Martin (former Director of World Wide Fund for Nature) 09.01.2013 Genève, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Assemblée générale de l'Association Européenne des élus de Montagne (AEM) 13.06.2013 Grand Bornand, France Rudaz Gilles;
Pourquoi gérer l'environnement à l'échelle régionale ? 19.02.2013 Institut national genevois, Genève , Switzerland Debarbieux Bernard;
Conseil de la Conférence Transjurassienne 07.12.2012 Besançon, France, France Balsiger Jörg;
AlpWeek: Renewable Alps 05.09.2012 Poschiavo, Switzerland, Switzerland Balsiger Jörg; Rudaz Gilles; Debarbieux Bernard; Perrier Benjamin;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Regional Mountain Governance 30.10.2013 Geneva, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Le paysage alpin, notre impossible bien commun (par Bernard Debarbieux) Le Temps International Western Switzerland 2013
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Sustainable Mountain Development, Green Economy and Institutions: From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and beyo International 2012

Use-inspired outputs


Start-ups

Name Year
Scientific Network for the Caucasus (SNC-mt) 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
160500 Supporting Sustainable Mountain Development in the Caucasus (Sustainable Caucasus) 01.06.2015 SCOPES
125414 GLO-RETE: Globalization and re-territorialization of environmental initiatives in Central Europe : stakeholders, narratives, images 01.09.2009 Interdisciplinary projects
157404 Regional Orders in International Environmental Politics (REORIENT) 01.09.2015 SNSF Professorships
149536 EU-gems: Gouvernance de l'Environnement et Macro-régions en Europe 01.01.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Europe is home to numerous transboundary regional initiatives and many of these have focused on mountain regions (massifs). From the Pyrenees to the Caucasus, mountain regions have been the focus of institution building for more than two decades, ranging from established, legally binding international treaties such as the Alpine Convention to emergent processes focused on fostering regional partnerships of researchers and practitioners.Individually and in combination, the phenomenon of regional mountain initiatives raises an important question the ERMI project seeks to answer: Are these initiatives and associated formal agreements genealogically or formally linked to each other? Or are they ultimately unique to their respective contexts? The ERMI project hypothesizes that transboundary regional mountain initiatives in Europe are neither independent occurrences of governance rescaling and inter-territoriality, nor simple duplications of a pre-existing institutional model. Rather, these initiatives need to be seen as interdependent trajectories inextricably linked to each other through similar modes of framing, circulating models or institutional diffusion, and understood at the same time as singular outputs of contingent processes where local, national, contextual conditions have played a role.The ERMI research plan evolves around a comparative analysis of seven existing or emerging arrangements intended. The project is organized in four work packages: (1) interdisciplinary protocols; (2) Massif making, scaling, and framing; (3) Governance, institutionalization and policy diffusion; and (4) Types and models, knowledge integration. The analysis is designed to generate knowledge of their genesis through a focus on the role of models, prototypes, and referents on the one hand, and the role of contextuality and the will to produce ad hoc arrangements and specific territories on the other. Beyond the thematic focus of the research and the case studies, the project seeks to contribute to academic debates on multilevel governance and regionalization processes.The ERMI project is highly interdisciplinary, combining the knowledge and expertise of researchers in law, political science, and geography. Although these disciplines share a concern for concepts that are central to the project (territoriality, governance, scale or level, etc.), the meanings of these concepts differ widely. Without impoverishing these disciplinary meanings, the ERMI project will build a common set of conceptual interpretations that can help shed light on the intertwining of political, juridical and geographical modes of territorialization and regionalization.
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