White Paper on the Mountains

The White Paper on the Mountains was promoted by the Department for Regional Affairs and Autonomies of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in accordance with the delegation of functions “for the promotion and coordination of government actions and strategic intervention for the protection and valorisation of mountain areas” entrusted to the Minister for Regional Affairs and Autonomies.

The creation of the White Paper on the Mountains was assigned to UNIMONT – a hub of the University of Milan, located in Edolo, in the heart of the Alps. This university center has been working specifically in teaching, research and third mission activities for the sustainable development and valorization of mountain areas for over 25 years.

The White Paper was created with the contribution of researchers and experts from universities and research and analysis centres, including the Istituto per la Finanza e l’Economia Locale (IFEL), Fondazione dell’Associazione Nazionale dei Comuni Italiani (ANCI), Fondazione Nord Est, the reference think-tank of “Confindustria per la Montagna” and the Study Center of the Italian Touring Club. Stakeholders such as the Federazione Bacini Imbriferi Montani – FEDERBIM and representatives of public institutions, as well as entrepreneurs operating in mountain areas, have enriched the study with contents, visions and experiences from privileged and strategic observers.

The White Paper offers a broad and multidisciplinary analysis of the mountain context, with an initial look at an international perspective before focusing on a national dimension. Starting from environmental aspects, which determine mountain specificities, it deals with socio-economic and governance issues of these territories, in order to compose as complete an overview as possible on the current state of the Italian mountains. A framework which, when compared to the main global and local challenges, from climate change to socio-economic issues, aims to provide a realistic vision of the main risks, as well as the opportunities and prospects of mountain territories in the near future, which will be profoundly different from the past and the present.

The analysis and comparison of territorial, demographic and socioeconomic data carried out on a regional, as well as national, basis allow an evaluation of the relevance and role of mountain areas in individual Italian regions, as well as in the entire country, with the aim of facilitating the identification of effective intervention and policies at the various levels of territorial government.

The study focuses on the main challenges and priority objectives for the protection and valorisation of natural and human capital, as well as on the promotion of sustainable development and of the competitiveness of mountain territories, to overcome the marginality to which they have been confined.

The White Paper on the Mountains is aimed at both the political-institutional world and the whole of society. The objective is to promote “change” through a new vision and the implementation of integrated and strategic policies. A “change” possible only with the commitment and active mobilization of a society increasingly aware of the responsibilities to be assumed and the opportunities to be seized, also in mountain areas.

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