The International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (Cipra) has launched a competition in Bern to promote sustainable development in the alpine region.
The six best projects will be rewarded with prizes of €25,000 (SFr38,800).
Cipra announced the international "Future in the Alps" competition on Thursday at simultaneous news conferences in the Swiss capital, as well as Munich, Innsbruck, Milan, Grenoble and Ljubljana.
"The aim... is to reward and financially support any practical project, initiative or activity in alpine regions which seeks to harmonise ecological, social and economic interests," it said.
The commission said it was interested in hearing about projects to promote regional products, tourism and nature protection, as well as ideas for the development of local communities and economies.
Individuals, groups, institutions and communities are eligible to enter the competition, which closes on July 20, 2005.
The prizes will be presented in Brig, in Switzerland’s southern canton of Valais, on September 22.
Future in the Alps
The competition is part of Cipra’s "Future in the Alps" project for sustainable development in the mountain range, which stretches from France to Slovenia. The project was launched in 2004 and is due to run until 2007.
Its aim is to bring people, businesses and institutions together to come up with new ideas for developing the region in a way that takes account of nature conservation, the needs of the population and economic objectives.
In Switzerland the project is being monitored by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research.
The awards are being funded by Mava, the Swiss-based Foundation for Nature Conservation.
Switzerland signed the Alpine Convention on protection of the region in 1991, but has been criticised by Cipra for failing to ratify the framework protocols.
swissinfo with agencies
Cipra was created in 1952.
The competition launched on Thursday is part of a €2.4-million project which began in July 2004 and runs until 2007.
Funded by the Mava foundation, its aim is to promote the sustainable development of the Alps (from Nice in France to Maribor in Slovenia).
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