1. The work done for the preparation of a legal instrument on mountain regions dates back at least ten years, with the adoption by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe of Recommendation 14 (1995) on the European Charter of Mountain Regions in June 1995, which was followed by Recommendation 75 (2000) on the draft European outline convention on mountain regions.1 The developments are related in document RAP-LARC (2004)2.
2. The Congress adopted Recommendation 130 (2003) on the European Charter for Mountains at its 10th Plenary Session in Strasbourg on 20-22 June 2003.
3. With this Recommendation, the Congress intended to conclude its activities relating to mountain regions. It called for the adoption of a Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states, accompanied by a European Charter for Mountains, the draft of which it had prepared. It is appended to Recommendation 130. The Charter is of a declarative nature. It updates the principles set down by the Congress in the draft conventions on mountain regions it prepared in previous years.
4. The Deputies examined this Recommendation at their 845th meeting (2 July 2003, item 12.1), took note of it, forwarded it for opinion to the Parliamentary Assembly, adopted Decision No. CM/856/02072003, by which it assigned ad hoc terms of reference to the Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR), asking it to carry out a preliminary examination of Recommendation 130 (2003) together with its Appendix, taking account of the opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly, with a view to the possible preparation of a draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states and invited its Rapporteur on Local and Regional Cooperation (RAP-LARC) to prepare a draft reply.
5. In the meantime, the Parliamentary Assembly, by means of its Standing Committee, adopted its Recommendation 1638 (2003) on Sustainable development of mountain regions at its meeting in Maastricht on 25 November 2003. The Assembly recommended that the Committee of Ministers respond positively to the initiative of the Congress, as set out in its Recommendation 130, by adopting a recommendation to member states on the European charter for mountains.
6. The Deputies considered Recommendation 1638 at their 865th meeting (10 December 2003, item 3.1), forwarded it to their governments, to the CDLR2, the Committee for the Activities of the Council of Europe in the field of Biological and Landscape Diversity (CO-DBP)3 and the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Sustainable Development (CEMAT)4 for information and possible comments by 30 April 2004, and asked the Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Youth, Sport and Environment (GR-C) to prepare a draft reply.
7. The GR-C discussed Recommendation 1638 at its meeting of 2 November 2004. The Chair recalled that the Deputies asked the GR-C to prepare a draft reply. Given that the Assembly Recommendation's only purpose was to support the Congress' initiative stated in Recommendation 130, and it was the RAP-LARC who was entrusted with a reply to the Congress Recommendation, the GR-C agreed to request the
RAP-LARC to prepare a draft reply to Recommendation 1638 (2003) as well. The RAP-LARC agreed.
8. After discussions during the meeting of the RAP-LARC on 2 November 2004, no consensus was reached on the advisability of a Committee of Ministers recommendation on mountain regions. Consequently, the Rapporteur suggested stating that fact in the reply to the Congress and the Parliamentary Assembly.
909th meeting – 15 December 2004
a. European Charter for Mountains –
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe Recommendation 130 (2003)
(REC_130 (2003) and CM/Cong(2004)Rec130 prov., CM(2004)57 and 118, RAP-LARC(2004)3)
The Deputies adopted the reply to Recommendation 130 (2003) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on the European Charter for Mountains, as it appears at Appendix … to the present volume of Decisions.5
909th meeting – 15 December 2004
b. Sustainable development of mountain regions –
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1638 (2003)
(REC_1638 (2003) and CM/AS(2004)Rec1638 prov., CM(2004)57 and 118, RAP-LARC(2004)3)
The Deputies adopted the reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1638 (2003) on sustainable development of mountain regions, as it appears at Appendix … to the present volume of Decisions.6