General Assembly discusses safety, environment issues

General Assembly

A host of new initiatives to make travelling in mountains safer and more environmentally friendly were discussed at the UIAA General Assembly (GA).

The 2010 GA was held in Bormio, Italy on October 9, and hosted by the Italian Alpine Club (CAI). It was preceded by a meeting of the members of the UIAA Management Committee, as well as a special event assessing mountain huts.

“Many of our federations operate mountain huts. By providing a place on our website we can create an electronic resource centre which will allow our Federations to provide or seek information regarding best practices in the management of facilities,” says UIAA President, Mike Mortimer. “We can all learn from our fellow Federations.”

The number of new initiatives launched this year are “unprecedented”, adds UIAA Executive Board member, Silvio Calvi.

They include a plan to introduce a “Mountain Protection Label” for tour operators – based on guidelines written by the United Nations Environment Programme, a database for mountain access information, the collection of accident statistics and the further development of internationally recognised training standards.

On top of that, the UIAA is using the GA to discuss closer cooperation between the UIAA and museums and libraries affiliated with Member Federations.

Benefits vs costs

Confronted with the wide range of new activities, the Management Committee earlier this year agreed to a proposal by Calvi to make every effort to improve project management to ensure the right balance between costs and benefits.

Besides new initiatives, UIAA commissions reported on their activities over the past year, and future plans.

The Medical Commission is working to expand its cooperation with the International Society of Mountain Medicine (ISMM) and the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR), and the Mountaineering Commission provided an update on the reform of its Legal Experts Working Group.

Safety Label

The Safety Commission, responsible for the UIAA’s internationally recognised Safety Label, headed into the meeting having implemented additional services for manufacturers and agreed new research projects. As part of its efforts to raise the bar for safety standards, the commission is investigating corrosion of anchors in tropical, marine environments.

The Youth Commission highlighted its international meets known under the name, Global Youth Summit. Commission President Anne Arran presented plans for an international youth festival and workshop in Khumbu, Nepal in 2011 for young climbers and their accompanying leaders.

“We are extremely grateful that the CAI hosted our General Assembly in Bormio. This is especially so since CAI is a founding member of the UIAA,” Mortimer concluded.