AN EFFICIENT START TO 2021

On Saturday 30 January, the UIAA Management Committee (MC) held its first online meeting since October’s UIAA General Assembly when five new members were elected to the body. The meeting was followed by a short session with the UIAA Commission Presidents who provided an update on project progress and priorities for the year ahead.

MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Having met regularly online over the past three months, the newly formed UIAA Executive Board provided a summary of its progress to date, principally centred around the creation of working groups to help develop external relations, improve internal communication, supervise Commission projects and ensure sound governance and smooth financial processes.

UIAA Sustainability Project Manager Carol Kahoun provided an overview of the UIAA’s involvement in the IOC’s Mountain Alliance Group and addressed how members of the UIAA can get involved. Peter Bourne, UIAA Communication Manager, presented the federation’s communication plan and objectives for 2021.

A key component of the EB and MC’s work is developing the Strategic Plan 2021-2024. At the 2020 GA, agreement was reached on its guiding principles and three pillar structure (Safety, Sport, Sustainability). A road map is now underway to defining a clearer executive plan and working with Commissions to identify priority projects.

The MC voted to host May’s Management Committee, scheduled to take place in Skopje, North Macedonia, online. The MC thanks the organisers – Mountaineering Federation of North Macedonia – for its continued support and flexibility – and looks forwarding to hosting its next in-person meeting in the country.

A decision regarding the hosting of the UIAA GA 2021, scheduled to be held in Trabzon, Turkey on 23 October, will be made at the spring MC meeting. The UIAA continues to collaborate closely with the Turkish Mountaineering Federation (TDF) on the matter.

COMMISSION UPDATES

Anti-Doping
Marija ANDJELKOVIC (President), Serbia (PSS)
The UIAA has successfully met the standards of the new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) norms and is fully compliant, one of the first federations to become so. Covid-19 has caused obvious disruption to in-competition testing, however the Commission hopes to conduct the testing required during upcoming UIAA Ice Climbing events in Russia. Out of competition scheduling is on target.

Mountaineering
Peter FARKAS, Hungary (MHSSz), President
MountCom is working on a proposal to update existing UIAA ethics declarations most notably the groundbreaking Tyrol Declaration (2002). Details of a fundraising project – Mountain Workers Initiative – will be provided shortly as will statistical and analytical findings from two accident advice papers

There are two working groups with the Mountaineering Commission:

Training, Steve Long, United Kingdom (BMC)
The Training Accreditation database is due to be launched in a few weeks. This has been a significant project developed the past few years. Chapter and translation updates to the UIAA Alpine Summer Skills Handbook, produced in collaboration with The Petzl Foundation, are ongoing.

Access, Juan Jesús Ibañez Martin, Spain (FEDME)
The WG recently held an online meeting where the idea to create an online library dedicated to accident restrictions was raised. This initiative will be expanded at its next meeting in April.

Ice Climbing
Carlos TEIXEIRA, Portugal (FCMP), President
A shortened UIAA Ice Climbing season is underway, events impacted by Covid-19. The Commission helped spearhead a Festival of Ice Climbing weekend on 23-24 January, organising a European Championships in Champagny and supporting international distribution from the historic Ouray Ice Festival, Colorado. Full details can be found here.  Athletes and officials were subject to stringent Covid-19 protocols and regulations in Champagny. The Commission is currently undergoing an internal restructuring process.

Medical
Dr Urs HEFTI, Switzerland (SAC), President
MedCom is particularly active working on projects related to Women in Mountaineering (a comprehensive review of advice papers and organising a course in South Africa – for when the pandemic has passed). A video communication providing advice on drinking clean (safe) water in the mountains is imminent.

Mountain Protection
Dr Carolina ADLER (President), New Zealand (NZAC)
Since the GA, the Commission held an online meeting and was an active participant in global events organised for International Mountain Day. The new timeline for the 2020-21 UIAA Mountain Protection Award has been published. The impact of Covid-19 on hosting events and meet-ups has forced a rethinking into the strategy behind Respect the Mountains (RTM). UIAA Environmental Objectives & Guidelines: standing guidelines need reviewing, a process is planned together with the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Safety
Lionel Kiener, Swiss Alpine Club (SAC)
Newly-elected SafeCom President Lionel Kiener praised the proactive nature of the Commission in meeting more regularly over the past twelve months both internally and with equipment manufacturers and accredited laboratories. After over 12 years of research and development, the Commission released its update to the UIAA Rock Anchor Standard 123 in December. The explanatory pictorials the Commission publishes to illustrate its Standards are currently being updated in collaboration with the German Alpine Club (DAV). Its ‘Ask SafeCom’ Q&A communication series has proved popular with climbers on social media.

Youth
Pavlos GEORGIADES, Cyprus (CMCOF), President
Just one UIAA Global Youth Series event is currently in the calendar for 2021 – an ice climbing camp in the French Alps. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to issues for the Youth Commission in organising events with UIAA members and is forcing some rethinking about its immediate objectives.

The next Management Committee meeting is scheduled for May 2021. Official minutes will be circulated to all participants in due course.