FOCUS ON THE FUTURE: UIAA PROGRESS ON NEW STRATEGY AND COMMISSION PROJECTS

Ahead of next month’s online UIAA General Assembly (GA), the UIAA Management Committee (MC) and Commission Presidents held a virtual session on Saturday 26 September with a focus both on preparing for the GA and the federation’s strategic plans for 2021 and beyond.

Following an opening address by UIAA President Frits Vrijlandt, chairing his penultimate MC meeting, UIAA General Secretary Lode Beckers detailed the progress made on the UIAA’s next Strategic Plan (the current SP expires at the end of this year). A final version will be presented for approval at the GA. The document unites elements of the current SP, topics discussed and voted on at the 2019 GA, feedback from the MC and the research and work undertaken by a SP Working Group over the past few years. Feedback integrated following this weekend’s MC meeting includes a greater emphasis on advocacy, on the goals of the three pillars and on the UIAA as the global mountain network.

During the second half of the meeting, each UIAA Commission provided a summary of progress made during 2020, one understandably impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and introduced their plans for 2021 and beyond. All of these plans were approved by the MC. This followed an update from UIAA Treasurer Peter Muir on revised Commission regulations. These were approved by the MC who agreed to allow flexibility with regards to choosing locations for Commission meetings. The identity of Executive Board Commission links will be reviewed and confirmed in due course.

Anti-Doping
Marija ANDJELKOVIC (President), Serbia (PSS)

In the absence of Marija Andjelkovic, UIAA Sport Events Coordinator Rob Adie presented the mid-term priorities of the UIAA Anti-Doping Commission. These chiefly centre around the UIAA’s work in ensuring it remains WADA compliant through the integration of new WADA codes into existing regulations. These are most likely to be in force from 2022 given the potential freeze on the UIAA’s international competitions in 2021.

Ice Climbing
Carlos TEIXEIRA, Portugal (FCMP), President

The mission for the UIAA Ice Climbing Commission is driven in part towards the sport’s future inclusion in the official Olympic Winter Games competition programme. In the meantime, the Commission is also looking at several enhancements to its running of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour. This includes joint projects with the UIAA Safety Commission on clothing Standards for speed events (to help prevent injury) and a Standard to ensure the uniformity of competition structures. Another focus is on improving the reliability and visibility of speed timing equipment. To ensure a more efficient delivery of projects, the Commission is also reviewing its own structure and working practices.

In light of the current global pandemic, contingency plans for the 2021 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour are being made. With hosting international events in 2021 appearing a remote possibility, the UIAA is looking into a format of national and regional championships and working more closely with federations especially those not currently engaged in competition ice climbing.

Medical
Urs HEFTI, Switzerland (SAC), President

Many of the UIAA Medical Commission members have been on the ‘frontline’ throughout the past few months which has had an impact on the progress of some projects. The Commission’s main focus for the coming years is to strengthen the UIAA’s position and visibility in the field of mountain medicine. An upcoming project will be dedicated to safe drinking water. MedCom is also looking at updating some of its existing recommendations especially those related to women and the mountains. The Commission, travel restrictions permitting, is looking at running a Mountain Medicine course in Africa and/or South America in the near future.

MedCom calls for all UIAA member associations to provide feedback and guidance on any advice papers they are interested in the Commission working on or revising. Please send any details to carol.kahoun@theuiaa.org

Mountaineering
Peter FARKAS, Hungary (MHSSz), President

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the work of the Mountaineering Commission given the ‘field nature’ of its activities. Its core project – run through Steve Long and the Training Panel – has seen all but one physical event cancelled in 2020. In the meantime the Training team, in collaboration with The Petzl Foundation, are working on new chapters of the UIAA Summer Skills Alpine Handbook. Some of this new material will be supported by legendary mountaineers Reinhold Messner and Doug Scott. Long-term training projects continue to evolve including three-year initiatives in Mongolia and Ladakh, India.

Other work of the Commission is on hold but likely to resume in 2021 including a short video series of Instagram, further development of the accident statistics database and research on the ISO 21101 certification project. The Commission is also looking at the feasibility of creating an online booking directory of mountain huts.

Details on the progress of the Commission’s other core area, Access, will be presented at the next MC meeting on 17 October.

Mountain Protection
Dr Carolina ADLER (President), New Zealand (NZAC)

Earlier this year, the Mountain Protection Commission (MPC) decided to adapt the 2020 editions of its two annual projects – the Mountain Protection Award (MPA) and Respect the Mountains (RtM) Movement.

Application for the MPA is open. However, the timeline for the 2020 MPA will extend into 2021 and the Award presented at the 2021 UIAA GA. The RTM international calendar remains visible and open for event submission. Some initiatives are taking place including those run by sponsor of the UIAA MPA, Bally, who have recently organised their own clean-up events. The Commission continues to work with the UN Environment and the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IMFGA) on the creation of educational events and awareness around climate change which could be incorporated into the RTM Movement.

The Commission is also revising the UIAA’s Sustainability Guidelines, with the target of publishing in 2022, and marking the 20-year anniversary of the UN’s ‘Year of the Mountains’. An external review is being conducted by the MPC into developing the UIAA Mountain Protection Award.

The MPC is also looking forward to further discussions at a GA level on climate change.

Safety
Amit CHOWDHURY, India (IMF), President

Several Working Groups have been created to ensure the delivery of new Standards and testing projects. There has been some natural delays owing to Covid-19 but the Commission’s targets for the next few years includes: a first international Standard for avalanche probes; helmet Standards – side impact; bolt corrosion project to improve the UIAA Standard on anchors focusing on stress corrosion cracking; a review of the EAS Via Ferrata testing method; improvements to both the bending test on type K carabiners – and the ice tool Standard wording and a deeper investigation into the aging of canyoning harnesses relating to early failures; issuing of Standards for rigging plates using the new term ‘load sharing devises (LSD)’, static ropes, trekking poles, prussik cords; a new testing programme to evaluate the cut resistance of textile PPE; the development of water repellency Standards for textile PPE and with the International Slackline Association (ISA), a UV testing programme.

Throughout 2020, the Commission has held a number of online and working group meetings and is also engaging with stakeholders to assess the impact of the pandemic on the climbing safety industry. Progress is ongoing regarding work on a new testing laboratory with the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA).

Youth
Pavlos GEORGIADES, Cyprus (CMCOF), President

The Youth Commission (YC) continues to evolve its future strategy including a new tiering systems for events. For the first time (due to Covid-19) the YC is endorsing national events including upcoming meets in Cyprus, France and Hong Kong. Members interested in registering events or further information are invited to contact rob.adie@theuiaa.org

Rock Climbing
Anne ARRAN, UK (BMC), Chair

An update was also presented regarding the annual UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award which has also rolled into 2021 with application open to festivals in SE Asia and Oceania. The UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award Group is liaising with the UIAA’s Continental Representatives in these continents to promote the Award, climbing areas in these regions and to engage with potential new members.

 

The next UIAA Management Committee and Commission Presidents’ meetings will be held on the weekend of 17-18 October, a week before the 2020 UIAA GA. A guide to the GA can be downloaded here.

 

Main photo: Rémy Duding – www.remyduding.ch