President Sergio Mattarella said Monday that Italy’s survival hinged on meeting the challenge posed by the climate crisis as he addressed the national union of mountain communities (UNCEM).
“In Italy ‘there is a region that includes a fifth of its population, which extends over a third of its surface area and in which the life of all classes and categories takes place in conditions of particular harshness and particular hardship compared to the rest of the country. This region, which does not have well-defined geographical contours, but extends widely in the Alpine circle, extends along the Apennine ridges and is found in the major islands, results from the combination of our mountain areas’.
This is the voice of Michele Gortani, deputy of the Constituent Assembly, elected in Friuli, who on 13 May 1947 addressed the Assembly with these words.”
It was with this quote that President Mattarella initially addressed the assembly and the President of UNCEM.
In his speech, the President noted the focus is on the historical importance of recognising the mountain regions in Italy and the constitutional principles associated with them.
He emphasised the significance of the mountains, highlighting how Gortani’s proposal led to the inclusion of the “mountain cause” in the Constitution. Mattarella went on to discuss the evolving perceptions of mountains, from being seen as a resource deposit to potential tourist destinations. However, he underscored that the essence of the mountain regions lies in their people.
75 years since the Chivasso Charter
The Italian President also recalled the Declaration of the Alpine populations, known as the Chivasso Charter. The charter called for autonomy, language rights, and economic development for the mountain areas.
The importance of shared responsibility for caring for mountain areas was also emphasised, especially considering challenges posed by climate change and demographic shifts.
“As is natural, new challenges are added, imposed today by climate change and the demographic structure of the country; challenges that relaunch the issue of environmental protection as central to the survival and progress of many parts of Italy and the entire country. The floods continue to remind us of this, with deaths and destruction”, said Mattarella.
Mattarella called for legislative initiatives to be examined and considered in Parliament, aligning with constitutional provisions recognising the specificity of mountains.
Furthermore, the country’s President identified the need to address taxation issues for mountain areas, with the national priority of revitalising the Strategy for the Italian Mountains. Key rights for mountain regions, including healthcare, education, digital connectivity, and public transport accessibility were also highlighted.
To this end, the role of Regions and Mountain Communities in eliminating socio-economic imbalances and defending nature is important.