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When avalanches shape culture

23.01.2019 – Marc Lettau

UNESCO has added the centuries-old knowledge of how to deal with the risk of avalanches to its “Intangible Cultural Heritage List”. Switzerland submitted its candidacy together with Austria. In both alpine countries, avalanche protection has led to a new collective approach to hazards and new strategies, says UNESCO. This includes the training of search dogs, snow analyses, avalanche documentation, protective structures and the training of mountain guides.

Geneva halts e-voting

The Canton of Geneva has announced that it will halt its e-voting project by February 2020 at the latest. This surprising announcement is a setback, as for 15 years the canton of Geneva has been considered a pioneer in the field of e-voting. The Geneva government says its decision has been taken for financial reasons rather than on safety grounds. Geneva’s withdrawal has far-reaching consequences since other cantons also use the Geneva system. It is still unclear how these cantons will react to Geneva’s pullout in the near future. However, it is clear that the cantons of Basel-Stadt, Berne, Fribourg, Lucerne and Geneva will continue to be allowed to carry out trials with electronic voting. The Federal Council has just renewed the initial licence for this.

Federal Council presents framework agreement

At the beginning of December, the Federal Council published the eagerly awaited draft of the Framework Agreement with the European Union (EU). The agreement is intended to regulate in which areas and to what extent Swiss law will have to be adapted to EU law, which is constantly evolving. However, the publication of the draft treaty only provides limited clarification. The Federal Council itself neither approves nor rejects the draft. It is now starting a consultation procedure and will then examine whether it is necessary to seek further discussions with the EU.

Basel’s trade fair closes

The Muba Basel trade fair has come to an end after more than 100 years. It will take place for the last time from 8 to 17 February 2019. First held in 1916, it attracted more than a million visitors in its heyday. Its closure represents a general trend. The Zurich branch of Muba, Züspa, was held for the last time in 2018, as was the Comptoir Suisse in Lausanne. The two agricultural trade fairs Olma (St. Gallen) and BEA (Berne) are continuing.