MEMBERSHIP BY THE MCSA OF THE UIAA (INTERNATIONAL ALPINE ASSOCIATION) –
What’s in it for me, an ordinary MCSA member?
President Dave Jones: "A very good question given that a significant
portion of an MCSA member’s annual Cencom Levy goes towards meeting
UIAA subscriptions, payable in Swiss Francs, and virtually all meetings are
held in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the potential benefits are very
real and expanding each year which is why, together with our other lonely
Southern Hemisphere member federation New Zealand, we remain active
and valued members.
While much can be said of the pleasures of being recognized after many
years in the political wilderness and of the opportunities of networking and
of taking an active part in the activities of various UIAA Commissions (The
actual working committees of the organization) this does not answer the
question. But the good news is that the same question has recently been
asked by very powerful federations, two of whom have actually withdrawn
their membership (The German and Austrian clubs with a combined
membership of around 750 00) This was partly because they felt that not
enough was on offer for individual members. This has brought about a
serious re-think and under the forceful leadership of the UIAA President,
Mike Mortimer of the Canadian Alpine Club, the organization is determined
to transform itself and to give better value.
There is still some way to go in this process, but at the 2010 General
Assembly there was the biggest ever attendance while 6 new federations
applied for and were granted membership. A new CEO was introduced
with a strong mountain organizational background and there was a strong
emphasis on more effective and efficient working groups. Perhaps even
more significant, were clear indications that the Germans and the
Austrians will be coming back into the fold. Part of the past slump in UIAA
support has been ascribed to an over-emphasis on the narrow needs of
competition sport while making application for, and being granted
membership and recognition by the International Olympic Association.
Competition Climbers and Alpine Skiers have since hived off leaving only
Ice Climbing still in the UIAA, but no harm appears to have been done. The
UIAA remains part of the Olympic movement and can go back to better
meeting the needs of ordinary mountaineers.
No MCSA member planning a climbing or mountain hiking trip overseas
should consider going it alone but should first see what support and advice
can be given by the UIAA head office or by member federations in the area
they plan to visit. Those going into wild parts of the planet in search of
high mountains should also check first to see what information and advice
is available on the UIAA web site as there is much on offer.
(www.theuiaa.org) At even the most basic level, it is remarkable what
discounts are available to card carrying members affiliated to the UIAA at
overseas camp sites and climbing shops. (See the UIAA sticker on the
reverse side of the official MCSA membership card.)
Ten examples of advantage to individual members, as confirmed at the
2010 General Assembly held in the Italian Alps in October:
1. A feeling of value, as the contributions of the MCSA to UIAA
Commissions are recognised and we are accepted as the voice for Africa
as currently its sole member federation.
2. A network of valuable information available from UIAA web pages and
open channels of communication with other member federations.
3. Useful mountain health advice readily available from the Medical
Commission. Its historic emphasis on high altitude conditions is now being
augmented by sound advice for mature climbers and hikers venturing into
the mountains with pre-existing medical conditions.
4. A growing data base of access and license requirements for high
5. Safety standards in mountain training and in climbing equipment are
maintained. All reputable manufacturers of climbing equipment send their
gear for testing by the UIAA Safety Commission. Only gear which passes
this stringent testing carries the UIAA logo.
6. International Training Standards for mountain guides are under constant
review by the UIAA. These are respected by commercial companies which
offers security for their clients.
7. A Mountain Protection label is under development by this Commission
which can be awarded to commercial companies to confirm to potential
clients that they follow a best practice approach.
8. Youth Development funding is available through IOC affiliation of the
UIAA for youth training and development.
9. A Working Group on hut reciprocity has been set up to establish a
uniform system for the reciprocal use of mountain huts by member
federations. This could expand the existing bi-lateral mountain hut
reciprocity agreement which is already in force between the MCSA and the
N.Z. Alpine Club.
10. A Working Group on traditional climbing has been set up to preserve
the historic elements of this approach in parallel to modern sport
UIAA COMMUNICATION WITH THE MCSA
With the UIAA Board looking for ways to improve contacts with the UIAA
member federations, the following MCSA members will fill the listed the
portfolios. Members are welcome to take any issues for UIAA attention up
President: Dave Jones E-mail : (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Training officer/ leadership development : Fran Hunziker (email@example.com)
Communications : Petro Grobler (firstname.lastname@example.org) Webmaster : Roland Magg (email@example.com)
Environment : Maretha Alant E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Access : Jeremy Colenso (email@example.com) (NOTE : MCSA member of UIAA Access Commission)
Competition sports : Greg Borman (Greg.Borman@af.aurecongroup.com)
Youth : Jennifer Paterson E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org (NOTE : MCSA corresponding member of UIAA Youth Commission)