Blog: 2016 UIAA General Assembly

15 Oct, 2016

The 2016 UIAA General Assembly is currently taking place in Brixen (Bressanone), Südtirol.

The event, the largest annual gathering of UIAA member federations and representatives, is being hosted during the International Mountain Summit (IMS), and is organised in conjunction with the Alpenverein Südtirol AVS and the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI)

The UIAA General Assembly itself starts on Saturday 15 October and will welcome over 130 delegates and member federations from all continents including renowned international mountaineers Reinhold Messner and Doug Scott as well as UIAA honorary members Ang Tshering Sherpa, Claude Eckhardt and Jordi Pons-Sangines.

A full review of the 2016 UIAA General Assembly will be published on Monday 17 October.

The UIAA Blog

Saturday 15, October, afternoon


Mr Reinhold Messner was among the speakers during the afternoon of the UIAA General Assembly. Mr Messner addressed the audience, passionately presenting the subject  'There is no crisis in alpinism only in showing what it is.'  Mr Messner was later confirmed as Honorary Member of the UIAA.

Reinhold Messner becomes UIAA Honorary Member

One of the final acts of the 2016 UIAA General Assembly was the honouring of world famous explorer and mountaineer Reinhold Messner as UIAA honorary member.


Brixen-born Messner was recognized by the UIAA for his legendary feats in the world of mountaineering, including his status as both the first man to climb all fourteen of the world’s 8,000m peaks and as the first climber to document a solo ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. A feat which many believed at the time to be impossible. Throughout his life, Mr Messner, who chooses to climb alone and without the support of artificial means, has always challenged the perceived limits of what is possible. These are just some of the incredible achievements of Mr Messner throughout a career which has witnessed over 3,000m climbs, many on new routes.

Mr Messner, a climber, writer and photographer and one-time member of the European parliament, was also recognized for his work in sharing his adventures and his passion for the mountain environment, which includes his numerous works of literature and foundation of six museums dedicated to art, culture, religion and peculiarities of mountain regions throughout the world.

"Mr Messner is a true pioneer and an individual who has pushed the boundaries of mountaineering, setting new standards for future generations by challenging the perceived limits of what is possible,” explained UIAA President Frits Vrijlandt. "His passion for the mountain world, and desire to share his adventures with others, is well documented in his many works of literature and at the museums he has founded. An individual who has climbed throughout the world, and on many new routes, Mr Messner is a genuine global ambassador for climbing and mountaineering.”

UIAA Elections


Frits Vrijlandt was re-elected as UIAA President for a second term. "I am honoured to have served as the UIAA President over the past four years and very happy with what has been achieved. We succeeded with much of our Strategic Plan and we now have a new one to follow. I am looking forward to the next four years working together," explained Vrijlandt.


During Saturday’s elections, Yongfeng Wang (Chinese Mountaineering Association) was elected to the UIAA Executive Board.

Saturday 15, October, morning

Welcome from the AVS

Following a welcome message from AVS President Georg Simeoni, the UIAA General Assembly is underway.

Five new full UIAA members 

Sediqa Noristani (Afghanistan Climbing & Mountaineering Federation (AMCF)  

The UIAA is delighted to announce five new full member federations: Afghanistan Climbing & Mountaineering Federation (AMCF), Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Albanian Mountaineering Federation, Federacion Nacional de Andinismo de Guatemala,Fédération Royale Marocaine de Ski et Montagne.

Strategic Plan 2017-2020


The UIAA Vice-President Peter Farkas (pictured) reviews the Strategic Plan 2013-16 and presents the approved Strategic Plan 2017-2020, focused around the three pillars of safety, sport and sustainability. 


Friday, 14 October, evening

IMS presentation

IMS co-founder Alex Ploner presented the International Mountain Summit (IMS) to representatives from UIAA member federations. Ploner, a former journalist, explained that the IMS was created eight years ago as a concept which ‘must be international, must be a summit, and must be about mountains’. He recalled the very first IMS conference where British mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington was the headline guest, the first of many legendary alpinists to speak at the conference. Ploner emphasized that the IMS represents all kinds of everyday mountain users and residents, from children through to farmers through to famous climbers.

Mountain Protection Award winner announced

Dr Carolina Adler,  Pauline Müller, Freddy Meignan and Frits Vrijlandt.

Mountain Wilderness, a French-based project dedicated principally to the removal of obsolete facilities and infrastructures in the European Alps, was confirmed as the winner of the 2016 UIAA Mountain Protection Award. Now in its fourth year, the UIAA Mountain Protection Award continues to grow as an internationally-recognised forum for projects, companies and initiatives which support sustainable tourist practices in mountain regions. The 2016 Award showcased 23 projects from 19 different countries on five continents.

The Award was presented to Mountain Wilderness representatives Freddy Meignan and Pauline Müller by UIAA Mountain Protection Commission President Dr Carolina Adler and the UIAA President Frits Vrijlandt.

The UIAA also recognised the Mount Everest Biogas Project (USA) as the best new initiative and Waste Warriors (India) was confirmed as the 2016 UIAA Mountain Protection Award runner-up.

A full profile of Mountain Wilderness will be available shortly.

Recognition for UIAA members

Three UIAA honorary members – Jordi Pons Sangines, Ang Tshering Sherpa (above) and Claude Eckhardt – were presented with special gold pins by the UIAA.

Meanwhile, the UIAA also recognised five management committee members who are retiring from their positions after years of dedicated service. They are Frank Urs Muller, Petronella Grobler, Pierre Humblet, David Hillebrandt and Israfil Ashurly.

A full round up of the 2016 UIAA General Assembly will be published on Monday 17 October.