The UN Secretary-General underscored the impact of climate change on mountains during a trip to Tajikistan.
The conference, ‘The Role of Women in Mountain Regions,’ concluded with a Declaration.
A consortium of universities from Andorra, Portugal and Spain signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conduct joint activities and research on mountain issues, including climate change.
The Third World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference highlighted synergies between mountain tourism and the alleviation of poverty and hunger.
15 June 2017: While Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 on life on land includes a specific target on mountains, recent events demonstrated the links between mountain issues and other SDGs on gender, climate, hunger and poverty. The UN Secretary-General, for instance, underscored the impact of climate change on mountains during a trip to Tajikistan, while other events highlighted how sustainable mountain tourism contributes to economic and food security. Another conference addressed the role of women and mountains, while a consortium of universities from Andorra, Portugal and Spain signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a research network focused on mountain issues, including the impacts of climate change.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his calls for climate action during a visit to Tajikistan on 12 June. He said Tajikistan’s glacier area has decreased by 30-35% over the past decades, stressing that the countries of Central Asia face serious consequences from climate change, including melting glaciers, growing desertification, and drying and disappearing rivers. Guterres expressed “tremendous shock” at seeing the ecological destruction of the Aral Sea and urged making it a lesson for the international community to mobilize to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change. During a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon also highlighted the negative impacts of climate change on his country, especially on agriculture, industry and hydropower.
Guterres expressed “tremendous shock” at seeing the ecological destruction of the Aral Sea and urged making it a lesson for the international community to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The Third World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference highlighted synergies between mountain tourism and the alleviation of poverty and hunger, underscoring the protection of mountain products and services as a strategy to enhance livelihoods and develop mountain economies. Speaking at the event, Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, said the government has focused on “sustainable development of the country’s mountain destinations, including implementation of major infrastructural projects.” UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, reminded participants that this year is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and highlighted sustainable tourism’s potential to foster more committed enterprises, institutions and travelers. The conference also addressed, inter alia: challenges and long-term outlook for sustainable tourism in mountain destinations; integrated approaches to developing and planning mountain destinations; investment and inventive policies; product diversification; and innovation and digital media for mountain destinations. The event took place in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 4-7 April 2017.
On women and mountains, the Austrian Presidency of the Alpine Convention organized the conference, ‘The Role of Women in Mountain Regions.’ It concluded with a Declaration providing recommendations on strengthening the role of women, such as through implementing global, regional and national level measures to improve women’s access to labor markets and to increase their representation in relevant forums, among others. In her keynote speech, Deputy Secretary General of the Alpine Convention Marianna Elmi called attention to the need to increase women’s participation as well provide an ideal framework for developing female professional potential. The event convened from 18-19 April 2017.
A group of universities from Andorra, Portugal and Spain created an Iberian research network to promote research and innovation in mountain areas on the Iberian Peninsula. The Rede Ibérica de Investigação de Montanha (RIIM) partnership is an initiative of the Centro de Investigacao de Montanha (CIMO) and includes 19 partners, including the Mountain Partnership and the Mountain Research Initiative. In recognition of the importance of mountain areas in the three countries for biodiversity conservation, geological diversity, provision of environmental services, production of high-value, high-quality goods and conservation of material and cultural heritage, partners agreed to undertake joint activities and research. Partners stressed RIIM’s role in understanding climate change, including its socio-economic effects and the potential of local populations in mountain areas to adapt to it. CIMO Coordinator, Isabel Ferreira, said “it makes sense to address all mountain issues, ranging from climate change to forests, the environment, the agri-food sector, tourism and health” together as part of the Initiative. RIIM was established at the Instituto Politécnico de Bragança in Portugal.
SDG target 15.4 calls for, by 2030, to “ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development,” [Statement by UN Secretary-General Spokesperson] [UNWTO Press Release on Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference] [Mountain Partnership Press Release on Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference] [Mountain Partnership Press Release on UN Secretary-General Visit to Tajikistan] [Mountain Partnership Press Release on Women and Mountains] [Mountain Partnership Press Release on RIIM]