Discussions at the Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership focused on the agenda for the Mountain Partnership going forward, on advocating for bringing mountain-related issues to “the fore and the core” of relevant international processes, and on action on the ground.
At the conclusion of the meeting, participants endorsed the Aspen Declaration where members of the Mountain Partnership commit to increase efforts towards implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Members of the Mountain Partnership agreed to jointly promote the sustainable development of mountain areas, address the challenges faced by mountain countries in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in so doing, foster linkages with the international climate, biodiversity, and other processes.
As per the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary of the meeting, mountains cover about 27% of the Earth’s land area and help stabilize slopes, regulate the climate and hydrological cycles, and support livelihoods of billions of people, among other ecosystem services they provide. Mountains are home to about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, and 30% of all key biodiversity areas are located in mountainous regions. Mountains also play an important role in providing renewable energy, including hydro-, solar, and wind power.
Climate change, ENB writes, is negatively impacting food security, agriculture, and the provision of ecosystem services across many mountainous regions worldwide. It further notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing vulnerabilities.
The Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership took place in Aspen, Colorado, US, from 27-29 September 2022, under the theme, ‘Mountains Matter: Ideas to Action/Building Alliances for Resilient Mountains.’ Discussions focused on the agenda for the Mountain Partnership going forward, on advocating for bringing mountain-related issues to “the fore and the core” of relevant international processes, and on action on the ground.
At the conclusion of the meeting, participants endorsed the Aspen Declaration, which describes the essential role mountain ecosystems play in providing essential goods and services, such as water, food, and diversity to the planet, as well as being home to 1.1 billion people. It highlights the vulnerability of mountain ecosystems and the need for ways to protect them.
Among other pledges, members of the Mountain Partnership commit to:
- increase efforts towards implementation of the 2030 Agenda, aiming to secure the contribution of resilient mountain ecosystems and communities to a more sustainable world;
- support the establishment of processes and mechanisms within the Partnership that engage diverse stakeholders and rights holders;
- mobilize countries with mountainous territories to “jointly advocate for their interaction” with UN multilateral processes, including following up on implementation of major outcomes such as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, currently under negotiation in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD);
- promote cooperation among mountain countries on economy, social development, environment, culture, tourism, science, and education, to achieve the SDGs;
- support the ongoing efforts toward the establishment of “globally binding instruments to combat plastic pollution”; and
- encourage efforts to address the underlying drivers of vulnerability to climate change, including poverty, marginalization, exclusion from social safety nets, and gender inequalities.
Members also elected a new Steering Committee for the Mountain Partnership and updated several of the Mountain Partnership’s strategy documents.
The meeting was the main event of the UN International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development 2022 (IYSMD). It was organized and hosted by the Aspen International Mountain Foundation (AIMF), and co-hosted by the State of Colorado, the City of Aspen, and the Aspen Institute. [ENB Coverage of the Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership]