IMD2017 Galvanizes Action, Highlights Challenges for Mountain Communities
UN Photo/Gill Fickling
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International Mountain Day (IMD2017) addressed the theme, 'Mountains under pressure: climate, hunger, migration'.

Participants at a Mountain Partnership Global Meeting pledged to make sustainable mountain development and mountain ecosystem conservation an integral part of their development policies.

Ahead of IMD2017, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg pledged €9 million in support of a UNEP initiative to preserve threatened mountain species.

11 December 2017: Global celebrations of the 2017 International Mountain Day (IMD2017) explored the nexus between climate-related shocks, food insecurity and migration patterns in mountain areas. Approximately 60 governments and 200 civil society organizations in conjunction with a Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership in Rome, Italy, signed a Framework for Action to put in place long-lasting processes and establish policies that strengthen the resilience of mountain peoples and environments, in the context of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

IMD2017 addressed the theme, ‘Mountains under pressure: climate, hunger, migration.’ A Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) study exploring this topic noted that one billion mountain people – about 13% of the global population – are increasingly affected by climate change and climate-induced disasters. With half the human population dependent on mountains for water, food and clean energy, the study notes that a litany of threats, ranging from climate change, land degradation, over-exploitation and natural disasters, could have potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world.

Coinciding with IMD2017 and the 15th anniversary of the Mountain Partnership, representatives from mountain countries, intergovernmental organizations and civil society are participating at the 5th Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 11-13 December. On the first day of the Global Meeting and to mark the Day, participants launched a Framework for Action, concluded a high-level segment, and pledged to make sustainable mountain development and mountain ecosystem conservation an integral part of their development policies.

Ahead of IMD2017, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg pledged €9 million in support to a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) initiative to preserve threatened mountain species. The pledge, which was announced during the third session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-3), which took place from 4-6 December in Nairobi, Kenya, focuses on mountain species such as snow leopards, mountain gorillas and Bengal tigers, whose natural habitats are expected to change significantly in the next 50 years due to climate change. The joint “Vanishing Treasures” programme will seek to address direct pressures from climate change as well as indirect ones posed by how local communities react to it.

Also coinciding with IMD2017, FAO launched a publication titled, ‘Watershed Management in Action,’ which highlights the role mountain watersheds play in supplying freshwater to humankind and reducing the risk of natural disasters for downstream communities. The publication presents lessons learned and recommendations based on a comparative review of 12 FAO-supported projects testing new watershed management approaches over the past decade in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, the Gambia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Tanzania and Zambia.

Other IMD2017-related initiatives included the announcement of winners of the International Mountain Day ‘#MountainsMatter’ video contest organized by FAO. The winners received a trip to Rome, Italy to see their videos shown at the Mountain Partnership Global Meeting.

Commemorated annually since 2003, International Mountain Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development, and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world. The Mountain Partnership was founded in 2002 by the Governments of Italy and Switzerland, in collaboration with FAO and UNEP. The Partnership currently comprises more than 300 member organizations drawn from governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and the private sector. [FAO Press Release on the Day] [FAO Press Release on Global Meeting] [Mountain Partnership Press Release on Global Meeting] [IISD RS Coverage of the 5th Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership] [International Mountain Day Website] [FAO Press Release on IMD2017 Video Contest Winners] [Agenda 2030 Framework for Action] [UNEP Press Release on “Vanishing Treasures” Programme] [Watershed Management in Action: Lessons Learned from FAO Field Projects] [Mountains Under Pressure: Climate, hunger and migration]


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