As of 2003, International Mountain Day has been observed every year on 11 December to create 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. #MountainsMatter
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is the coordinating agency for the preparation and animation of this celebration and is mandated to lead observance of it at the global level.
2022: International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development
As per resolution A/76/L.28 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2021, the year 2022 has been declared as the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. The resolution invites Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, other international organizations and stakeholders, including civil society, private sector and academia, to observe the International Year to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable mountain development and the conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems.
2022 Theme: Women Move Mountains
The theme of this year’s International Mountain Day (IMD) on 11 December will be Women move mountains. Women play a key role in mountains’ environmental protection and social and economic development. They are often the primary managers of mountain resources, guardians of biodiversity, keepers of traditional knowledge, custodians of local culture, and experts in traditional medicine.
Increasing climate variability, coupled with a lack of investment in mountain agriculture and rural development, has often pushed men to migrate elsewhere in search of alternative livelihoods. Women have therefore taken on many tasks formerly done by men, yet mountain women are often invisible due to a lack of decision-making power and unequal access to resources.
As farmers, market sellers, businesswomen, artisans, entrepreneurs, and community leaders, mountain women and girls, in particular in rural areas, have the potential to be major agents of change. When rural women have access to resources, services, and opportunities, they become a driving force against hunger, malnutrition, and rural poverty and are active in the development of mountain economies.
International Mountain Day 2022 is an opportunity to promote gender equality and therefore contribute to improving social justice, livelihoods and resilience.
Mountains and the Environment
Covering around 27% of the earth’s land surface and home to 15% of the world’s population, mountains are essential for human lives and livelihoods. Mountains regions provide freshwater, energy and food – resources that will be increasingly scarce in coming decades. Mountains also host about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. However, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. Learn more about the role of mountains for sustainable development and the environmental challenges faced by these regions (including glaciers melting and plastic pollution) below.
Gender and the Environment
While men and women must work hand in hand to confront the environmental challenges of our time, considerations of gender and environment are crucial to our ability to achieve a just and sustainable future. As the 2022 edition of International Mountain Day focuses on the contribution of and challenges faced by women in mountain regions, it offers the occasion to reflect on the broader nexus of gender and the environment. Find more information on the relevance of gender to various environmental issues in the link below.
Celebrations around the globe for International Mountain Day can be seen on the official website. Events happening in Geneva are flagged below.