The United Nations General Assembly designated 11 December as International Mountain Day. As of 2003, it has been observed every year 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.
Mountains are home to 15% of the world´s population and host about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. They provide freshwater for everyday life to half of humanity. Their conservation is a key factor for sustainable development and is part of Goal 15 of the SDGs.
Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. As the global climate continues to warm, mountain people — some of the world’s poorest — face even greater struggles to survive. The rising temperatures also mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people.
This problem affects us all. We must reduce our carbon footprint and take care of these natural treasures.
Mountain biodiversity is the theme of this year’s International Mountain Day, so let’s celebrate their rich biodiversity, as well as address the threats they face.
Mountains loom large in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Their unique topography, compressed climatic zones and isolation have created the conditions for a wide spectrum of life forms.
Biodiversity encompasses the variety of ecosystems, species and genetic resources, and mountains have many endemic varieties. The differentiated topography in terms of altitude, slope and exposure in mountains offers opportunities to grow a variety of high-value crops, horticulture, livestock and forest species.
The sustainable management of mountain biodiversity has been increasingly recognized as a global priority. Sustainable Development Goal 15 target four is dedicated to the conservation of mountains’ biodiversity in consideration of its global relevance. Biodiversity in all ecosystems is in focus, as the United Nations has declared 2021 to 2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and governments prepare to negotiate the post-2020 global biodiversity framework for adoption this year at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
11 December 2020 | 14:00 -15:15 CET | Online
Swiss Development Agency, Inter-Parliamentary Union, University of Geneva, Zoï Environment Network, Adaptation at Altitude
- Mapping the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food insecurity | FAO
- Why Invest in Sustainable Mountain Development | FAO
- Mountains and the Sustainable Development Goals | FAO and Mountain Partnership
- Biosphere Reserves in the Mountains of the World | UNESCO, Man and the Biosphere Program, Austrian Academy of Sciences
- Plastics are showing up in the world’s most remote places, including Mount Everest | Science News | 20 November 2020
- Plastic in the Mountains Briefing | Geneva Environment Network | 11 December 2018