International Mountain Day 11 December
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
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
This problem affects us all. We must reduce our carbon
footprint and take care of these natural treasures.
The increasing attention to the importance of mountains
led the UN to declare to 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains. The first
international day was celebrated for the first time the following year, 2003.
Its roots date back to 1992, when the document “Managing
Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” (called
Chapter 13), was adopted as part of the action plan Agenda 21 of
the Conference on Environment and Development.
2020 Theme: Mountain biodiversity
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.
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.
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.
example, mountain pastoralists in Pakistan have a highly treasured livestock
genetic resource pool with special traits bred into animals, such as disease
resilience, which can help adaption to changing climate. Nearly 70% of mountain
land is used for grazing and provides manure that enhances soil fertility.
Livestock not only produces food items such as milk, butter and meat, but also
valuable by-products, such as some of the most precious yarns, like cashmere
climate change, unsustainable farming practices, commercial mining, logging,
and poaching all exact a heavy toll on mountain biodiversity. In addition, land
use and land cover change, and natural disasters, accelerate biodiversity loss
and contribute to creating a fragile environment for mountain communities.
Ecosystem degradation, loss of livelihoods and migration in mountains can lead
to the abandonment of cultural practices and ancient traditions that have
sustained biodiversity for generations.
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).
this International Day 2020 with your community and friends preparing an event
or joining the conversation on social media using the hashtag #MountainsMatter.