International mountain day
- International mountain day
- Tue, 11. December 2018
- International Days, Years etc
photo credit: FAO/ Rustam Maliov - mountains in Tajikstan
International Mountain Day has its roots in 1992, when the adoption of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development put a milestone in the history of mountain development. The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN General Assembly to declare 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains. On this occasion, the UN General Assembly has designated 11 December, from 2003 onwards, as “International Mountain Day”. FAO is the coordinating agency for the coordinating this celebration (IMD) and is mandated to lead observance of it at the global level. The Water and Mountains Team of the Forestry Department is responsible for coordinating this international process.
Mountains are vital for our lives
Almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy. Yet mountains are under threat from climate change, land degradation, over exploitation and natural disasters, with potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world.
Mountains are early indicators of climate change and as global climate continues to warm, mountain people — some of the world’s hungriest and 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. Mountain communities, however, have a wealth of knowledge and strategies accumulated over generations, on how to adapt to climate variability.
Climate change, climate variability and climate-induced disasters, combined with political, economic and social marginalization, increase the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food shortages and extreme poverty. Currently, 1 in 3 people in developing countries is estimated to be vulnerable to food insecurity.
Facts and Figures
- Mountains cover around 22 percent of the earth's land surface.
- Mountains provide 60-80 percent of the world's freshwater - without which sustainable development that aims to eliminate poverty and hunger would not be possible.
- Mountains host 25 percent of terrestrial biodiversity and 28 percent of earth’s forests.
- 6 of the 20 most important food crops originate in mountains (potatoes, maize, barley, sorghum, apples, tomatoes).
- Mountains attract 15-20 percent of global tourism.
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