Mountains

Key messages

 

  • Covering around 27 percent of the earth's land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth.
  • Mountains are home to almost 15 percent of the world’s population.
  • Forests cover more than 40 percent of the global mountain area.
  • Mountains not only provide sustenance and well-being to 1.1 billion mountain people around the world but also indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
  • One in two rural mountain people in developing countries is vulnerable to food insecurity.
  • Indigenous and local populations in mountains have unique and valuable local knowledge, traditions and cultural practices that can contribute to effective land management strategies.
  • Mountains provide freshwater, energy and food - resources that will be increasingly scarce in coming decades.
  • 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.
  • Some of the world's largest cities, including New York, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Tokyo and Melbourne, are dependent on freshwater from mountains.
  • Mountains contribute to food and nutrition security by providing land for crops, grazing for livestock, watercourses for inland fisheries, and non-wood forest products such as berries, mushrooms and honey.
  • Of the 20 plant species that supply 80 percent of the world's food, six originated and have been diversified in mountains: maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes and apples.
  • Mountains are places of tourism and cultural trails. Mountain tourism accounts for about 15–20 percent the global tourism industry.
  • Mountains have a key role to play in providing renewable energy, especially through hydropower, solar power, wind power and biogas.

Videos

Kyrgyz mountain women collaborate with fashion designer Stella Jean Mountain women in Kyrgyzstan are working together with fashion designer Stella Jean to bring their traditional felt designs to the international market, thanks to a collaboration between the Mountain Partnership Products initiative, Topchu artisan group, FAO Women's Committee and Stella Jean. [more]
International Mountain Day 2020: Message from FAO Director General The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 11 December the International Day of Mountains. From 2003, the day is observed each year to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of mountains. [more]
International Mountain Day 2018: #MountainsMatter Mountains cover 22 percent of the world’s land surface and are home to roughly 13 percent of the world’s population. We all depend on mountains, for freshwater, agrobiodiversity, clean energy, timber and medicinal plants. Yet mountains are under threat from climate change in unprecedented way. [#print("more")]
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Publications

Vulnerability of mountain peoples to food insecurity This study adds further evidence that in the mountain regions of developing countries, food insecurity, social isolation, environmental degradation, exposure to the risk of disasters and to the impacts of climate change, and limited access to basic services, especially in rural areas, are still prevalent and, under some circumstances, increasing. [more]
Mountain recipes: cooks in high places In this recipe book, we feature the top 30 recipes from the International Mountain Day 2019 contest, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat to help promote mountain products and cultural traditions. Over 70 entries were received from 27 countries. [more]
Mountain agriculture: Opportunities for harnessing zero hunger in Asia Around 300 million mountain people are food insecure, with half of them suffering from chronic hunger. Yet, mountain agriculture offers enormous opportunities for zero hunger. This comprehensive publication conveys priority and entry points to turn the potential of mountain agriculture into real benefits for the Asian region. [more]

 

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Expert interviews

Why is the Mountain Partnership important? The Mountain Partnership is a United Nations voluntary alliance dedicated to improving the lives of mountain peoples and protecting mountain environments around the world. Thomas Hofer, the Coordinator of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, explains why the Mountain Partnership – the only global alliance specifically dedicated to mountain regions – is important. [more]
2030 Agenda on Mountains: Framework for Action Davide Bradanini, Alternate Permanent Representative of Italy to FAO, explains why the Framework for Action on implementing the 2030 Agenda for mountains is relevant and what Italy will do to support it. [more]
The role of mountains for the planet His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang was appointed a Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassador in May 2015. In this interview, he explains the role of mountains for the planet and what a Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassador can do to increase the visibility of the importance of mountains for sustainable development. [more]
Supporting sustainable mountain development in the context of the 2030 Agenda Why do mountains matter? Dominique Kohli, the Assistant Director-General of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, answers this question and tells us how the Mountain Partnership can support sustainable mountain development in the context of the 2030 Agenda. [more]
What is a Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassador? Arjun Gupta, a philanthropist and the founder of Telesoft Partners, was appointed a Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassador in December 2017. In this interview, he tells us what a Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassador is and how the private sector can support and promote sustainable mountain development. [more]
What the world can learn from mountains Jake Norton, a climber, photographer, filmmaker, philanthropist and inspirational speaker, was appointed a Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassador in December 2014. In this interview, he tells us what everyone can learn from mountains and how Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassadors can help mountain communities. [more]
A spotlight on mountains: Mapping the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food insecurity The ambassadors of Italy, the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Switzerland to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – Pierfrancesco Sacco, Luis Sánchez Gomez, François Pythoud – talk about how mountains contribute to sustainable development in this video. [more]
Mountain Vulnerability Report 329 million of mountain people are potentially food insecure and vulnerable, their number has risen by 30 percent since 2000. Thomas Hofer talks about alarming new data released for International Mountain Day by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Mountain Partnership. [more]
Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs talks about the vital goods and services that mountains provide to communities and the role of partnerships in promoting sustainable mountain development. [more]

 

Press releases and editorials

Mountain felt fashion: the next big thing? 8 March 2021 In Kyrgyzstan, where winter temperatures can plunge to -40 degrees Celsius, felt is a vital source of warmth for the local people and has a central role in their culture. It is a traditional material used to decorate yurts and make blankets and clothing. [more]
 Cultural heritage lifting rural mountain women out of poverty 8 March 2021 Mountain people are among the world’s poorest. Living in fragile ecosystems threatened by climate change and land degradation, one in every two rural mountain people in developing countries risks not having enough food for a healthy life. [more]

 

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last updated:  Thursday, February 25, 2021