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, quinoa, 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.


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. [more]
International Mountain Day 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]
Mountains and Climate Change: A Global Concern In a changing climate, mountain regions are among the most vulnerable. They provide the world with resources such as water, timber, biodiversity and hydraulic energy and they are at risk. [more]
Papua New Guinea: First National Forest Inventory and Biodiversity Survey Papua New Guinea is embarking on its first national forest inventory (NFI) under the arrangements for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)+. [more]


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Our journey in 2017 – Mountain Partnership Secretariat Annual Report In its 2017 annual report, the Mountain Partnership Secretariat outlines its key achievements in promoting sustainable mountain development during 2017. The publication documents the Secretariat’s work in the areas of advocacy, communication and knowledge management, promoting International Mountain Day, brokering joint action and leading capacity development initiatives. [more]
15 years of Mountain Partnership This publication celebrates the work of the Mountain Partnership, the only UN alliance dedicated to improving the lives of mountain communities and their ecosystems, over 15 years. [more]
Leaving No One in Mountains Behind: Localizing the SDGs for resilience of mountain people and ecosystems Pledged to “leave no one behind”, the United Nations 2030 Agenda and sustainable development goals (SDGs) have major potential to advance sustainable mountain development and strengthen the resilience of communities and ecosystems in mountain areas. [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

About one billion people live in mountainous areas around the world, but we all depend, in some way, on healthy mountains and their benefits, including water, food, energy, biodiversity and employment. [more]
Slow Food and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat to bolster mountain people’s livelihoods Slow Food and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, hosted by FAO, have signed an agreement to improve the livelihoods of mountain people, with special focus on Cordillera's mountain community in the Philippines. [more]
Governments and civil society step up efforts to help mountain people better cope with climate change, hunger and migration Some 60 countries and over 200 civil society organizations pledged today on International Mountain Day to strengthen mountain people’s and their environments’ resilience in the face of rising climate change, hunger and migration, and ensure sustainable mountain development is integrated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. [more]


More press releases

last updated:  Thursday, September 26, 2019