Country support

In 1998, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2002 as the International Year of Mountains and invited FAO to serve as the lead agency for the Year, in collaboration with governments, UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO and other UN and non-governmental organizations.

The UN International Year of Mountains was a unique opportunity to draw the world's attention to the importance of mountains to life, to share information, educate people and stimulate long-term action to improve mountain lives and environments.

As lead agency for the International Year of Mountains, FAO helped to mobilize action by producing, promoting and distributing a wide range of promotional and information materials throughout the Year. Its intensive global media relations programme built awareness of the Year's key messages through newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, while its outreach programme helped NGOs, civil society and grassroots' organizations around the world communicate about mountain issues to their members and audiences.

But the International Year of Mountains was more than a communications campaign. As lead coordinating agency for the Year, FAO supported the development of 78 national committees to initiate concrete action. That action continues today. Many of these national committees have involved into permanent bodies, developing national strategic plans, creating fair polices and laws and implementing sustainable mountain development.

Importantly, FAO and its partners reinforced alliances with stakeholders in mountain issues during the International Year of Mountains. This partnership- building culminated in the launch of the Mountain Partnership (World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, September 2002). The Mountain Partnership is an international, voluntary alliance of over 120 members (countries, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, NGOs and the private sector) taps the wealth and diversity of its collective resources, information, knowledge, and expertise to bring positive change to the world's mountain areas. FAO hosts the Secretariat to support the Mountain Partnership.

In addition, the multistakeholder four-year Project (2005 - 2008) for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions (SARD-M) addresses policy issues and bolsters institutions. It aims to support the rural livelihoods of mountain peoples by facilitating the design, review, implementation and evaluation of relevant policy packages and institutional processes promoting SARD in mountain regions at global, regional, national and local levels.

Its specific objectives are to:

  • Raise public understanding about mountain ecosystems and the need for incisive sustainable development policies;
  • Build the capacity of governments and other stakeholders with local power bases to promote SARD mountain-relevant policies and develop ways of analysing strengths and weaknesses of existing mountain policies;
  • Support the implementation of SARD policies by advocacy work, regional and inter-regional workshops and exchanges of experiences."

last updated:  Tuesday, October 16, 2012