International Mountain Day
In 2005, there were an estimated 150 FAO field projects related to sustainable mountain development underway in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Near East and Eastern Europe.
Number of on-going FAO field projects related to sustainable mountain development, by region (2004/2005).
The majority of FAO's mountain-related field projects are in Latin America and Asia, regions with the world's highest and most celebrated ranges: the Andes and the Himalaya. In Africa, a striking majority of field projects are located in eastern Africa, along the East African rift zone. In the Near East, one cluster of projects is found in North Africa and another on the Arabian Peninsula, while in Europe FAO's work in mountains focuses on the Carpathians and the eastern foothills of the Alps. The duration of FAO mountain-related field projects varies from six months to 8 years. The short-term projects are usually emergency interventions in a disaster-prone area or TeleFood Projects. Long-term projects usually include strategies to improve the policy environment for sustainable mountain development.
These field projects are improving the lives and livelihood opportunities of mountain people and enhancing the sustainable development of mountain areas through:
Telefood Special Fund
The TeleFood Special Fund (TSF) was set up in 1997 to finance grassroots-level micro-projects in developing countries and countries in transition. TeleFood projects are intended to improve poor families' means of production, enabling them to produce more food and to generate cash income, thereby allowing them better access to food.
Each TeleFood project should provide direct assistance to groups of small-scale farmers, fishermen, herders or rural poor of a particular village or community, or local institutions such as schools and health centres, in the launching of new food production and income-generating activities.
Lead technical units
In the Agriculture Department, the Plant Production and Protection Division (AGP) and the Land and Water Development Division (AGL) are particularly active. The Field Operation Division (TCO) of TC is the lead technical unit for 47 projects, of which 40 are FAO TeleFood projects. Many Telefood projects happen to be developed in the world's mountain areas. The Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division (TCE) is the lead technical unit responsible for another 7 projects.
Other important technical departments
Additionally, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) and the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (RLC) operate also as lead technical units for FAO field projects.