Key messages                                      

Mountains

 

 

  • Covering around 25 percent of the earth's land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth.
  • Mountains not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 720 million mountain people around the world, but indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
  • Mountains provide freshwater, energy and food - resources that will be increasingly scarce in coming decades.

Mountains and water

 

  

  • 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.
  • Fresh water from mountains is fundamental for achieving global food security, as it is used by farmers to irrigate crops in many lowland agricultural regions.
  • Some of the world's largest cities, including New York, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Tokyo and Melbourne, are dependent on freshwater from mountains.

Mountains and energy

 

  

  • Mountains have a key role to play in providing renewable energy, especially through hydropower, solar power, wind power and biogas.
  • Hydropower currently provides around a fifth of all electricity worldwide, and some countries rely almost exclusively on mountains regions for hydropower generation.
  • Mountains in regions with a dry or tropical climate hold particular potential for the generation of solar energy.

Mountains and food

 

 

  • Mountains contribute to food and nutrition security by providing land for crops, grazing for livestock, water courses for inland fisheries, and non-wood forest products such as berries, mushrooms and honey.
  • Mountain farming has been a model for sustainable development for centuries and is inherently "green" thanks to its small-scall character and low-carbon footprint
  • 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.

 
   
last updated:  Thursday, February 6, 2014