At the outset permit me to thank the Permanent Representative of Argentina and her colleagues for organizing today’s observance of IMD.
I am pleased to be here with all of you, and in the interest of time, I will be brief as I draw attention to the some of the highlights of the IMD Message of the FAO Deputy General for Natural Resources, Ms Maria Helena Semedo, which has been made available here in the room for you.
The video recording of the message is also available on the websites of FAO and the Liaison Office.
In that message the DDG reiterates that IMD is an occasion to celebrate the importance of mountains to life and to reinforce our collective commitment to protect mountain environments and better the livelihoods of mountain people around the world.
Mountains are key to a sustainable future, drawing attention to the goods and services they provide not only to 720 million mountain people around the world, but to billions more living downstream.
Mountains can provide solutions such as in the careful management of mountain watersheds to help adapt to climate change.
Mountains also have a key role to play in providing clean energy such as hydropower, solar power and biogas. If managed sustainably, this provision can provide a source of income for many mountain communities.
Finally, 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.
Let us not forget on this IMD, the critical role of women - As mountain men often migrate to lowlands and cities in search of jobs, mountain women are left to manage the workload, yet they rarely participate in decisions affecting the management and use of natural resources.
Mountain women also require special attention.
We need to call to action mountain countries, organizations and communities to help ensure that mountains are included in the post 2015 Development Agenda and specifically in the Sustainable Development Goals.
So dear friends, let us in our celebration today, remember that mountains matter for everyone, as their future is our future.
Thank you very much