IMD celebrated in over 35 countries in 2017


Over 180 events marked International Mountain Day (IMD) around the world on 11 December 2017, when mountaineers, mountain lovers, governments and civil society groups gathered to celebrate mountain peoples and environments. Celebrations took place in more than 35 countries, including Albania, Bangladesh, Canada, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Switzerland and the United States of America, among others. Festivities took the form of conferences, exhibitions, hikes, workshops, contests and readings.

As the lead coordinating UN agency for the preparation of this annual celebration, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) worked with decentralized offices, governments and civil society organizations to support awareness-raising events showing the importance of mountains to global sustainable development.

This year’s theme, “Mountains under pressure: climate, hunger, migration”, was the focus of many Mountain Partnership members’ seminars and conferences. IMD 2017 provided an occasion to highlight how climate, hunger and migration are affecting highlands and, as a consequence, lowlands, and to ensure that the goals defined by the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement are achieved in mountains.

The 2017 theme also coincided with that of the Mountain Partnership Global Meeting, held on 11-13 December at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. The Global Meeting opened on IMD with a political segment and was followed by two days of technical discussion. The Framework for Action, a concrete road map for putting in place long-lasting processes and establishing policies that strengthen the resilience of mountain peoples and environments, was launched at the start of the meeting and endorsed by the over 220 participating representatives of governments and civil society organizations. The IMD #MountainsMatter video contest winners, Nurlan Anarbaev of Kyrgyzstan and Jaya Setiawan Gulo of Indonesia, in the professional and general categories respectively, were also present at the Meeting as part of their prize, which entailed a trip to Rome.

At global level, the day presented an opportunity to make strong calls for action. The Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Cristiana Paşca Palmer, released a statement about the importance of protecting and restoring biodiversity for promoting resilience in mountain landscapes. “The importance of mountains for human well-being cannot be overstated,” said Palmer.

Algeria, Argentina and Madagascar celebrated IMD at national level, raising awareness about the importance of mountains to their countries and calling attention to the challenges faces these ecosystems, such as land degradation and waste. At regional level, the conference “Resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya: develop solutions towards a sustainable future for Asia”, hosted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and Nepal’s Ministry of Population, discussed resilience issues in the Hindu Kush Himalaya – which is the source of ten major river systems in Asia that provide water, ecosystem services and livelihoods to more than 210 million people and which distributes water for more than 1.3 billion people living in downstream river basins – on 3-6 December.

United Nations headquarters in New York also hosted an IMD celebration, organized by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Kyrgyzstan and Peru to the United Nations with participation by the United Nations Development Programme, the Alpine Convention, the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions and the FAO Liaison Office. The event highlighted the results achieved in mountain regions in the last 15 years; identified ways to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Sendai Framework and Paris Agreement from a mountain perspective; and shared experiences from regional, national and international level in solving challenges while involving all relevant stakeholders and building on existing partnerships.

IMD was also a great success on the web and in the media. Visitors to the IMD website reached nearly 3 900 on 11 December, an increase of nearly 2 000 visitors from the year prior. Global media coverage of the day was also very extensive, with more than 100 related articles published by major national and international news wires, and news web portals, the press in Bolivia, Italy, Pakistan and Spain, among others, featuring news articles.

Read more 

Watch the winning videos from the #MountainsMatter video contest: professional category and general category 

More pictures of IMD celebrations are available on the Mountain Partnership’s Flickr gallery 

Photo: Jesús Reina Fraile

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