IMD events in Europe


From France to Albania, International Mountain Day (IMD) 2019 was a success in Europe. There were events to fit all interests, including athletics, literature, science and more.

For the fifth year in a row, the Alpine Convention paid tribute to Alpine literature with hundreds of festivities that took place across the continent. The literary festivals celebrate the cultural diversity of the Alps. See a map of all the reading festivals that took place.

Nearly 200 people gathered in the German Alps to celebrate IMD 2019 with the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus (UFS) and the Landratsamt Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The groups held an event that combined politics, science and culture to foster awareness of mountain-related topics among a wide audience. Stefan Dech from the German Space Agency presented about the “mountains seen from space“, followed by a panel discussion. The celebration concluded with live music set to satellite images of the world’s mountain ranges. Also in Germany, the Alpine Cryosphere Group at the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) organized photo and research abstract contests for IMD 2019.

In Switzerland, a dynamic discussion on many mountain topics - mountain exploration, mountain plants affected by global warming, mountain wolf populations and geographer Alexander von Humboldt, to name a few – was jointly hosted by CIPRA Schweiz, Mountain Wilderness Schweiz, SAC, Alpeninitiative, Forum Landschaft Alpen Pärke and the Alpine Museum.

The city of Lourdes, France, celebrated women mountaineering for IMD 2019. An interactive discussion was held about Anne Lister, who completed the first official ascent of the Vignemale: the highest peak in the French Pyrenees.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) office in Turkey held an IMD panel discussion in Ankara. The panel focused on the question, "How do #MountainsMatter for Youth?" The panel brought together representatives from the public, private and academic sectors. Yuka Makino, Coordinator of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, delivered a video message to those celebrating in Ankara. In Izmir, Turkey, Dokuz Eylul University held their sixth annual IMD event on 11 December. The university organized a high-level workshop, titled "Sustainable Governance of Mountainous Areas and Society 5.0", which involved the public, the private sector, civil society and the Izmir Governorship.

Many IMD events were held in Portugal. The Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO) and partners commemorated IMD with the “Mountain, Sport and Sustainable Development Days” from 13 to 14 December. The first day was devoted to a conference session of diverse stakeholders, while the second day was a hiking trip to Montesinho Mountain. MiratecArts commemorated IMD with the unveiling of the 2020 Montanha Pico Festival program. The sixth edition of the international mountain culture-themed art and adventure festival runs 3 to 31 January 2020. The Federação de Campismo e Montanhismo de Portugal (FCMP) organized an IMD discussion to bolster awareness of IMD and the challenges currently faced by mountain regions within the context of this year’s theme, “Mountains matter for youth”. In light of IMD 2019, the Associação Geopark Estrela offered a 16 hour crash course, called "The Mountains on a Changing Planet Course", from 7 to 8 December at the geopark. The course targeted both instructors and students interested in all topics concerning mountains, from climate change to culture.

In Spain, Les Guilles Junts Pels Camins organized a community walk to celebrate IMD. The walk encompassed the area of Turó de Tagamanent, a mountain of Catalonia; many similar hikes and treks were organized in Spain for IMD 2019. The Sobrarbe-Pyrenees Geopark hosted a two-day IMD celebration aimed at using images and music to appreciate the natural and cultural heritage of the Pyrenees-Mount Perdido, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In Greece, the Metsovio Interdisciplinary Research Center (MIRC) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) held an IMD event for primary school students from the mountain town of Metsovo. Activities included a lecture about hiking, given by master’s students studying the environment and development of mountain regions, and a “treasure hunt” in which the children found hidden words and phrases in books about mountains.

The National Organization of Mountain Municipalities, Communities and Bodies (UNCEM) in Italy held a forum in Rome in recognition of IMD 2019. The discussion focused on topics concerning mountains and lowlands, natural resources, development and cohesion, and local authorities.

IMD was celebrated in Romania with two national conferences dedicated to mountains. The first conference, “The Mountain Area – Main supplier of quality products”, was held 10 December. The following conference, “Mountains Matter for Youth”, was held 14 December.

In Albania on IMD, Albanian Alps Alliance chairperson Petrit Imeraj gave an interview on local media about the importance of mountains. The interview is part of the launch of the latest initiative of the Albanian Network for Rural Development’s "Rural Youth Hub", which involves rural youth, entrepreneurs and farmers who are motivated to participate in rural development.

Photo from Jesús Reina

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