Keeping high the mountain agenda for post 2015


Mountains were celebrated at the United Nations in New York, USA, with an event co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Argentina, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS). 

The event was held to mark International Mountain Day and focused on the relevance of mountains and rural development in a post 2015 world. Representatives of more than 20 governments as well as major groups and intergovernmental organizations attended the event.

The discussion was chaired by H.E. Ms María Cristina Perceval, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations. Panellists included  H.E. Mr Pio Wennubst, Assistant Director-General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; H.E. Mr Luca Maestripieri, Vice-Director General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms  Rosalaura Romeo, Mountain Partnership Secretariat; Prof. Rusty Butler, Utah Valley University; and Mr Jake Norton, Mountaineer, Owner of MountainWorld Productions and Founder of Challenge21.

Linking to this year’s theme on mountain farming, the speakers reflected on the role of mountain farming in reducing poverty, feeding families and communities, and ensuring the sustainability of natural resources.

“Family farms employ 2.6 billion people or 30% of the world’s population, and are especially important in developing countries,” said Ambassador Perceval. “For example— the Andean territory of Argentina spreads over an area of more than 500,000 sq. kilometres and has a population of over 1.5 million. “The Andes therefore are the ‘backbone’ of Argentina, she said. “Ultimately, the entire mountain range stands as articulator of rich and diverse territories, from north to south. Family farming in Argentina encompasses approximately 20 percent of the total production value and employs more than 50% of the agricultural workforce.”

Therefore, the concept of mountain economy and mountain agriculture is based on family farm approach, said Ambassador Wennubst, who spoke on linking mountain life to a sustainable future. “You cannot look at the mountain economy in a sectoral manner,” he added.

Prof. Butler concurred and highlighted the need for an “holistic effort” where various aspects—“be they economic, climate, agriculture, education, forest, water, bio-diversity or health related, or any other issues - have to be put on the table and treated as a whole, not in isolation," he said in his remarks. 

The instrumental role played by the Mountain Partnership during the Open Working Group discussions on sustainable development goals on raising global awareness about mountains was reminded by Minister Maestripieri. He underlined how the social themes by discussing measures for eradicating poverty and inequalities should be improved. “These are most crucial issues for the wellbeing of mountains, and the maintenance of their capacity to provide the critical and irreplaceable services they now provide to the planet. Italy is determined to make efforts in this regard,” he said.

Recognizing the importance of the advocacy activities carried out by Mountain Partnership members and the Secretariat in the last 14 months to support the inclusion of mountains in the post 2015 process, Ms Romeo told the countries present to keep the momentum going. “Mountains need specific policies and investments to make sustainable development a reality,” she said. “I encourage all you countries to speak out, in favour of the three targets achieved in the sustainable development goals by the Open Working Group of the United Nations and formulate implementation activities that will assist mountain communities.  I think together we can keep mountains high on the world’s agenda.”

During the event, a video produced by the MPS on IMD was shown, featuring MP members testimonials from all over the world.  Mountain Partnership Ambassador Norton also showed a clip on Mount Kenya as a Water Tower and told participants that mountains are a cornerstone of humanity. “They are, indeed, the magic in this world. It is high time we recognize this with action,” he added. 



H.E. Mr Luca Maestripieri – Speech

Professor Rusty Butler – Speech

Mr Jake Norton - Speech




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