'We are all mountain people', a roundtable says


The Food and Agriculture Organization Liaison Office for North America (FAO-LOW) organized a meeting with Thomas Hofer, Coordinator of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, to present key results from the FAO study on vulnerability to food insecurity in mountain areas on 3 May 2016. With the key message from the study that 1 in 3 persons in mountain areas of developing countries is vulnerable to food insecurity, the roundtable discussed the important role of mountains to eradicate hunger, sustain ecosystem services and build climate change resilience.

At the briefing, the third in a series a four, were representatives of The Mountain Institute, Aspen International Mountain Foundation, the Colorado State Senate, Interaction International, Catholic Relief Service, The Hunger Projects and Terra Global Capital. Participants engaged in a fruitful conversation on how to sustain the lives of 915 million people living in rural and mountainous areas.

Ajay Markanday, Director of FAO-LOW, said, “As a community we are cognizant that we need to collaboratively engage all actors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and move forward on the SDG agenda. I am pleased to see at this roundtable today how many actors from different organizations have joined.”

Barbara Ekwall, FAO-LOW Senior Liaison Officer, emphasized that, “The SDG agenda puts emphasis on inclusiveness. It is about not leaving anyone behind. It is also a holistic and integrated agenda that recognizes the mutual links between food security, resilience to climate change and management of natural resources. These links are particularly strong in mountain areas.”

The briefing opened with a presentation by Hofer, followed by a Question and Answer session that showcased that mountain ecosystems are very fragile and need more attention in policy-making. The participants agreed that it is imperative to support mountain communities, keep their livelihood systems intact and provide them with a voice in decision-making. The participants appreciated the great efforts of the Mountain Partnership – a voluntary alliance of 274 members. They also recognized the key role of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, which is hosted by FAO and benefits from FAO’s technical work on mountain development, watershed management and forest hydrology.

Hofer reminded participants that FAO launched – on Earth Day (22 April) - a Mountain Facility. Created by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat and FAO, the Facility is raising funds to tackle the mountain hunger problem through five main areas of intervention: local economies, climate change adaptation, natural resources, policy and capacity building. This financing mechanism is also aimed at helping to fulfill the 2030 Agenda, which includes three targets that mention mountains.

Ekwall pointed out that a change of mind-set was needed in which mountains are recognized not only for their beauty, but as areas that provide resources of universal importance, such as freshwater and biodiversity. Hofer closed by highlighting that the mountain agenda is truly global and that, accordingly, sustainable mountain development and the eradication of poverty and hunger are responsibilities of the entire world community.

From this perspective, “We are all mountain people”.

Read news of the series of events:

FAO meeting discusses hunger in the mountains

FAO launches funding mechanism for mountains

Action in mountains vital to global goals

Photo: FAO/Claudia Koebler

See more photos of the event


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