MP briefing at the World Conservation Congress


A Mountain Partnership (MP) briefing and member consultation was held on 4 September at the World Conservation Congress (WCC), hosted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Hawaii, United States. Led by The Mountain Institute (TMI), the event reviewed the MP’s recent activities, progress and challenges in advancing the mountain conservation and sustainable development agendas globally.

Andrew Taber, Executive Director of TMI and Chair of the MP Steering Committee, opened the meeting with a presentation titled “Why mountains matter”. Doug McGuire from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations then provided an overview of a recent study on the vulnerability of mountain communities to food insecurity that represents a serious threat to both impoverished people and the environment. A discussion followed on how the MP could more effectively help expand attention given to mountains at global levels, and mobilize its members for increased action on sustainable mountain development. Several suggestions were made, including: elaborating strategies for connecting mountain agendas to politicians, advancing the MP agenda in the sphere of mountain tourism, and utilizing different policy avenues such as the UN Conventions on Biological Diversity and Climate Change, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

Participants noted the importance of focusing advocacy efforts. The message that mountains matter is multifaceted, therefore some participants proposed focusing on a few main topics, such as water or food security, to streamline the mountain message. Others felt that the MP should not focus so much on communicating “its” messages, but rather on giving adequate voice to mountain peoples and allowing them to decide and promote their own priorities. The question of focus will need further discussion, and will be on the agenda at the upcoming MP Steering Committee in October.

While on the topic of advocacy and communication, the participants of the event also considered the forums and audience to whom mountain stories need to be told. “It is critical that we do better in mobilizing the Mountain Partnership’s government and civil society members, especially those representing mountain communities. However, we also need to engage more with the private sectors such as tourism, mining, energy, water and other companies. We need to identify the key actors and get them to the table,” said Taber.

Lastly, the group considered resource mobilization through the creation of a facility as a strategy to propel the mountain agenda. Ladakh, a region in India, was presented as an example where they are trying to develop legislation to protect upper watersheds, and where small amounts of money could help mobilize technical resources to resolve certain issues. Taber explained that the MP has recently established and is mobilizing resources for such a facility to generate small grants to respond to these opportunities to solve problems.

The exercise of acknowledging the progress made by the MP to advance global mountain conservation and the sustainable development agenda, while also addressing the challenges the MP face,s brought up several important ideas and points of discussion. The outcomes of the MP briefing and member consultation that took place during the WCC will be presented at the MP Steering Committee meeting during the third edition of the World Mountain Forum in Mbale, Uganda on 18-20 October and in the upcoming members meeting.

Read more about the IUCN/WCPA Mountain Specialist Group

Read more about the World Mountain Forum

Photo: The Mountain Institute

Home > mountain-partnership > News