Outcomes of the 2016 World Mountain Forum


The 2016 World Mountain Forum (WMF) provided a platform to discuss sustainable mountain development (SMD) in the context of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The WMF 2016 resulted in a Mbale Call for Scaling Up Action, themed 'Don’t leave the mountains behind,' which is expected to galvanize work on the ground and guide mountain-related interventions in international policy processes, including implementation of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

Over 250 participants attended the WMF, which took place from 17-20 October 2016, in Mbale, Uganda, under the theme ‘Mountains for our Future.’ The Forum was preceded by A Special Africa Mountains Event, which highlighted key issues affecting mountain ecosystems and communities in Africa, including poverty, climate change, food insecurity and land degradation.

The Forum convened sessions on four themes: mountains and climate change; mountain communities and livelihoods; mountain ecosystem services; and sustainable mountain agriculture. On mountains and climate change, participants addressed how to , inter alia: cope with extreme weather impacts,; establish proactive early-warning systems; and strengthen indigenous mountain community voices at local, national and international levels. On mountain communities and livelihoods, participants observed that mountain regions “fare very badly” on top priority SDGs concerning ending poverty and hunger, and highlighted that mountain regions suffer a backlog in development, yet face increasing demands for their ecosystem goods and services, including water, minerals, biodiversity and scenic value for tourism.

On mountain ecosystem services, participants described various ecosystem functions, including regulatory and provisional ecosystem services, and called for payments for ecosystem services (PES) to reach local communities. On sustainable mountain agriculture, participants commented on the importance of: plant diversity in mountain agriculture due to the risks posed by climate change to monocultures; and strong institutions to maintaining traditional knowledge on agriculture in indigenous communities.

The Mbale Call for Scaling Up Action calls on governments, politicians, decision makers, development and multilateral agencies, financing institutes and mountain stakeholders to form policy, gather knowledge and take action on, inter alia: reaching the targets of the Paris Agreement and SDGs through specific attention to mountain regions; recognizing upstream and downstream links, especially with regards to mountain ecosystem services; and promoting the inclusion of mountains in international processes and negotiations.

News by Catherine Benson, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

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Read the Mbale Call for Scaling Up Action in English, French

Download the summary report

See the photo galleries: World Mountain Forum, ICIMOD, InfoAndina, Mountain Partnership

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