IPROMO 2020 Summer School

Mountains in a changing climate: Threats, challenges and opportunities



According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the definition of climate change is: "A change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g. by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer.” Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcing, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.


Because of its impacts on a wide array of human activities and environments, climate change must be considered in any local, subnational or national framework in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Climate change adaptation strategies inherently focus on connecting – people, sectors, production systems, and more - and therefore facilitates the targeting and harmonization of policies and achievement of results.


Mountains are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Temperatures are rising faster at high elevations, with some areas experiencing global warming at a rate twice as fast as the global average. Glaciers are melting, more people and infrastructures are exposed to natural hazards, water resources and agriculture are being negatively impacted, and biodiversity is being lost. An integrated climate change approach in mountains allows for more effective sustainable management policies, adaptation and mitigation measures, which can prevent and mitigate the negative effects of climate change on mountain environments and communities. Sustainable management of mountains is essential for sustaining ecosystem services such as freshwater supply and food crop diversity, but also for combating the threats posed to local communities that are vulnerable to food insecurity and poverty.


Climate change is just one of the many challenges faced by mountains. Mining, deforestation, unsustainable agriculture and land use change are other key issues that must be considered when creating a sustainable development strategy in mountains. Improving livelihoods and sustaining ecosystem services requires fostering innovation, knowledge exchange and co-learning across mountain regions to scale out successful ‘seeds of innovation’. It requires partnerships between institutions, governments and communities, linking science and traditional knowledge and merging research with practice.


An integrated approach in mountains allows for different stakeholders - government officials, civil society and community members, including indigenous peoples - to adopt a holistic planning and implementation scheme that involves both bottom up and top down processes, integrating traditional knowledge and innovation. Moreover, such approaches must be adopted globally and across sectors in order to effectively mitigate the impacts of climate change and prevent it from further escalating at the local, regional and global scale. However, adaptation and mitigation measures are just one part of the solution. The main goal must be to take urgent actions to reduce greenhouse emissions and to achieve the goals set by the Paris agreement.




The IPROMO summer school will focus on several aspects, tools and skills that contribute to an integrated management of mountain areas through the many lenses of climate change. 


Topics include environmental conservation, watershed management, mountain forests, soils and biodiversity, and also mountain policy and sustainable tourism.


The interrelations between climate change, watershed management, poverty reduction, food insecurity will be discussed during the course. Working groups will be formed, allowing participants to share their knowledge and build a network of experts.


Structure and Venue


Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the summer school will be held on line during the period 28 September – 9 October.  It will be structured with four modules per day of 45 minutes each, followed by a 15-min slot for Q&A – for a total 4 hour lessons per day.


The e-learning platforms used are MOODLE and CISCO WEBEX; all lessons will be available both live and recorded.


At the end of each day, a questionnaire will be distributed to participants to be filled before the following lesson.


The course will accept approximately 35 participants, who will be selected among officers, development experts and technicians from all over the world.


All online classes are now publicly available and can be accessed through the following YouTube link.




Basic information


Scientific Directors:

Professor Michele Freppaz - Department of excellence Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA) - Interdepartmental Research Centre on Natural Risks in Mountain and Hilly Environments (NatRisk), University of Turin, Italy

Professor Giuseppe Scarascia Mugnozza – Department of excellence for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest Systems (DIBAF), University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy

Programme coordinator:

Rosalaura Romeo - Mountain Partnership Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy

Chair and course managers:

Danilo Godone - National Research Council, Research Institute for Hydrogeological Prevention and Protection (CNR - IRPI), Geohazard Monitoring Group, Turin, Italy

Tommaso Chiti - Department of excellence for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest Systems (DIBAF), University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy


Official course language:



Excellent command of English
Advanced scientific degree 

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