Key messages


  • Covering around 27 percent of the earth's land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth.
  • Mountains are home to almost 15 percent of the world’s population.
  • Forests cover more than 40 percent of the global mountain area.
  • Mountains not only provide sustenance and well-being to 1.1 billion mountain people around the world but also indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
  • One in two rural mountain people in developing countries is vulnerable to food insecurity.
  • Indigenous and local populations in mountains have unique and valuable local knowledge, traditions and cultural practices that can contribute to effective land management strategies.
  • Mountains provide freshwater, energy and food - resources that will be increasingly scarce in coming decades.
  • More than half of humanity relies on mountain freshwater for everyday life.
  • Some of the world's largest cities, including New York, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Tokyo and Melbourne, are dependent on freshwater from mountains.
  • Mountains contribute to food and nutrition security by providing land for crops, grazing for livestock, watercourses for inland fisheries, and non-wood forest products such as berries, mushrooms and honey.
  • Of the 20 plant species that supply 80 percent of the world's food, six originated and have been diversified in mountains: maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes and apples.
  • Mountains are places of tourism and cultural trails. Mountain tourism accounts for about 15–20 percent the global tourism industry.
  • Mountains have a key role to play in providing renewable energy, especially through hydropower, solar power, wind power and biogas.



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last updated:  Saturday, November 12, 2022