COP15 Copenhagen Side Event: Mountains of the World

Copenhagen, Denmark
From: 07.12.2009 to:

Mountain Partnership Event


The side event “Mountains of the World: Addressing Climate Change through Sustainable Mountain Development” was organized by the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Mountain Partnership and the Mountain Research Initiative. This side event highlighted the vulnerability of mountain regions and communities to climate change, and presented adaptation experiences and priorities from these regions. Felix Näscher, Director General, Office of Forests, Nature and Land Management, Liechtenstein, opened by noting his country’s success with sustainable management practices in its vulnerable alpine environments. Wilfried Haeberli, World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), presented scientific findings of climate change impacts in alpine areas, stating that a “new science of disequilibria” is needed to model changes in the mountains. Daniel Maselli, SDC, moderated a panel discussion in which representatives from mountain communities in Peru, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and Switzerland shared their experiences with climate change and adaptation activities through statements and videos. Based on their comments that mountain communities are already observing changes in river levels, glaciers and agricultural productivity in their environments, several panellists emphasized that local communities have a right to know why these changes are occurring. In fact some communities believe wrongly that their own actions are somehow responsible for the changes that are taking place. Eduardo Durand, from the Ministry of Environment of Peru, emphasized the need for governments to work closely with local people and to draw on local knowledge for coping with the impacts of climate change. Walter Vergara, World Bank, encouraged increased capacity building, research and monitoring, and political will. Participants also discussed technological support for adaptation efforts; interaction between science and traditional knowledge; the urgency of mitigation; and community adaptation strategies.


Photo (c) Aris Mihich / FAO

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