International Mountain Day 2023

From: 11.12.2023 to: 11.12.2023

Restoring mountain ecosystems is the theme of this year's International Mountain Day on 11 December. This theme was selected to fully include mountains in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the UN Environment Programme. The Decade is an opportunity to draw together political support, scientific research and financial resources to significantly scale-up restoration and prevent further degradation of mountain ecosystems.

Mountains cover around 27 percent of the Earth's land surface and host about half of the world's biodiversity hotspots. As the water towers of the world, they supply freshwater to an estimated half of humanity. Mountains are home to an extraordinary range of plants and animals, and to many culturally diverse communities with different languages and traditions. From climate regulation and water provisioning services, to soil maintenance and conservation, mountains are key to our lives and livelihoods.

Yet mountains are suffering from the impacts of climate change and unsustainable development, escalating risks for people and the planet. Climate change threatens the flow of water, and fast-rising temperatures are forcing mountain species and the people that depend on these ecosystems to adapt or migrate. Steep slopes mean the clearing of forest for farming, settlements or infrastructure can cause soil erosion as well as the loss of habitat. Erosion and pollution harm the quality of water flowing downstream. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, up to 84 percent of endemic mountain species are at risk of extinction, while populations of a range of other montane plant and animal species are projected to decline and face extinction.

The recent biodiversity agreement of the 2022 United Nations Biodiversity Conference – which pledges to protect 30 percent of the Earth's lands, oceans, coastal areas and inland waters by 2030 – provides an impetus to revive and protect mountain landscapes.

The UN General Assembly also recently proclaimed 2023–2027 "Five Years of Action for the Development of Mountain Regions" in its triennial resolution on sustainable mountain development. Its objectives are to attract grant assistance and investments for mountains, develop "green" economies and technologies, create mechanisms to strengthen cooperation between mountainous countries, and develop science and education in the field of sustainable mountain development.

International Mountain Day 2023 is a chance to increase awareness about the relevance of mountain ecosystems and call for nature-based solutions, best practices and investments that build resilience, reduce vulnerability and increase the ability of mountains to adapt to daily threats and extreme climatic events.

Two FAO events will mark International Mountain Day. The first event is a high-level event taking place at the Food and Agriculture Pavilion at COP 28, Dubai, on 11 December. The second event is a technical session on good practices for the restoration of mountain ecosystems on 13 December. See more details on these events here.

How will you mark the day?

  • Check out the International Mountain Day social media kit for resources that can be shared widely across your networks.
  • Join the conversation on social media using the #MountainsMatter hashtag. Pass on some of this year's key messages or take a photo of your favourite mountain and share it with us and your friends.
  • Organize or participate in activities that celebrate mountains, including virtual presentations and events, photo competitions, art exhibitions and hikes.
  • Promote your planned event by officially registering it on our gallery of events happening around the world.

While "Restoring mountain ecosystems" is the suggested theme for 2023, countries, communities and organizations are welcome to celebrate IMD through a theme that is more relevant to them.

Visit the official IMD website

Photo: ©Nima Farid Mojtahedi

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