Mountain Partnership at UN Climate Change Conference


Mountain Partnership members from across the world came together during two official side events to ensure mountains were included in the discussions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021.

On 5 November, the side event “Sustainable mountain tourism and food systems to support recovery from COVID-19 in mountains” highlighted the role of natural resource management, sustainable food systems and sustainable tourism for climate change adaptation in mountains.

A panel of Mountain Partnership members proposed concrete examples and recommendations on how mountain communities can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers included representatives from the Governments of Andorra and Georgia, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Fundación Agreste, Instituto de Montaña, International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development (ICENECDEV) and the Mountain Sentinels.

Mette Wilkie, FAO Forestry Division Director, moderated the event. "Low-impact tourism can contribute to the conservation and valorisation of mountain ecosystems and their biodiversity," she said.

Keynote speakers Julia Klein of the Mountain Sentinels and Jorge Recharte of Instituto de Montaña presented the role of nature-based solutions and local communities in COVID-19 economic recovery and climate adaptation in mountains.

Next, Anna Boneta of the Energy and Climate Change Agency of the Government of Andorra discussed policies and practices for sustainable mountain tourism. Andorra has less than 80 000 inhabitants but attracts over 8 million tourists per year. Boneta said the country has identified tourism as a priority sector for adaptation and has developing legal instruments and long-term strategies for the sector for climate change and energy.

Ioseb Kinkladze and Irakli Megrelidze the Government of Georgia’s National Environmental Agency followed with a presentation on glacier-related disasters and the role of glaciers in hydropower production. Georgia is a highly mountainous country and relies on hydropower for the majority of its electricity production, 50 percent of which comes from glacier-fed river basins. Kinkladze and Megrelidze underlined the need for data to understand how alterations in seasonal run-off from glaciers will impact hydropower production.

The event closed with local experiences from NGOs. Maria Young of Funación Agreste and Eric Fongoh of ICENECDEV discussed the work their organizations have done with local communities in the Andes and in Cameroon to support communities’ adaptation.

The side event on 11 November, “Climate change, mountains and the future of humanity”, addressed the role of mountains in combating and recovering from two current global crises: COVID-19 and climate change.

Representatives of the Government of Nepal, Asociación Oikos, Clean Energy Nepal and the Consortium for Sustainable Development of the Andean Ecoregion (CONDESAN) discussed the role of multi-stakeholder platforms and NGOs to address issues of international significance.

Moderator Julia Wolf, Natural Resources Officer at FAO, said, “It is important to understand the particularities of mountain systems and the need for adaptation and focused action.”

Keynote speaker Pem Narayan Kandel, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Environment from Government of Nepal, emphasized giving high priority to mountain in the global climate agenda. He underlined the need to improve mountain peoples’ livelihoods as well as learn from their local knowledge and nature-based solutions to promote climate change adaptation.

Next, Lalmani Wagle, Programme Coordinator of Clean Energy Nepal, discussed some of the solutions his NGO has promoted in mountain communities to cope with the impacts of a changing world. He said, “Smallholder farmers in mountains have specified skills and knowledge to sustain their livelihoods through farming, but the changes we are experiencing due to climate change put them at huge risk.”

The two final speakers followed with regional experiences from the Andes. Luigi Schettini from Asociaciòn Oikos in Peru gave a brief overview of the impact of COVID-19 on Andean livelihoods. He said that while mountain people are among the most vulnerable and therefore among the most impacted by climate change, the revival of ancient practices such as llama caravans has allowed camelid fibre producers to continue selling their products locally. Daniel Llambi of CONDESAN discussed the climate adaptation approach the organization is promoting in the Andes, linked to land use management and strengthening governance. Through the Adaptation at Altitude programme, CONDESAN and partners are working to tackle climate change through knowledge synthesis, strengthening participatory monitoring, consolidating mountain decisions, and promoting knowledge exchange and capacity development.

Download the event programme of 5 November and 11 November

Watch the event recordings of 5 November and 11 November

Learn more about mountain-related events held at the UN Climate Change Conference 2021

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