Main proceedings from the HLPF side event on mountains


On 7 July 2022, the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Andorra to the United Nations and the Mountain Partnership (MP) held a side event titled “Mountains and sustainable development: a pathway for accelerating action” for the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) 2022 with over 90 participants tuning in from all over the world online via Zoom. The event was oragnised by the Permanent Missions of Andorra and co-sponsored by Bhutan, Italy, the Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Peru, Uganda and Spain. A representative from the Aspen International Mountain Foundation presented on the upcoming sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership planned for 26-29 September 2022.

This side event was organized within the framework of the 2022 International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2021 to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable mountain development and the conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems. The event focused on accelerating progress towards inclusive, resilient and sustainable mountain development, within the context of the following sustainable development goals (SDGs) under revision by the HLPF: SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 15 (Life on Land) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Rosalaura Romeo, Mountain Partnership Secretariat Programme Coordinator and FAO Officer, moderated the event.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Andorra, Maria Ubach Font made an opening statement, highlighting that collective action is needed for achieving sustainable mountain development. She continued to explain the need to integrate the mountain perspective in United Nations processes, especially at the upcoming UNFCCC COP27.  Minister Ubach further explained how climate change is a serious threat to biodiversity and how Andorra wants to become UNESCO's first country declared a biosphere reserve. She concluded by stating how this side-event should be an opportunity to reflect on collective actions and future collaborations for the common goal in raising awareness and concrete action for sustainable mountain development.

Nurlan Aitmurzaev, Special Envoy of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, made a statement on how this specific HLPF side-event is of great interest for SMD and for all mountain countries as the IYM 2022 has been approved and adopted by resolution at the proposal of the Kyrgyz Republic. He explained that this year their goal is to adopt a resolution declaring 2023-2027 as a 5 year of action for developing mountain regions. This plan includes the need to institutionalize the existing Group of Friends of Mountain Countries and expanding it to include also the Mountain Partnership Government members. He invited everyone to support the draft resolution of the quinquennium and its implementation.

Amrit Bahadur Rai, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations, stated how Nepal is a nation identified by the highest mountains in the world, including the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest. He explained how mountains are hosts to some of the most important species and ecosystems, and that mountains are extremely vulnerable to the negative effects of global warming, including those induced by climate change. He mentioned the role of research, mentioning ICIMOD and IPCC’s latest report showing the alarming rate how mountain livelihoods, availability to water, and ecosystems are affected. He also explained that we need to adopt a sustainable mountain development policy to identify and tackle the problems faced by mountain communities and environments in a holistic manner, by combining forest management and sustainable mountain development in regions.

Roberto Natali, Chair of the Mountain Partnership Steering Committee,  (Plenipotentiary Minister, Directorate General for Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy), expressed the importance of collective action by creating a strong coalition among governments and constituencies to promote and raise awareness about sustainable development. He also explained how the IYM 2022 is a chance to catalyse concrete action and build the resilience of mountain communities.

Eder Rojas, Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Nations, discussed the contributions that Peru has made for the protection of mountain ecosystems and ensuring sustainable mountain development for the benefit of all people, especially women, indigenous peoples and children. He stated that for Peru as one of the co-sponsors for the IYM 2022, it is an important year to participate in raising awareness of the importance of mountains for the SDGs and to develop strategies and the sustainable management of resources. “Mountains have been important since ancient times in Peru. As hires of this tradition, we believe it is important to learn from our ancestors, especially in terms of sustainable development and respecting nature for the health of our future generations,” concluded Rojas.

Jigme Norbu, First Secretary at Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations, stated how Bhutan is a victim to climate change, whether the disaster is a glacier leak outburst, forest fires and/or landslides. He explained that in the HKH region, glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, creating huge implications for the livelihoods of our mountain people and ecosystems, as well as the water availability in the region and around. He concluded with stating that the IYM 2022 is an opportunity to partner with relevant partners and stakeholders, including the MP.

Fernando Magdaleno, Subdirector General of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge in Spain, spoke about the importance of mountain habitats in Spain, and how the country takes part in the conservation and preservation of these hotspots. He explained that along with these commitments, Spain is dedicated to promoting the protection of the terrestrial ecosystems in the country. He concluded by explaining that they plan to also protect other mountain habitats, and restore others as well.

The event was followed by a 15-minute discussion period where attendees took the floor to ask questions.

Sílvia Calvó Armengol, Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainability in Andorra concluded the event by stating that accomplishing the 2030 Agenda is key for sustainable mountain development, and that regional cooperation is essential for the 2030 Agenda. 


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