What to do about climate change in mountains


While some of the clearest signs of climate change, such as glacier retreat, are seen in mountain areas, their implications reach far beyond the mountains themselves.  The warming trend over the last 100 years in mountains is expected to continue, reports ‘Mountains and Climate Change: A Global Concern’, a publication that warns climate change ‘may jeopardize the important services provided by mountains’. According to the newest book in the sustainable mountain development series, changing weather patterns and water regimes, increased floods, droughts and other extreme events could accentuate the food, water and energy crises.

A synthesis of current knowledge on mountains and climate change by region, the 140-page publication highlights policy messages and lessons learned in mountain areas where adaptation measures have been taken. Water, glaciers and permafrost, hazards, biodiversity, food security and economy are among the themes covered.

In order to sustain provision of mountain goods and services, the report recommends, mountains need to be part of global policy frameworks. Innovative funding mechanisms as well as knowledge sharing and capacity development  are essential for ensuring global sustainable development.

Several case studies demonstrate that good governance and effective institutions at all levels are crucial. Integrated watershed management and effective disaster risk management systems as well as efficient land planning and management are key to reducing hazards in a changing climate. Climate smart agriculture, the adoption of indigenous practices and adaptation strategies can help increase the resilience of mountain communities.

Published by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Geographica Bernensia and the Austrian Development Cooperation, the book is available online in English  and Spanish.


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