Rio+20 - UN Conference on Sustainable Development


Mountain Partnership members worked together to ensure that sustainable mountain development featured in the final outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, which took place on 20-22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The third international conference on sustainable development in 20 years included participation from 192 UN member states — including around 100 heads of state and government as well as private sector companies, NGOs and other groups.

Largely as a result of members’ active collaboration and engagement in the run-up to, and during, negotiations, the following three paragraphs on mountains were included in the final document, The Future We Want:

    210. We recognize that the benefits derived from mountain regions are essential for sustainable development. Mountain ecosystems play a crucial role in providing water resources to a large portion of the world’s population; fragile mountain ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, deforestation and forest degradation, land use change, land degradation and natural disasters; and mountain glaciers around the world are retreating and getting thinner, with increasing impacts on the environment and human well-being.

    211. We further recognize that mountains are often home to communities, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities, who have developed sustainable uses of mountain resources. These communities are, however, often marginalized, and we therefore stress that continued effort will be required to address poverty, food security and nutrition, social exclusion and environmental degradation in these areas. We invite States to strengthen cooperative action with effective involvement and sharing of experience of all relevant stakeholders, by strengthening existing arrangements, agreements and centres of excellence for sustainable mountain development, as well as exploring new arrangements and agreements, as appropriate.

    212. We call for greater efforts towards the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity. We encourage States to adopt a long-term vision and holistic approaches, including through incorporating mountain-specific policies into national sustainable development strategies, which could include, inter alia, poverty reduction plans and programmes for mountain areas, particularly in developing countries. In this regard, we call for international support for sustainable mountain development in developing countries.

Mountain Partnership members the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are officially charged with following up on paragraph 211.

Read more about the follow-up framework

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