TravelBizNews Online —
Kathmandu : International Mountain Day 2017 provides an occasion to highlight how climate, hunger and migration are affecting highlands and to ensure that sustainable mountain development is integrated into the 2030 Agenda and in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
This year’s theme is Mountains under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration.
The theme of 2016 was – “Mountain Cultures: Celebrating diversity and strengthening identity.”
This year, the theme is also linked to the Mountain Partnership Global Meeting, to be held on 11-13 December at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.
The meeting will focus on the challenges and opportunities in sustainable mountain development and will launch a Framework for Action to support concrete actions and establish policies that strengthen the resilience of mountain peoples and environments, according to FAO.
Almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy.
Yet mountains are under threat from climate change, land degradation, over exploitation and natural disasters, with potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world.
Climate change, climate variability and climate-induced disasters, combined with political, economic and social marginalization, increase the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food shortages and extreme poverty.
Covering around 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 915 million mountain people around the world, representing 13 percent of global population, but mountains also indirectly benefit billions more living downstream according to United Nations.
Mountains are also the sources of springs and rivers and have been revered as the home of deities throughout history.
Mountain peoples have long held vital roles in the management of their ecosystems. Over the centuries, they have developed remarkable land-use systems, climate change adaptation approaches, traditional diets and mountain products that are unique and rich in globally significant biodiversity.
According to UNESCO, 376 of the world’s 669 Biosphere Reserves, or 56 percent, contain mountain ecosystems.
The impacts of tourism on culture and identity in the mountains can bring both possibilities and challenges. Community-based mountain tourism can ensure a more equitable distribution of income, help maintain local cultures and knowledge, reduce out-migration and provide incentives for the protection of mountain ecosystems, their goods and services according to United Nations.
Inputs from UNO/FAO
December 7 , 2017