The importance of mountains for our sustainable future

Dec 11, 2014

photo: valentina futač

Celebrating International Mountain Day – December 11 

Mountains have an extremely important role in influencing global and regional climates and weather conditions. They cover around one-quarter of the earth's land surface and are home to 720 million people around the world. Indirectly, billions more living downstream also benefit from mountains.

Mountains provide us with freshwater, energy, food, biodiversity, and medicinal products – resources that may become very rare in the coming decades. They are also very prone to climate changes, land degradation, deforestation and natural disasters. In addition, mountain people very often face marginalization, poverty, and the lack of basic services such as health and education.

The challenge is to identify new and sustainable opportunities that can bring benefits to both highland and lowland communities and help to eradicate poverty without contributing to the degradation of fragile mountain ecosystems.

This year, the International Mountain Day is observed under the theme Mountain Farming. The aim is to stress the importance of sustainable mountain development at the global level.