The United Nations reports on sustainable mountain development

by | Nov 28, 2022 | European stakeholders

Author: Miranda García (AEIDL)

The Mountain Partnership’s secretariat has recently published a new report on sustainable mountain development, which is prepared every three years.

This publication focuses on four specific thematic areas –climate change, ecosystem restoration and protection, economies and livelihoods, and governance– and provides an overview of the results, impacts and changes achieved through action at national, regional and global level. It also includes a series of recommendations for actions to accelerate progress towards inclusive, resilient and sustainable mountain development.

With less than eight years left to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), what has been the progress in mountains in recent years?

The present report underlines the contribution of the 6th IPCC report and its cross-chapter on mountains to the dissemination of scientific knowledge on the state of climate change on mountain ecosystems and communities. In terms of adaptation solutions, the Swiss programme Adaptation at Altitude has worked to increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of mountain areas in response to climate change through better data and information on impacts and adaptation, regional exchange, knowledge generation and policy mainstreaming.

In addition, 2021 was marked by the launch of the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves. Its aim is to promote the exchange of experiences between those responsible for biosphere reserves in order to better address their specific needs and challenges, and thus contribute to the SDGs.

Regarding agriculture, the report highlights the importance of supporting mountain production, which is often based on a family farming model. In this respect, it welcomes the efforts made in recent years by the National Mountain Area Agency of Romania in implementing the Optional Quality Term “mountain products”, a topic discussed in the second MOVING EU MAP webinar. By the end of April 2022, nearly 3.400 mountain products and more than 1.200 producers had been labelled under this Optional Quality Term.

The gender gap is also an issue that needs to be tackled and this publication remarks on the key role of women in rural mountain areas. Despite increased participation in the labour market, women remain invisible as active players and agents of change. That is why the International Mountain Day 2022 will be dedicated to women. To this direction, MOVING and Euromontana will also publish a booklet of testimonials “Women move Europe’s mountains”. 

Finally, the report underlines the importance of incorporating mountain-specific policies into national sustainable development strategies. In particular, it welcomes the measures taken in Italy to improve health care, education and connectivity in mountain areas through the national Strategy for Inner Areas, and the adoption of the first national strategy for the mountains in Cyprus. The Massif Committees in France and Romania or European strategies such as EUSALP are other tools welcomed by the report.

In order to address the main causes of vulnerability of the people and ecosystems in mountain areas, the publication stresses the need to develop more policies targeted at mountains. More mountain-specific data needs to be collected to allow for a detailed analysis of these issues. The recommendations also call for strengthening efforts to adapt to climate change by implementing appropriate governance and finance and by training stakeholders.

MOVING mainly contributes to analysing and suggesting ways to improve resilient value chains in mountain areas. In this relation, the project will do a comparative assessment of value chains, and a foresight analysis with a scenario to 2050 in the upcoming months. This will be used to develop key policy recommendations and a roadmap.