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Mountain Day Highlights Importance of Mountains in Addressing Climate Change

4 December 2011: Mountain Day 2011 highlighted the critical role that mountain ecosystems play in climate adaptation and sustainable development, as well as the vulnerability of mountains and those who depend on them to climate change.

Mountain Day took place on 4 December 2011, during the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Durban, South Africa. The event was organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and the Mountain Partnership Consortium.

The Day assembled two high-level panels of ministers and decision-makers to advocate the value and role of mountains, and to call on COP 17 delegates and global development partners to protect vital mountain ecosystems from the threats presented by climate change. It also included parallel sessions on: Mountains, Climate Change from Scientific Evidence to Policy and Adaptation; and Mountains and Adaptation – Challenges and Opportunities with a Vision of Rio+20.

A draft “Mountain Day Call for Action” was presented, and made available for comment on the ICIMOD website. Key messages of the Call include that: mountains are the “water towers” of the world and global hotspots for biodiversity; the value of the ecosystem goods and services derived from mountains is under-recognized, under-valued and poorly compensated; major downstream ecosystems and economies are highly dependent on mountains; international organizations and national governments should introduce policies and financing to support adaptation programmes in mountains for improved livelihoods and sustainability; and global development strategies and policies should recognize, value and create incentives to enhance benefits derived from mountains. [IISD RS Coverage of Mountain Day] [ICIMOD Mountain Day Website]