Time to act for prosperous, resilient, and sustainable mountains: Mountain Day 2, Doha

04 Dec 2012


Doha, Qatar

Mountain Day 2 – a gathering of global experts and others interested in mountain development, organized on the sidelines of the global climate change negotiations currently underway in Doha, Qatar – sent the clear messages to negotiators that water availability and use will be critical in the future and that mountain communities need global support to adapt and build resilience to climate change, rather than simply coping with the impacts. 

The Mountain Day event, held on 3 December 2012 alongside the eighteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP18), was jointly organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Mountain Partnership with support from the World Bank, the Government of Nepal, and other partners. Participants presented climate change stories from the world’s mountain regions, emphasizing in particular the need for integrated management of mountain water resources and the role of mountains in food security and livelihoods.

Photograph courtesy of IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin

     Photograph courtesy of IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin

In his keynote speech, Gyan Chandra Acharya, United Nations Under Secretary General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States, quoting recent reports by the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said that “the time to act on mountains is now; the world is heading for more than 2 degrees Celsius temperature and the implications for mountains will be catastrophic”. He emphasized that mountains need to be part of broader and integrated action to address the growing impact of climate change, noting the need for coordinated action among UN environmental conventions.

Mountain landscapes are currently undergoing rapid changes. The Chair of Mountain Day 2, Mr Keshab Man Shakya, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Nepal pointed to the increased frequency of floods, accelerated melting of glaciers, uncertainty of water availability, and unprecedented damage to the entire mountain landscape as matters needing urgent attention. Marco Onida, Secretary General of the Alpine Convention, stressed the importance of collaborative action to raise the political priority of mountains. 

Local communities are largely unaware of what governments, researchers, and scientists are doing to address climate change impacts. Scientists and governments need to partner with communities to raise awareness and to complement rigorous science with local on-the-ground knowledge. David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, highlighted the role of science in understanding the growing impacts of climate change and called for non-mountain people and countries to support adaptation in mountains. Thomas Hofer, Interim Coordinator of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, called on participants to break out of their traditional disciplines to integrate water and food security into the mountain agenda.

Reflecting on the day’s proceedings, Madhav Karki, Deputy Director General of ICIMOD and the coordinator of Mountain Day 2, emphasized the importance of such awareness raising events.“We need to maintain the momentum gained at Rio+20 to further mountain interests in all global environmental conventions”, he said. 

For more information contact:

Dr Madhav Karki
Email: mkarki@icimod.org 

Ms Nira Gurung
Email: info@icimod.org, ngurung@icimod.org