Opening of the meeting
Mountains are some of the most important ecosystems for the survival of the planet, providing essential goods and services. The Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership convenes under the topic: “Mountains Matter: Ideas to Action/Building Alliances for Resilient Mountains.” This meeting is the main event of the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development 2022.
Rosalaura Romeo, Programme Coordinator, Mountain Partnership Secretariat, welcomed delegates to the Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership, stressing its role in shaping the mountain agenda for the next four years.
Noting that his town is the first to host this global meeting in North America, Torre, Mayor of Aspen, explained that protecting mountain environments is key to ensuring the identity of his town.
The Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership officially opened with a blessing ceremony by Buffalo Child, member of the Cree and Nakota Nations.
Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado, highlighted Colorado’s commitment to renewable energy, efforts in water conservation, and the protection of public lands.
Rick Miranda, Interim President, Colorado State University, emphasized the importance of empowering the next generation to address climate change and other issues faced by mountain communities.
High-level opening statements
Jake Norton, Mountain Partnership Goodwill Ambassador, moderated the session and presented the official video of the Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership.
Sílvia Calvó Armengol, Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainability, Andorra, stressed the role of mountains as centers of biodiversity and welcomed the work of the Mountain Partnership in sharing this message with the international community.
Richard James Randriamandrato, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Madagascar, pointed to issues with erosion and deforestation in mountain areas.
Sam Mangusho Cheptoris, Minister of Water and Environment, Uganda, noted that mountains are often transboundary and can contribute to food security and employment creation. He urged increased use of Indigenous knowledge to preserve mountains.
Igli Hasani, Coordinator of Economic and Environmental Activities, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), explained that mountain regions often suffer impacts of conflicts and that there are many implications for security connected to them, urging effective management of the respective ecosystems and international solidarity.
Pem Narayan Kandel, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Nepal, urged increased international action to protect mountains increasingly affected by natural disasters.
Recognizing that today is World Tourism Day, Zoritsa Urosevic, Executive Director, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said tourism can be a driver for wealth creation in mountain areas and help build resilience.
Livio Spadavecchia, Counselor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy, highlighted the benefit mountains provide for sustainable development and appreciated the role of this global meeting in fostering dialogue, building cooperation, and strengthening local communities to attract investors.
François Pythoud, Special Envoy for International Sustainable Agriculture, Switzerland, urged promoting sustainable mountain development to improve living conditions, the resilience of mountain populations, and the sustainability of ecosystems services.
Doreen Robinson, Head of Biodiversity and Land, United National Environment Programme (UNEP), said mountains account for many of the world’s biodiversity centers and are key to solving the biodiversity crisis.
Thomas Hofer, Senior Forestry Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), emphasized the need to promote gender equality, social justice, and the livelihoods of mountain communities.
International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development Celebration
During the celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development, delegates heard statements of representatives of the Kyrgyz Republic: Dinara Kutmanova, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Technical Supervision; and Nurlan Aitmurzaev, Special Envoy of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic on Mountain Issues. He urged declaring 2023-2027 as the “Five Years of Action for the Development Mountain Regions” and related initiatives.
The panel on climate action noted the acute impacts of climate change on mountain communities and areas, including increased disaster frequency and conflicts. The panel also highlighted the need to step-up adaptation, and to take action from the local to the international level.
The panel on ecosystem restoration and protection showcased examples of successful projects through private-public partnerships, government led incentives, and legal frameworks, while also drawing attention to key areas of improvement required for sustainable progress.
The panel on building sustainable mountain food systems and resilient livelihoods discussed: the potential for productivity improvement in mountain agriculture; how tourism can help preserve traditional heritage and biodiversity; empowering women to become leaders and guides in mountain expeditions; and the need to account for the complexity of multi-stakeholder platforms while taking simple actions.
Giorgio Grussu, Mountain Partnership, announced the launch of the policy brief on inclusive and resilient mountain food systems: emerging opportunities.
The panel on financing opportunities discussed the importance of integration across sectors, including with sustainable agriculture and forestry and with different partners, ranging from governments, to the private sector, communities and stakeholders. It emphasized that investments require a long-term perspective that includes innovative financing.
After the panel discussions, the day continued with a variety of side events and a gala reception.