The Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership convened for its second day and heard panel presentations under the overarching theme: Mountain Partnership Looks Ahead, Pathways for Accelerating Action in the next four years. Delegates then discussed and endorsed the Mountain Partnership strategy documents with some amendments. In the afternoon, side events took place followed by the parade of flags and a concert by Rapidgrass in Aspen.
During the panel on transboundary cooperation, panelists discussed approaches and opportunities for managing transboundary mountain regions. Wolfger Mayrhofer, Alpine Convention, shared insights about the work of this legally binding regional convention. Veronica Taran Baciu, National Agency of the Mountain Area, Romania, provided information about the operation of the Carpathian Convention. Carlos Jaime Montoya Montero, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peru, discussed the impacts of the voluntary Andean Mountain Initiative noting the strength of the voluntary approach. María Rosa Cárdenas Tomažič, Man and the Biosphere Programme, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), highlighted the role of transboundary networks in ensuring biodiversity and cultural conservation.
During the panel on alliances, advocacy, processes and UN conventions, Sílvia Calvó Armengol, Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainability, Andorra, proposed the creation of a flexible international coalitions bringing together countries that share concerns regarding mountains at international processes under UN Conventions. Malik Amin Aslam Khan, Climate Expert, Pakistan, described how biodiversity loss and climate change are threating the Hindu Kush and Himalayas and suggested economic valuation of the contribution of mountains. Pem Narayan Kandel, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Nepal, urged mainstreaming the international discourse about mountains into the UN system. Special Envoy François Pythoud, Switzerland, advocated for the Mountain Partnership to focus on having mountains included in international decisions and strategic documents.
During a panel on science and knowledge for policy, Carolina Adler, Mountain Research Initiative, stressed that mountain relevant issues affect numerous ecosystems and policy across regions must be aligned. Paola Fontanella Pisa, Global Mountain Safeguard Research (GLOMOS), noted further effort is required to integrate the observations and perceptions of local communities into scientific perspectives. Alexandra Mackey, Zoï Environment Network, outlined how communities of practice can bridge the gap between knowledge and action. Lawrence Ignace, Vice Chair, Canadian Mountain Network, underscored the importance of reconciliation through research and outlined how Indigenous-led research can shift power relationships and promote self-determination.
During the panel on innovation, infrastructure and digital connectivity, Marc Pons, Andorra Research and Innovation, proposed building an international alliance of innovation ecosystems related to work undertaken in mountains. Natalia Bayona, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said that innovation is one of their strongest pillars and should be integrated across all subsectors. Lizette Huezo, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico, urged taking into account the social impacts of innovation, including on women and remote villages in mountains. Onno Ruhl, General Manager, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, warned that climate change is happening faster than policy changes and said it should be addressed through a multi-stakeholder effort.
Mountain Partnership Strategy Documents Presentation and Endorsement
Delegates considered the revised Mountain Partnership strategy documents, namely the Advocacy Strategy and the Communication Strategy that includes new messages and a general encouragement to members to keep up with new communication platforms to promote the Partnership's work.
Regarding the Governance Paper, discussion focused on: the proposed creation of a scientific advisory body, which delegates agreed to, referring to it as an independent advisory body instead; the reformulation of the Mountain Partnership vision, where delegates agreed to include references to climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem restoration; a proposed redefinition of the role of the Steering Committee Chair, which delegates agreed to refer to the committee for further consideration at the next meeting; and the formalization of the arrangement of FAO hosting the Mountain Partnership.
Delegates endorsed these documents with respective amendments.