Every 11 December is marked as International Mountain Day, celebrated around the world. The day is an ode to the world’s fascinating landscapes. Each mountain is unique in its own way, from the snow-covered Himalayas to the lush green mountains, and is home to different animals and plants.
The International Mountain Day was held in 1992, at a time when the UN Conference on the Environment and Development adopted Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development.” The increased attention towards the importance of mountains led the United Nations General Assembly to declare 2002 as the United Nations International Year of Mountains.
From 2003 onwards, 11 December was declared as the ‘International Mountain Day’ by the UN General Assembly. FAO is a coordinating agency to prepare for and organise this celebration and is mandated to manage it on a global level. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the FAO Forestry Department’s Team for Water and Mountains is responsible for organising this international process.
Theme of International Day of Mountains 2020
This year the theme of International Mountain Day 2020 is Mountain Biodiversity.
Mountains looms in some of the world’s most stunning landscapes. The conditions for a wide variety of life forms have been provided by their unusual topography, compact climate zones and isolation.
The selection of ecosystems, habitats and genetic capital includes biodiversity and there are many endemic varieties in the mountains. In terms of altitude, slope and exposure in the mountains, the distinct topography provides opportunities to cultivate a number of high-value vegetables, horticulture, livestock and forest plants.
Mountain ecosystem protection has become increasingly recognised as a global concern. Sustainable Development Goal 15 Goal Four is committed to conserving the habitats of mountains considering their global importance. Biological diversity is in the spotlight, as the United Nations announced the UN Decade for the Restoration of the ecosystem to 2021 to 2030 and as the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity this year is training governments for talks to implement the Global Biodiversity Structure post-2020 (CBD).
About15 % of the global population live in mountains which host almost half of all ecological hotspots in the world. They provide half mankind with fresh water for daily life. Their survival is a crucial feature of sustainable development and is included in the SDGs’ Goal 15.
Unfortunately, climate change and overexploitation risk mountains. With the global atmosphere continues to warm the mountains, in which some of the weakest in the world, are faced with much greater survival challenges. Mountain glaciers are now shrinking at an unparalleled rate, disrupting the supply of freshwater to millions of people downstream due to increasing temperatures.