13 June 2002, Rome, Italy
We, the countries of the International Year of Mountains Focus Group, are committed to building on the United Nations International Year of Mountains 2002 to ensure that the Year is the catalyst for international, long-term action that will protect the world's mountain ecosystems and improve the well-being of mountain people.
Our initiatives during the International Year of Mountains and those of the 67 national committees observing the Year are evidence of the commitment of national governments to mountains.
Our efforts support an emerging International Partnership for the Sustainable Development of Mountain Regions that will further implement Chapter 13 of Agenda 21, the blueprint for the sustainable development of mountains established at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This Partnership builds on several key initiatives during the International Year of Mountains, including the World Mountain Symposium, Interlaken, Switzerland in September 2001, the High Summit in May 2002, which brought together experts on four continents, and the International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions, Adelboden, Switzerland in June 2002. This Partnership will be announced at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August 2002, and will be reinforced by a Global Platform for Mountains to be released at the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit in Kyrgyzstan in October 2002.
We believe that the work of the Partnership and the actions recommended by the Platform are essential to international security, because all life on Earth depends on mountains.
We know that mountains cover one-quarter of the world's surface, are the source of most of the world's fresh water and provide sanctuary to most of the Earth's remaining biodiversity. Mountains are fundamental to the world's natural systems, yet, in many parts of the world mountains are being degraded by climate change, unsustainable agriculture and development, and other forces. These changes will affect us all, but the one in ten people who live in mountains are the most vulnerable. Many are already among the world's most marginalized, poor and food insecure. In addition, many suffer the devastating effects of armed conflict not of their own making.
We believe that the protection of mountain ecosystems as well as cultural values, improvements to the well-being of mountain people and the attainment of peace and stability in mountains are urgent global priorities. To this end we agree to:
We invite all countries, and in particular those which have established a National Committee for the International Year of Mountains, to join this initiative and support this declaration.