Declaration by the International Year of Mountains Focus Group

You can find this declaration else here
 PS: The fifteen countries of the International Year of Mountains Focus Group are: Austria, Bhutan, Bolivia, Ethiopia, France, Guatemala, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Peru, Slovenia, Switzerland.

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:

  • Consider the International Year of Mountains as one step in the evolution of our efforts to undertake effective international action on mountains, and ensure that the Year and our efforts beyond are supported by significant political, financial and international commitments.
  • Invite governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, international organizations, private-sector organizations, scientists and individuals to contribute their expertise, knowledge and resources to concrete programmes and projects that will achieve our collective goals.
  • Promote the implementation of a comprehensive, global awareness-raising programme, that includes developing new or strengthening existing global and continent-specific communications networks, to continue to increase awareness of mountain problems and solutions and to maintain and build on the momentum achieved during the International Year of Mountains.
  • Promote, through agreements and other mechanisms, the exchange of knowledge and experience in best practices among mountain regions, particularly in ways to stimulate development of specialized mountain products, to encourage private-sector investment, to strengthen institutions, to develop mountain-friendly policies and laws, to enhance education and training, and to design programmes that meet the special needs of women, taking into consideration the importance of their historical role in mountain communities.
  • Encourage the establishment of long-term institutional and policy frameworks for sustainable development in mountain regions in all United Nations member countries.
  • Strengthen the provision of technical assistance to countries in order to further the sustainable development of mountain regions through various mechanisms, including exploring the possibility of a light technical support facility.
  • Appeal to the United Nations and the governments of member countries to undertake the necessary actions to ensure that future generations consider the world's mountains as places of peace and prosperity, rather than places of conflict, poverty and food insecurity.
  • Appeal to United Nations member countries in the framework of the General Assembly to designate a day of the year devoted to peace and prosperity in mountains.

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.