Covering around 27 percent of the Earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 720 million inhabitants around the world, but indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
Mountains provide freshwater, energy and food – resources that will be increasingly scarce in coming decades. However, mountains also have a high incidence of poverty and are extremely vulnerable to climate change, deforestation, land degradation and natural disasters. In fact, 1 out of 3 mountain people in developing countries is vulnerable to food insecurity and faces poverty and isolation. The challenge is to identify new and sustainable opportunities that can bring benefits to both highland and lowland communities and help to eradicate poverty without contributing to the degradation of fragile mountain ecosystems.
International Mountain Day provides an occasion to highlight the variety and richness of mountain cultures, promote the vast array of mountain identities and ensure that indigenous rights and traditions are recognized. Celebrated every 11th December, the goal of the day is to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.
International Mountain Day 2016 saw celebration of "Mountain Cultures: celebrating diversity and strengthening identity."
The theme for International Mountain Day 2017 has not yet been announced.
More information about this Day can be found here.