Romanian Mountain Forum
  • Date submitted: 31 Oct 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Romanian Mountain Forum
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Rural development (1 hits),

Full Submission


To the
Secretariat of RIO + 20 UNCSD

Romanian Mountain Forum is a non-governmental organization of national level, created as a result of IYM-2002, active member of the International Mountain Partnership and Euromontana, which brings together over 400 representatives of mountain territories from 27 counties, farmers, forest workers, communities and mountain NGOs, personalities from the circles of science, academic and university specialists in Rural development and environment protection, as well as administrative and political factors - senators and deputies from the Romanian Parliament; Considering that the UNCDS - Rio +20 Summit will take place in 2012;

Based on the experience gathered between 1990 and 2011 in Romania and the lucrative relationships with European (EUROMONTANA, AEM, European Commission, Council of Europe, MF), international (Mountain Partnership, FAO, World Association of Mountain People, the World Bank) and national bodies;

In order to ensure that the specificity of the protection and sustainable development of the Carpathian mountain region of Romania (and of the mountains from South-Eastern Europe, with similar needs) will be safeguarded from degradation and supported within international negotiations, we address the following


In the vast area of ​​the Romanian Carpathians, with ~ 90,000 km2, 824 administrative municipalities and 3560 villages, 3.6 million people and agri-zootechnics millennial traditions, 20 years after the international event Rio - 1992, which included Agenda 21, Chapter 13 - "Mountains" as fragile ecosystems, the demand for mountain goods, services and infrastructure has increased significantly. But in spite of all the efforts that have been made by some institutions and NGOs, by personalities with high responsibilities, with some notable results (agri-tourism and mountain tourism, pilot farms, training, scientific research, infrastructure, environment protection, etc .) including support measures, not enough compared to the pressing needs, in the year 2011 there is a very deep degradation of the mountain environment and the mountain rural economy, especially the private agriculture / animal husbandry, with very serious consequences, such as: Irrational cutting of forests, especially in the higher areas, such as conifers, with consequences on the environment and society (floods, landslides, etc.);

Degradation of the natural flora of mountain pastures with crucial feeding importance for ruminant livestock (cattle, sheep / goats), which are not competing with man for food (they eat grass, not grain).
This occurred as a consequence of the dramatic decrease of livestock (50-80 %.... depending on the micro-areas) and hence the volume of organic fertilizer, an essential factor for maintaining the natural flora of mountain meadows, flora which is of great social value - for food, absorption of carbon, biodiversity, landscapes, etc..

Main causes:

1. The focus of governments, local administrations and some agricultural producers on the big agriculture from areas with high fertility, such as plains and hills, based on crops and marginalization of smaller mountain agriculture and animal husbandry;

2. The monopoly installed by food industries, the lack of competition and the extremely low prices for raw materials, especially milk and meat, as organic products, of high biological quality, due to floral polymorphism. There are disappointing prices (e.g. 7-8 liters of milk for 1 euro!) and the consumer pays 1.2 to 1.4 euros / liter, a situation that was reported by RMF to all the factors of national responsibility and the highest institutions of the European Union (European Parliament, European Commission, Council of Europe).

3. The lack of effective protective intervention from the State, national or multinational the pressure of national or multi-national owners' structures on the administrative and political structures to maintain such a system, which is very harmful for the small mountain farmers, led to agrizootechnics not being profitable anymore, with the effect of intense decrease of poverty for most of the producers, discouragement and hopeless future for the younger generations living in the mountain countryside;

4. The appearance of a very serious phenomenon, the lack of interest for modernizing the mountain farms and the massive agricultural abandonment (abandoned lands, tens of thousands of hectares of grassland which are no longer harvested, invasion of useless plants, etc.);

5. Mass exodus of youth from the 3560 mountain villages, to cities or abroad, where the unemployment rate increases, excessive aging of the population which is still agriculturally active;

6. Very serious for environment and economy: in the absence of organic fertilizers a natural phenomenon takes place, the mountain fodder polyflora will turn wild again, in just 8-10 years. This flora, a wealth of mountain areas, which generates food for many millions of people, has been selected, with hard efforts, by dozens of generations of people, in more than 2,000 years of continuous use of organic fertilizers, with sustainable traditional technology and best practices that have been preserved in the Romanian Carpathians and the Carpathians and Balkans elsewhere.

The natural flora will be lost in less than a generation, by human negligence, a loss that will be permanent under the circumstances of the twentyfirst century ? such as globalization, free movement of people and many of today's agricultural alternatives for mountain young generations, which did not exist in the past centuries. The intimate connection and interdependence between MAN-ANIMALS-ORGANIC FERTILIZERS-FODDER FLORA is essential and irreplaceable in mountain agricultural economy, which is not a green economy and any harm to this fragile ecosystem is not only harmful but also it can not be recovered (the mountain punishes. ..)

For these reasons comes the necessity of giving priority to mountain agriculture, in order to avoid huge, irrecoverable losses.

7. A cause with negative effects can also be found in the misapprehension of the notion of "biodiversity", by interest groups that have generated attitudes and even rules for the conservation of invading plants, with no forage value, to the detriment of flora with high social value (ex. Nardus s.) or financial stimulation of late cutting of grass or excessive breeding of wild animals, such as predators, with discouraging consequences for mountain farmers.

8. The specialized institutional system, created in 1990, namely Romanian Mountain Area Commission, turned, by reduction, into the National Agency of Romanian Mountain Areas (Ministry of Agriculture) and the mountain research and vocational training institutions, have not been supported and developed but after 20 years of proven fertile activity, have been dissolved in 2010!

9. A project partnership between the Romanian and Austrian ministries of education and agriculture and the Romanian Mountain Forum, establishing the first nine professional schools of mountain agriculture, a government-funded project started in 2008 that was discontinued in 2009, under the pretext of economic crisis.

In conclusion,

In the Romanian Carpathians, which were not and are not using chemicals, there is food, quality protein, ensuring food security for more than 3 million people.

With a good management and support, ecological food could be produced, by using technologies that do not require oil, for more than 6 million people.

A sustainable alternative to "green economy", for the benefit of the whole society is still possible, but dependent on a general effort, the existence of distinct specific government policies and programs for mountain areas, with more intense interventions in the areas most vulnerable. Such a strategy is necessary at the level of the European Commission as well, where mixing mountain areas with "other disadvantaged areas" is an outdated type of approach, which did not bring the necessary balance in mountain economy, especially in emerging countries like Romania and others.

Romanian Mountain Forum, based on the national and international experience with governmental and non-governmental institutions, on the results of the scientific research from the last 20 years, under the pressure from the new challenges and threats posed by climate change and major population growth to more than 9 billion people in 2050, believes that:

The importance of mountain areas increases considerably in this century in terms of human food production and new habitat areas. It is extremely important for the food security of both the mountain people and the mankind that the mountains continue to produce quality food, by sustainable methods.

Mountain agriculture and animal husbandry are extremely fragile and bear, especially in less developed or emerging countries, but with tradition, such as Romania, the consequences of lack of strategies and programs. Mountain agriculture, as the "engine" of economic, social and cultural activities of mountain communities should be treated as priority by governments, because, as different from the case of fertile plain / hill areas, based on agricultural crops, in the mountain areas the natural fodder flora is turning wild again, in a very short period of time.

An entire mountain economy, created during centuries of human efforts, can be lost in a single decade of negligence, because under the deeply changed conditions of XXI century, abandonment of agriculture and traditions and the young generations leaving the mountain communities, is an irreversible phenomenon.

In the XXI century humanity can not afford to lose a large economic segment that produces food and many other goods.

On the contrary, a conscious attitude is necessary, imperative and urgent, in order to improve the overall effort to increase the investment adapted to the needs and diversity of mountain specificities, with direct beneficial effects on mountain populations, especially on poor communities and, indirectly, on the whole mankind.

We believe that it is in the interest of humanity that within the global and regional policies for mountain areas, as well as within the national policies, the two largest economies of the mountains - sustainable agriculture and forests - should coexist, in balanced ecosystems.


1. To be mandatory for regions, states and governments to protect, by strategies, legislation and special programs, the populations of mountain farmers, in order to avoid human desertification, loss of their economies and cultures, which are fragile.

2. The creation and availability of financial resources able to provide effective motivating support for small mountain farmers, especially for young agricultural population, for breeding ruminants in extensive systems and producing healthy human food in ecological conditions.

3. Creating and supporting a more efficient and stable governmental institutional system, specialized on mountain areas and government?s support of mountain research and of a specific program for training of specialists and practitioners. Different provisions in the annual budgets for the financial resources meant for mountain agricultural economy.

4. Support of the establishment and operation of NGOs, especially of cooperative types of associations (Western) of mountain agricultural producers, at the level of traditional mountain basins, able to withstand market conditions. Endowing them with means of processing ecologic animal and vegetable raw materials, facilitation of selling these organic (mountain eco-bio) products on the national and international markets. The potential value added can be expressed by considering the mountain eco-bio-food products as "niche" products for a category of 'niche' consumers, interested and capable to pay an additional price for high quality and health guarantees, as a source that may become important for supporting mountain agri-food eco-bio-economy, increasing family incomes and investment potential of small farmers, fighting against poverty and gradually reducing the support needed from specific grants - uncertain on long-term - linked to demographic growth.

5. Establishment of non-exclusive rational rules to ensure a balance between agriculture and forests in the mountain areas, in the spirit of mutual acceptance.

6. To ensure the high value of perenniality of high social value biodiversity, represented by the polymorphic natural fodder flora of mountain pastures and grasslands.

7. Giving up exaggerated guidelines and provisions, worthless or that may affect mountain food production.

8. Recognition, by governments, of the mountain populations? right to ?being different", the right to being compensated for natural handicaps and to be provided with tax incentives and other types of effective support.

9. Establishment/strengthening and development of an educational and vocational training system, adapted to the specificity of mountain agriculture and animal husbandry, mountain environment and living.

10. In parallel with the protection and encouragement of mountain agriforestry economy, the creation of new job opportunities in the mountain countryside, part time or full time pluri-activity representing a characteristic for most mountain communities.

11. International financial institutions to create a special fund intended to safeguard mountain agri-livestock economies with traditions, that are in danger of degradation. Mountain Partnership should have an "intervention fund" specifically designed to support specialized non-governmental organizations with pro-mountain activity.

12. UN should boost the establishment of an International pro-mountain Convention which would be joined by the governments that are members of the Mountain Partnership ? with a strong commitment from each government to take effective medium-term measures to prevent degradation of traditional agrilivestock economy and mountain environment, poverty and exodus of young generations and to foster sustainable development.

13. UN should develop the activity of Mountain Partnership, by establishing continental departments with the primary role to support mountain regions capable of producing human food - taking into account the specific elements (geo-climate, economics, traditions, etc.). Example: Europe with the regions of Carpathians and Balkans, Asia, Africa, South America.

Romanian Mountain Forum hopes that the considerations and proposals made will come to the attention of the Secretariat of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and will be a contribution to Rio-2012 Agenda and the Final Declaration*, respectively for the future UNCSD negotiations in favor of mountain issues.

President of R. M. F.

Radu Rey

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