Mountain Partnership Secretariat
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Mountain Partnership Secretariat
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Research (1 hits),

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By The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS)


Over the last almost 10 years, the Mountain Partnership has been able to successfully promote sustainable development in mountain regions worldwide, as a multi-stakeholder mechanism involving an increasing number of members from around the globe. It is recognized as the only global instrument representing the mountain community and mountain issues in international processes and acting as a platform for advocacy for sustainable mountain development, knowledge exchange and improving local capacity.

The Mountain Partnership is a UN type two initiative, launched at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002. It is an action oriented voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to improving the lives of mountain people and protecting mountain environments around the world. Presently, 50 countries, 16 intergovernmental organizations and 114 major groups (e.g. civil society, NGOs and the private sector) are members. Work is carried out

with a wide range of partners, in particular with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Consortium for the Sustainable Development of the Andean Ecoregion (CONDESAN), the University of Central Asia (UCA), the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE). The Mountain Partnership receives financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), the Italian Cooperation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Bank.=

The main activities of the Mountain Partnership include:

? Advocacy for sustainable mountain development at the highest policy level, in particular the three UN Conventions ? climate change, desertification and biodiversity, as well as the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, including the Rio +20 process and beyond;

? Knowledge sharing with and among mountain communities. The Mountain Partnership taps the wealth and diversity of resources, information, knowledge, and expertise to support positive change in mountain areas.

? Strengthening the capacity of local actors

The Mountain Partnership complements, supports and strengthens on-going initiatives in sustainable mountain development. The Mountain Partnership also functions as a broker for joint initiatives; facilitating contact between countries and institutions in view of joint

activities and creating conditions for cooperation and resource mobilization at the national, regional and global level. The strategic areas of work include adaptation to climate change, water, biodiversity, green economy, food security, indigenous people, agriculture, migration, gender and forests, in mountain regions.

Expected outcome of Rio+20: Mountains for the World

The outcome of Rio+20 should include provisions to strengthen the current partnerships that have demonstrated their advocacy role for sustainable development in their respective areas of work.

Since 1992, when chapter 13 on mountains as fragile ecosystems was introduced in Agenda 21, the demand for goods and services from mountains has grown considerably. Moreover, the ability of mountain systems to provide essential goods and services for all of humanity is increasingly under threat from climate change, globalization, a chronic lack of investment and ongoing land degradation.

Mountain Partnership members recognize that despite the progress that has been made in promoting sustainable development of mountain regions, national and international development agendas still treat mountains, if at all, as marginal environments. As a result, poverty rates are higher than in non-mountain areas.

In the context of a Green Economy, new opportunities for investments by the private sector are emerging in mountain regions, especially in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and ecosystem goods and services. However, innovative institutional arrangements are urgently required to trigger governance models and decision support systems aiming at both the integration of the social, ecological and economic capital at all scales in mountain regions, as well as the actual mainstreaming of mountains into overall national development and conservation processes.

Enhancing the global political commitment that translates into increased investments tailored to mountain regions will directly benefit poor mountain communities and indirectly humanity as a whole. Hence, sustainable mountain development, notably through integrated and socially inclusive policies, as well as low carbon technologies, should

have a prominent place in the Rio 2012 agenda and in particular in its final declaration.

In order to protect future water supplies, reduce poverty in mountain populations and unlock the economic potential of mountains, the Mountain Partnership strongly advocates the following actions, presented at the closure of the World Mountain Conference held in Lucerne, Switzerland in October 2011:

1) Adapt and develop mountain governance that takes into account the unique characteristics of mountains in order to overcome poverty, food insecurity, and social exclusion.

2) Facilitate mountain communities to gain fair access to resources and share benefits of their use equitably.

3) Involve mountain people in decision making processes that concern their livelihood, economy, environment, and culture.

4) Strengthen and develop national, regional and global institutions that address highland- lowland interactions and transboundary cooperation, support capacity building, generation and dissemination of knowledge, technical expertise and innovation for sustainable mountain development.

5) Provide enabling conditions and incentives for investment by the private sector in sustainable development in mountain areas and include appropriate funding in national budgets in order to enhance wellbeing and reduce disparities.

6) Recognize the vulnerability of mountain ecosystems within the three Rio conventions and adopt action plans for each related to sustainable development.

7) Make best use of all new and existing funding mechanisms such as the Global

Environment Facility.

To achieve these ends strong and united advocacy for mountain issues with tangible results in future UNCSD negotiations is essential.

In order to be in a better position to respond to increasing expectations from MP members and other mountain partners in support to sustainable mountain development, the outcome of Rio+20, building on Agenda 21, Chapter 13, might consider elevating that status of the Mountain Partnership from a type two initiative to a stronger type of instrument within the UN structure. Considerations around this opportunity shall be discussed within the framework of the Partnerships Programme of the UN.

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