Celebrate International Mountain Day: Mountains Matter for Youth

Samuel Elzinga of the UNA-Utah Valley University chapter writes about their chapter’s work in supporting International Mountain Day – and how you can recognize the day in your chapter’s programming. 

Why do mountains matter?

Regardless of where we live, mountains play an integral role in the daily lives of much of the world’s population. Much of our usable freshwater supply originates from mountain areas. Mountainous ecosystems additionally host a variety of climates, ranging from rain forests to high-altitude deserts. According to the FAO-UN, more than 90% of the world’s mountain dwellers live in developing countries, including 634 million people living in rural areas where the vast majority live below the poverty line, and more than one in two face food insecurity. Modern challenges, such as climate change and migration, make their situation even worse. Read more about why mountains matter here.

International Mountain Day is celebrated annually to promote awareness for mountain communities around the globe. December 11th was officially declared as International Mountain Day by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 57/245 in December 2002.The Mountain Partnership under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) is the United Nations voluntary alliance to work together for mountain peoples and environments. Three mountain targets among 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are dedicated to the promotion of sustainable development for mountain communities:

  • Target 6.6: “By 2030, protect and restore water related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”;
  • Target 15.1: “By 2030, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements”;
  • Target 15.4: “By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.”

This Year’s International Mountain Day Theme: Mountains Matter for Youth

According to the FAO-UN, the main theme for this year’s International Mountain Day is “Mountains Matter for Youth.” This theme provides college chapters of UNA-USA the opportunity to show their support for mountain communities and advocate for the mountain communities and people to be in the focus of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Read about how our chapter celebrated last year. 


  • #IMD2019
  • #MountainsMatter