International Mountain Day: Mountains and Biodiversity - UNA-USA

Celebrate International Mountain Day: Mountains and Biodiversity

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. 


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.”

Why do Mountains Matter?

Regardless of where we live, mountains play an integral role in the daily lives of much of the world population. Much of the world’s usable freshwater supply originates from mountain areas. Mountainous ecosystems additionally host a variety of climates, ranging from rainforests 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, & more than 1 in 2 face food insecurity. Modern challenges, such as climate change and migration, make their situation even worse.

Contribute to the International Mountain Day Photo Contest

The FAO-UN has also initiated a photo contest to raise awareness about biodiversity in mountains. More information can be found here. 

This Year’s International Mountain Day Theme: Mountains and Biodiversity

According to the FAO-UN, the main theme for this year’s International Mountain Day is “Mountains and Biodiversity.” This theme allows for all UNA-USA chapters, regardless of affiliation, to support biodiversity in their communities.  

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