Natural jewels we should treasure Mountains are home of the 15% of the world´s population and a quarter of the world’s land animals and plants. They provide freshwater for everyday life to half of humanity. Their conservation is a key factor for sustainable development and is part of Goal 15 of the SDGs.
Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. As the global climate continues to warm, mountain people — some of the world’s poorest — face even greater struggles to survive. The rising temperatures also mean that mountain gla-ciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people. This problem affects us all. We must reduce our carbon footprint and take care of these natural treasures.
2019 Theme: Mountains Matter for Youth
International Mountain Day is a chance to highlight that for rural youth, living in the mountains can be hard. Migration from the mountains leads to abandoned ag-riculture, land degradation and a loss of ancient cultural traditions.
Education and training, market access, diverse employment opportunities and good public services can ensure a brighter future for young people in the mountains.
This year, youth will take the lead and demand that mountains and mountain peoples become central in the national and international development agendas; receive more attention, investments and tailored research.
International Mountain Day has its roots in the document “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” (called Chapter 13), adopted in 1992 as part of the action plan Agenda 21 of the Conference on Environment and Development.
The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN declare to 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains. The ?rst international day was celebrated for the ?rst time the following year, 2003.
Young people are active agents of change and the future leaders of tomorrow. They are custodians of mountains and of their natural resources, which are being threatened by climate change.
The 2019 International Mountain Day’s theme is a great opportunity for young generations to take the lead and request that mountains and mountain peoples become central in the national and international development agendas, receive more attention, investments and tailored research.
The day will also be an occasion to educate children about the role that mountains play in supporting billions up and downstream – by providing freshwater, clean energy, food and recreation.
International Mountain Day is a chance to highlight that for rural youth, living in the mountains can be hard. Many young people leave in search of a better life and employment. Migration from mountains leads to abandoned agriculture, land degradation and a loss of cultural values and ancient traditions. Education and training, market access, diverse employment opportunities and good public services can ensure a brighter future for young people in the mountains.
In the coming months, a communication tool box for International Mountain Day will be made available on the IMD website in six languages.
While ‘Mountains matter for Youth’ is the suggested theme for 2019, countries, communities and organizations are welcome to celebrate International Mountain Day through themes of their choosing. What can you do?