What Needs to be Done?

At its seventh meeting, the Conference of the Parties adopted a programme of work on mountain biological diversity as a set of actions addressing characteristics and problems that are specific to mountain ecosystems. The decision underlined the sovereign rights and responsibilities of countries over their mountains and mountain biodiversity and noted that Parties should implement the programme of work on mountain biological diversity in the context of their national and sub-national priorities. It invited Parties to identify priority actions among the actions recommended in the programme of work depending on the particular national or local conditions and urged Parties to incorporate them into their national biodiversity strategies and action plans as well as national programmes and activities on the implementation of regional mountain conventions and initiatives. In determining national programmes of work, Parties are encouraged to pay due regard to socio-economic, cultural and environmental costs and benefits of various options. In addition Parties are encouraged to consider the use of appropriate technologies, sources of finance, and technical cooperation, and to ensure, through appropriate actions, the means to meet the particular challenges and demands of their mountain ecosystems. It requested the Parties to implement the activities taking into account the ecosystem approach so as to contribute to the significant reduction of the rate of mountain biological diversity loss by 2010 and as a contribution to poverty reduction and to the benefit of indigenous and local communities dependent on mountains.

Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 on Sustainable Mountain Development recognized that mountain ecosystems are rapidly changing and that the proper management of mountain resources and socio-economic development of the people deserved immediate action. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2002 as the International Year of Mountains with the main objective to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable mountain development. The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development included in its Plan of Implementation considerations for the sustainable development of mountain regions (paragraph 40). The UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre and UNEP’s Mountain Programme, in collaboration with a number of organizations, compiled the Mountain watch report, which provides a systematic assessment of mountain ecosystems, using a geographic information system (GIS) based analysis of global data.