Progress and Perspectives on Sustainable Mountain Development From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and beyond Synthesis Report compiled by ... Place / institution / date (year)

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GLOBAL SYNTHESIS REPORT
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Cover page [use new figure/visuals plus attractive mountain picture


collage of 16

-

Maybe create a
patch work including somewhere like a ‘water sign’ ‘The Future We Want’


‘The Future We Need’ ...
]





Progress and Perspectives on Sus
tainable Mountain D
evelopment

From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and beyond


Synthesis Report compiled by ...


Place / institution / date (year)



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Table of Content



Foreword

Acknowledgements

1.

Global Overview of Sustainable Mountain Development

1.1
Sustainable Development depends

upon mountain ecosystems and resources

1.2 Key global features of the past 20 years impacting on SMD

1.3 Key regional features of the past 20 years impacting on SMD

1.4 Shortcoming to SMD over the past 20 years

2.
Road Map for Sustainable Mountain Develop
ment

3.

Regional Issues and O
pportunities for Sustainable Mountain Development

3.1 Issues and Opportunities in the Andes


3.1.1 Why mountains in the Andes matter


3.1.2
How current trends affect
SMD

in the Andes


3.1.3
Policy action for the Andean mounta
ins

3.2 Issues and Opportunities in Meso America


3.2.1 Why mountains in Meso America matter

3.2.2
How current trends affect
SMD

in Meso America

3.2.3 Policy action for the Meso American mountains

3.3 Issues and Opportunities in North America


3.3.1 Why mo
untains in North America matter


3.3.2
How current trends threaten SMD in North America


3.3.3
Policy action for North America’s mountains

3.4 Issues and Opportunities in Africa


3.4.1
Why mountains in Africa matter


3.4.2
How African mountains contribute
to sustainable


3.4.3
Policy action for Africa’s mountains

3.5 Issues and Opportunities in Middle East and North Africa

3.5.1 Why mountains in Middle East and North Africa matter

3.5.2 How current trends affect SMD in the

Middle East and North Africa

3.5.
3 Policy action for the MENA mountains

3.6 Issues and Opportunities in Hindu Kush Himalayas

3.6.1 Why mountains in the Hindu Kush Himalayas matter

3.6.2 How current trends affect SMD in the Hindu Kush Himalayas

3.6.3 Policy action for the Hindu Kush Himal
ayas

3.7 Issues and Opportunities in Central Asia

3.7.1 Why mountains in Central Asia matter

3.7.2 How current trends affect SMD in Central Asia

3.7.3

Policy action for the Central Asian mountains

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3.8 Issues and Opportunities in South East Asia and the Pa
cific

3.8.1 Why mountains in Southeast Asia and the Pacific matter

3.8.2

How current trends affect SMD in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

3.8.3

Policy action for mountains in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

3.9 Issues and Opportunities in Central, Eastern a
nd South
-
Eastern Europe

3.9.1 Why mountains in Central, Eastern and South
-
Eastern Europe matter

3.9.2 How current trends affect SMD in

Central, Eastern and South
-

Eastern Europe

3.9.3 Policy action for the mountains of Central, Eastern and South
-
Eastern E
urope

3.10 Issues and Opportunities in the Alps

3.10.1

Why mountains in the Alps matter

3.10.2

How current trends affect SMD in the Alps

3.10.3
Policy action for the Alps


4
Selected refe
rences



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Foreword


In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on

Environment and Development (UNCED) commonly
referred to as ‘Rio 1992’ or ‘the Rio Earth Summit’


mountains received unexpected high political
attention. They were granted a chapter in the ‘Agenda 21’ as fragile ecosystems that matter for
humankind
. Sinc
e then, a wide range of efforts by different actors have been undertaken to promote
‘Sustainable Mountain Development’

(SMD)
, some
emerging from
the above event
and

others
generated independently
.


Twenty years later, the global commitment t
o mountains
an
d their need for a sustainable development
has been reiterated in three paragraphs of the
final document ‘The Future We Want’

elaborated at
the
UN Conference
'Rio+20'.

The paragraphs

recognize the global benefits derived from mountain regions
as being c
ritic
al for sustainable development

(SD). They highlight

the vulnerability of mountain
ecosystems to the adverse impacts of
environmental change, land conversion and degradation
, and
natural disasters
. The text stresses in particular
the
potential negative

impact
s of
glacier

melting
for the

human wellbeing

and the environment
.

The
paragraphs also

acknowledge the
hardship

o
f
certain
mountain

region
s as home to poor,
marginalized,
disadvantaged
and often indigenous
communities

while at the same time recognizi
ng
the
crucial
role of mountain people as the true stewards of
a healthy

mountain environment an
d
well
-
functioning

ecosystems.



However,
to support a renewed '
Global
Mountain Agenda' and

to

implement concrete actions
p
ost
‘Rio+20’
,
it
is important

to asse
ss and understand what has been
Change
in particular. The later has
emerged
as the main concern of the last decade’
directly affecting mountain ecosystems and people.
However,
as in the past, major unexpected and unpredictable political, social, economic o
r even
technological changes and innovations may overshadow
the current anticipation of mountain
development in different geographical contexts.


In th
e

complex world of today, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
(SDC)
-

as one of the
most com
mitted agents in

promoting

Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD)
at the global level
over
the past 20 years

-

has commissioned a number of regional reports to assess
progress
and
perspective

in
major mountain regions such as in particular Central Asia,
th
e
Hindu Kush
-
Himalaya (HKH)
,
the South
East
Asia and
Pacific
,
the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
, the Alps

and

Latin America
.
Thanks to a
particular effort of committed SMD partners in North America, a specific report has been added to the
series comm
issioned by SDC.
In addition
,

a

global report

ha
s

been compiled
to address

institutional
framework conditions
at various

level
s

as well as
the scope for

Green
Economy
in

the context of SMD.


The insights gained through these
reports

in which key local, reg
ional and global actors have been
actively involved are meant to

help generate a renewed ‘Global Mountain Agenda’ and to

feed into a
range of processes
including e.g. the formulation and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) intended to re
place the current ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs). This may lead to the
definition of a possible subset of ‘Sustainable Mountain Development Goals’ (SMDGs) to provide clear
and measurable targets for the next 10 or 20 years.
In order to advance SMD i
n a meaningful manner
more actors and actor categories will have to be involved


providing avenues for novel partnerships
combining e.g. the public and the private sector as well as civil society at large.



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Acknowledgements


The present
synthesis report

has been compiled using a
wide range

of
recent
sources


in particular the

regional and global reports
and policy briefs
prepared for the ‘Lucerne World Mountain Conference’
and
the UN Conference 'Rio +20'.
The authors
/ editors

would thus like to explici
tly thank the lead
organizations which coordinated the various reports
via

a range of author teams. This applies in
particular to the following institutions:

the
Centre for Development and Environment
(CDE)
of the
University of Bern
in Switzerland
,
the
In
ternational Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
(ICIMOD),
the
Consortium for Sustainable Development of the Andean Eco
R
egion (
CONDESAN
)
,

the
Swiss

Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE),
the
Sultan Qaboos University (SQU)
,
the
University
of C
entral Asia (UCA),
the
Zoï Environment Network
,
the
Aspen International Mountain Foundation

(AIMF)
,
the
University of Geneva, the
Tropical Science Center (TSC)
,

and
the

United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP)
.

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1.

Global Overview of Sustainable Mou
ntain Development

[6
-
8 pages] (meant as Exec. Summary or Overall Synthesis)


1.1

S
ustainable
D
evelopment depends
up
on mountain
ecosystems and
resources

Mountains

cover

approximately

27%
of

the

Earth

s

land

surface
,
are

home

to

about

12%
of

the

global

popu
lation

and

provide

indispensable

goods

and

services

for

all

humankind
.
Mountain

regions

supply

half

of

the

world

s

population

with

freshwater
,
are

repositories of important

cultural

and

biological

diversity
,
sources

of

key
raw

materials

and

important

touri
stic

destinations
.
However
,
many of
these

regions

suffer

from

dire

poverty
,
widespread

land

degradation
,
and
inequitable

land

rights
. Moreover
,
they
are

among those ecosystems that are
already

enduring

the
negative

impacts
of C
limate

C
hange. As
examples

of

these
hardships
, estimates indicate that approximately 40% of the mountain population in
developing and transition countries
-

i.e. about 271 million people

-

are vulnerable to food insecurity
and

half
of them
are
suffering from
chronic hunger.

The

vital

role

of

mountain

eco
systems

for

up
-

and

downstream

populations

in

both

rural

and

urban

areas

is now

recognized

at

the

international

policy

level
.
Mountains

have become

subject

of

multiple

international

treaties

and

trans
-
boundary

collaboration

initiatives

as

they

often

extend

beyond

national

borders
.

However
,
despite

their

strategic

importance
,
the

frequent

perception

of

mountains

as

remote
,
inaccessible

and


hard

to

reach

areas

has

contributed

to

their

marginalization

from

national

and
international
devel
opment

efforts
. The combination of
government

neglect
,
lack

of

private

investment
s

and

environmental

fragility

has contributed

to

worsen

the

socio
-
economic

situation

of

mountain

dwellers
.

By and large since 1992,
many
mountain regions

especially in develop
ing and transition countries

have
not performed up to their
real
potential. Instead of playing a vibrant role in the life of their respective
nations, mountains have
-

with some notable exceptions
-

failed to match their surrounding areas in
terms of envir
onmental, social and economic capital

growth

or recognized role
.


It appears that all too frequently, mountains
are

experienc
ing
losses of
critical
environmental
capital
through pollution, mining
, desertification,
soil
e
rosion
, vanishing
biodiversity

as w
ell as
of social capital
through
outmigration,
breakdowns in families

and

social networks
,

socio
-
cultural disintegration
.
Similarly the
economic capital
has at best been
stagnant
with many places experiencing an
increas
e in
poverty,
suffering from armed
conflicts and from a
destruction of infrastructure
coupled with a
generalized
lack of investment. The reasons
for the current situation are v
ery diverse and linked to

the

different historical, geo
-
political, environmental, and socio
-
cultural contexts. As
this heterogeneity is a
common feature it has to be considered when searching for new pathways to achieve or promote SMD.


Comparing different geographic
mountain
regions, a range of similarities and dissimilarities appear. It
has thus become obvious that
in many instances out
-
migration has led to a reduction of human power
in labour intensive traditional mountain land use systems. While the resulting remittances may have
provided help
b
y

improv
ing

monetary income and possibly livelihood
conditions,

it
has
also

induced
negative impacts e.g.
by increasing the burden of women (‘feminization of mountain agriculture’) or by
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abandoning labour intensive land use practices that may threaten the proper functioning of mountain
ecosystems e.g. with regard to erosion,
landslides etc.
.

Hence, while economic capital may have increased

by out
-
migration
, social capital has also been
strained (e.g. by separation of families, changes in value systems). The magnitude and impact of out
-
migration differs though geographically. T
his is particularly true for the African and the Latin American
continents, where many mountain regions seem to be considered as better places to live compared to
lowland areas

given the strong population increase and the limits for urban growth
. This has
led to an
increase of population density in mountains
with a consecutive higher
pressure on
already
scarce
resources such as
in particular
arable land.




While outmigration usually involves the young male population, or entire families, in the SEAP
region t
his process is becoming
increasingly
feminized
. W
omen are encouraged to migrate and
send
back
remittances,
a process that is
seriously affecting the social and cultural fabric of the
region
.


However, independently from these places with increased populati
on in mountains, the phenomena of
globalization coupled with persistent overall human population growth has led to a strong increase of
pressure on mountain resources such as in particular water and minerals. This has triggered large
scale
environmental

de
gradation thus

leading to a

reduction of a form of capital that is critical for SMD.
Regrettably, many mountain regions have also been affected by violent conflicts


often triggered by
geopolitical dynamics that have hindered or even inhibited SMD. The de
mise of the Soviet Union has
even reversed development
particularly

in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.





Converse changes in population density have been observed in some areas of the Alps.


However, not all is doom and gloom in mountains a
nd with regard to SMD. In fact, many positive
experiences have been witnessed triggered by specific initiatives, programs and projects that have
provided opportunities to support mountain communities and enhance cooperation. This is particularly
true with
a range of community based organizations (CBOs) or networks such as e.g. the ‘Alliance of
Central Asian Mountain Communities’ AGOCA that allows villages of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and
Kazakhstan to exchange experiences and cooperate.


1.2

Key global feature
s of the past 20 years

impacting on SMD


During the past 20 years
,

the following key global features have impacted on SMD in many mountain
regions of the world:

• The emergence of
a
Climate Change discourse and the manifestation of the phenomena itself ha
s
raised the political interest in mountains and disseminated awareness o
n

rapid glacier melting,
increased
risk for natural
hazards, and possible shortages of water supply for humanity in a near future

especially
in

major urban centres
of

almost

all conti
nents
.

• A

considerable number diverse types of non
-
armed and armed conflicts have taken place in mountain
regions and hampered their development in a dramatic manner.

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• The process of globalization has triggered a range of secondary processes such as ra
pid urbanization
and increasing out
-
migration that have affected mountain regions in a substantive way.

• Overall the continuous growth of human population has increased the pressure on mountain
resources and contributed to large scale environmental degra
dation that compromises the assets for a
future SMD in many mountain region
s

and compromise millions of both, rural and urban livelihoods,
especially in poor countries.


Key regional features of the past 20 years

impacting on SMD


a) Andes

• The continued

urbanization of mountains with an overall high population density is putting more and
more pressure on natural resources.

• The increased proliferation of mining leads to environmental degradation with local communities
lacking bargaining power.

• The i
mportance of local / traditional knowledge and mountain agro
-
biodiversity has increased.

• Climate change, glacier retreat and mountain ecosystem degradation, are threatening the supply of
mountain water to multiple agricultural fields, major urban centres

including various country capitals
(Quito, Lima, etc).


b) Meso America

• The greatest global threat to mountains and SD in the Meso America region is linked to climate
change; other direct threats stem from the mining industry, from hydro
-
electric dam
s, from urban
sprawl to mountainous areas, and from deforestation and soil erosion.

• Mountains have emerged as the region’s opportunity to strengthen conservation and sustainable
development initiatives, in opposition to the more densely populated and in
dustrially developed
lowlands.


d) North America

• The

population is growing in North American mountains, mainly because of amenity migration and
tourism. These have brought investment in infrastructure and services but are impacting the
natural
ecosystem
bi
odiversity
.

• Climate change represents a major threat to natural mountain ecosystems and to the national water
and hydroelectricity security. Major cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas have acquired all
land use rights over watersheds to pr
otect and secure mountain water provision.

• Mountaintop removal and fracking mining practices are destroying important mountain ecosystems,
their goods and services, with little benefits to the local communities.


e
) Africa

• The mobilization of suffic
ient resources for investment in SMD in Africa has remained a major
bottleneck; as a consequence many countries, and in particular, mountain communities, are still
grappling with crippling poverty and its eradication.

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• Data and information on African mou
ntain regions has remained scattered, unprocessed and
unpublished, making its accessibility for use in decision
-
making and resource management initiatives
and practices for SD very difficult; decision
-
making thus remains mostly from an uninformed or poorl
y
informed position.

• Many African mountain regions remain isolated and attract less investment and development, except
for a few cases, such as for mountain tourism; consequently, these areas still lag behind average global
development.


f) Middle East
and North Africa

• The economic environment in MENA, dominated by the oil and petroleum sector, and the nature of
governance, were the two most significant drivers that have impacted on SMD.

• Key issues in the MENA Mountain region are climate, water res
ources, wildlife and biodiversity,
agriculture, livestock and land use, and tourism.


g) Hindu Kush


Himalaya (HKH)

• The HKH region has witnessed increased snow and glacial melt and frequency of extreme events that
have exacerbated livelihood risks incl
uding poverty, food insecurity, hazards and social inequity.

• Hosting a huge number of glaciers and acting as the ‘Third Pole’, the HKH region is at high risk from
Climate Change since progressive warming at higher altitudes has been three to five times
the global
average.

• The HKH plays pivotal role as the water tower of Asia being the source of 10 major river systems that
provide water to over 1.5 billion people.


h) Central Asia

• The transition from a command to a market economy has caused the deca
y of a rather well developed
mountain region regarding both human and physical assets.


The creation of new borders has made previous exchange mechanisms and related infrastructure
obsolete
and has become an economic burden for the poorest and most moun
tainous countries in the
region.

• The numbers of migrants and remittances are soaring with both positive and negative impacts on
mountains and their communities.

• The exploitation of regional natural resources by foreign private companies (e.g. for gol
d, mercury,
uranium etc.) has increased and is contributing to environmental hazards while the local population
doesn’t appropriately benefit from the revenues
.



The increasing trans boundary conflict for mountain water generated in the two poorest countrie
s
and required for extensive agriculture in the others.


i) South East Asia and Pacific (SEAP)

• The SEAP region forms one of the world’s highest but also most severely threatened biodiversity pools
to which the mountain areas contribute in a substantive
manner.

• Ongoing population growth and continuously increasing economic pressures are driving migrant
lowland settlers toward SEAP mountains while extractive companies harness the mountains’ timber,
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minerals and water resources without giving due share t
o the local communities; both processes put the
fragile mountain ecosystems at high risk.


j) Central, Eastern and South
-
Eastern Europe

• The transition from a command to a market economy and the creation of new states has been
accompanied by territorial
disputes; it has also triggered a number of environmental degradation
processes that compromise a prosperous future development.

• A number of new institutions relevant to SMD have been established such as in particular the
Carpathian Convention based on

the model of the Alpine Convention; however, they still lack the power
of effective implementation.


k
) Alps

• The Alps are an example of an overall rich mountain region that has profited from economic
development and political stability incl
uding

the m
ore recent phenomena of amenity migration.

• Transfer payments based on the principle of equity at various levels have continued to secure
prosperity over the last 20 years; nevertheless major changes have occurred e.g. regarding land use such
as a reduct
ion of number of farms/farmers.

• A rich institutional landscape secures a multiple ownership supporting the Alp’s development;
however, the divide between prosperous and peripheral areas has further increased.

• Pressure on land resources (e.g. consump
tion of land for habitats) has increased such as noise and air
pollution, too. Many remote mountain region is being depleted from youth as an important r
esource
and asset of the future.



T
he growth of peripheral urban centres attracting human and natural mo
untain resources, and
slowly and unevenly competing for services and investment.



1.4
Shortcomings

to SMD over the past 20 years


In a broader comparative perspective a range of common shortcomings to SMD has been identified.
These relate in particular to

a:

• Lack of involvement, active participation and ownership of local mountain stakeholders and civil
society at large

• Lack of implementation of the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) principle as a funding
mechanism for mountain systems; the f
ew experiences made so far have been mixed and proper benefit
sharing remains a challenge.

• Lack of targets, appropriate indicators, measurements, reliable data and applicable monitoring
systems to monitor and steer SMD at all levels

• Lack of clear res
ource ownership arrangements that recognize and empower local mountain
communities as custodians and care takers of vital resources to humanity as a whole.


Additional relevant issues
to be included

-
Poverty in mountain areas has many facets and manifesta
tions, including low income, poor health, low
access to health facilities, malnutrition, poor education, low skills, high dependence on the natural
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environment, high insecurity and physical vulnerability, drudgery and limited capability and
entrepreneurial

capacity. As the causes and dimensions of mountain poverty are different from those in
lowlands, poverty reduction measures need to be seen, planned and targeted from a mountain
perspective.


-

Progress has been made in all regions in terms of designation

of protected mountain areas for
biodiversity conservation. A vision of transnational cooperation for the implementation of ecological
corridors, natural parks and
protected area extension is common to most regions, and could provide a
solid base for inter
national cooperation in SMD. (e.g. Meso America, Alps, Carpathians, SEAP)


-

In addition to outmigration and climate change, common and of extreme importance to all regions are
concerns regarding water, energy and the environmental and human impacts of
min
ing operations and
large hydroelectric projects.


-

Another issue to highlight is the growing food insecurity, and high reliance in food imports in very poor
mountain regions (Meso America, SEAP, for instance), where mountain land and agricultural know ho
w
could help remediate this situation.


-

Glacier melting has been highlighted everywhere as a major concern, and yesterday, the minister of
Environment in Peru made a public announcement of the country losing over 25% of their glaciers
recently.
This cou
ld be accompanied by a striking photograph
.


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RECOMMENDED FIGURES FOR THIS SECTION (To select two possibly)



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2. R
oad Map for Sustainable Mountain Development
-

moving the global mountain agenda
beyond Rio 2012

-
Extracted f
rom the Green Economy
and Institutional Frameworks Draft Report by CDE


Mountains provide vital goods and services for the benefit of all humankind, for supporting sustainable
development at the global level, and for moving the world towards a greener economy. Twenty years
afte
r Rio, the challenge of sustaining the provision of these goods and services has never been greater.
The global community must act


a new agenda and strengthened institutional framework for mountain
development is urgently required


This new mountain agen
da should be based on the following policy principles:



Mountain
-
specific strategies:

Mountains hold specific challenges and opportunities for global

sustainable development relating to green economy and institutions. Targeted strategies are thus
require
d for effective action, especially at the national level. Global and regional institutions,
conventions, and frameworks such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN
Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Convention to Combat Desert
ification need to include
specific programmes for mountain regions.


Transboundary cooperation, upstream


downstream linkages, and rural
-
urban linkages:

Many
mountain ecosystems and the services they provide transcend national borders, with the majority o
f
benefits accruing to lowland regions. Strengthening transboundary and upstream

downstream
collaboration will increase the effectiveness of interventions. Increasing economic interdependencies
between rural and urban areas within mountains, as well as bet
ween mountains and lowland cities and
metropolitan regions also provide opportunities for partnership and collaboration.


Governance and institutions:

Agenda 21 as a key reference for future action requires the involvement
of all relevant stakeholders. Sp
ecifically, mountain populations must be involved in all decision
-
making
stages from planning to implementation.


Compensation for ecosystem goods and services:
Ensuring that mountain populations receive full
compensation for the provision of ecosystem goo
ds and services will enhance local livelihoods, reduce
poverty, and ensure a sustained flow of these goods and services for the benefit of all.


Balance conservation and development:

Mountain ecosystems are often fragile, and their integrity is
important.
But mountain regions frequently also lag behind in development for reasons beyond their
control. Balancing conservation and development is thus important; sound local and regional knowledge
and targeted investment can help achieve this aim.



Coherence wit
h principles of international cooperation:
Collective action in support of mountains
must be consistent with existing and evolving principles and norms of international cooperation. These
include, inter alia, the principle of common but differentiated resp
onsibility, intra
-

and intergenerational
equity, the precautionary principle, duty to prevent transboundary harm, human rights of women, men,
and children, and protection of traditional knowledge.




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15

Policy action


1. Sustainable Mountain Development Goa
ls

(SMDGs)
:

Specific strategies are required for effective policy action, including investments in green economy

and institutions. We invite countries and regional bodies to design specific Sustainable Mountain

Development Goals (SMDGs) within the framew
ork of national SDGs, indicating priority objectives and
implementation plans which include green investment and institutional development.

2. Water resources management:
Given the key role of mountains in providing water for domestic and
commercial use,

food security, and green energy, we invite countries and regional bodies to develop
integrated water resource management strategies. These strategies should be based on a
multidisciplinary approach, which embeds sectoral policies and action within the ove
rall goal of
sustainable development; combines top
-
down and bottom
-
up approaches; and secures longterm
planning and financing, capacity development, and institution building.

3. Green investment:
Mountain regions have a high potential for greening economi
es within and
beyond mountains. In order to make full use of this potential, countries are invited to tap existing
international finance mechanisms, to explore partnerships with the private sector, and to prepare green
investment plans for mountain regions
. Priority areas include green energy with a focus on sustainable
hydropower generation; responsible mining and resource extraction; and promotion of small and
medium
-
sized industry, tourism, agriculture, and biodiversity.

4. Disaster risk management:
Mo
untains are particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters,
with consequences far beyond mountain regions. We therefore invite countries to prepare mountain
-
specific disaster risk management plans, which integrate risk assessment, prevention,
response, and
recovery. These plans could contain elements of a green economy such as sustainable forestry. They
should also help revive or establish institutions capable of successfully dealing with hazards and risk
management.

5. Regional centers of co
mpetence:

Lack of mountain
-
specific knowledge hinders informed policy
making and effective action at all levels of decision
-
making. Technologies and institutions that work well
in lowland areas are often ill
-
adapted to mountain realities. There is thus a n
eed to promote regional
centers of competence to advance research and green technology development, capacity and institution
building for green development, and policy advice tailored to mountain areas.

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3.

Regional issues and opportunities for S
ustain
able
M
ountain
D
evelopment



3.1.

Issues and Opportunities in the Andes


3.1.1

Why mountains in the Andes matter


The Andes are
the world’s longest mountain chain,

f
orm the backbone of South America and are a major
global physiographic feature, influencing

climate, seismic energy, biodiversity, human culture and
history around the world.

The Andes cover a length of approximately
8,000 km

across Venezuela,
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, occupy more than 2,500,000 km², and have a
popu
lation of about 85 million (45% of total country populations), with the northern Andes as one of the
most densely populated mountain regions in the world
(Fig.1)
.

At least a further 20 million people are
also dependent on mountain resources and ecosystem s
ervices in the large cities along the Pacific coast
of South America.

The Andes are
one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet and
vital for the
economies and livelihoods of the majority of the Andean countries. However, increasing pressure,
fuelled
by growing population numbers, changes in land use, unsustainable exploitation of resources,
and climate change, could have far
-
reaching negative impacts on ecosystem goods and services. To
achieve sustainable development, policy action is required regardi
ng the protection of water resources,
responsible mining practices, adaptation to climate change and mechanisms to generate and use
knowledge for sound decision making.


3.1.2

How current trends affect
SMD

in the Andes


Mountains are hugely influential on
the economies of the seven Andean countries, accounting for a
significant proportion of the region’s GDP. The Andes contain globally important reserves of metals and
minerals, large areas of agricultural land, house some of the largest business capitals of

South America
and provide water for agriculture, domestic use and hydroelectric energy production. However, some of
the region’s poorest areas are also located in the mountains.


The Andes provide 15‐17% of the total cropland of the seven countries where, since 1990 the area
harvested has remained relatively stable but agricultural production increased by 75%. This large
increase in yield and cultivation intensity added to an incr
ement in the value of agricultural products,
has allowed this economic sector to contribute in 2009 to between 3% and 13% of the Andean
countries' GDP.


With increasing production of minerals, the mining sector has gained economic importance in the region
since 1990. However, its role in national economies is very different to that played by agriculture in that
the activity generally employs less people, and represents a smaller contribution to GDP, but provides a
large proportion of the total exports. As a
n example, in Peru mining contributed 4.1% of GDP in 2010,
but accounted for 70% of exports, with metals, almost all originating from the Andes, representing 61%.
Direct employment generated by mining activities was just under 1% of the economically active

population, and including related service industries would have reached 3%. This is a small fraction of
employment when compared to approximately 30% in agriculture. The environmental and social
impacts of mining however, have been subject of controversy

and debate in the region.


In the northern Andes, mining exploitation concentrates in Peru and Bolivia, while large areas have been
granted concessions in Colombia and Ecuador, including in national parks in the latter. Large areas of
montane forest in t
he four countries are under mining concessions, with up to 75% of humid forest in
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Ecuador. Only a small area of each concession is actually used for exploitation, but the impacts of
resulting pollution, opening access to undisturbed areas and changes in lo
cal social dynamics and
economies are often much further reaching. Conflicts for resources, especially water, are also
increasingly common. In Argentina and Chile mining projects have caused controversy by destroying
glaciers. And although mining has repre
sented an important factor in the development of Andean
countries over the last 20 years, social or economic investment in the actual areas of exploitation has
not been proportional to the mining effort.


High mountain ecosystems in the Andes play a funda
mental role in the storage, regulation and provision
of water to local communities, agriculture, large cities and the industry. These services are provided by
paramo and humid puna ecosystems in the North of the region, while glaciers gain hydrological
rel
evance towards the South. However, these systems are fragile and their water regulation properties
threatened by land use change and global warming, with direct implications on biodiversity, water and
energy supply. Currently, with the exception of Argenti
na and Venezuela, mountains provide over 85%
of all hydroelectric power to the Andean countries, a very significant contribution to their total energy
supply (
Fig 2
).


With climate change, an average increase in temperature is expected and precipitation i
s likely to
decrease in the Southern Andes. However, future precipitation projections in other areas of the
mountain range are highly uncertain, mainly due to the complex relief, lack of data on current climatic
processes and the fact that precipitation pa
tterns will heavily depend on changes in El Nino, which are
currently poorly understood. As in other regions, global warming is expected to drive changes in
ecosystem composition and structure along elevation gradients, with plant and animal species migrat
ing
to higher, cooler sites. While in the Northern Andes, paramos, located in mountain tops, and cloud
forests have been identified as the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change, glacier retreat has
already been recorded along the entire mountain ran
ge. Numerous glaciers have disappeared
completely during the past decades, to the point that the Cordillera Blanca of Merida has lost an
estimated 87% glacier cover in the past fifty years and the annual rate of contribution from Patagonian
glaciers to ris
ing sea levels has doubled between 2000 and 2005. Glacier loss is of concern for the
provision of drinking water and hydroelectric

power

to cities in

Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile and it
is expected to impact Andean valley agriculture. Landslides, flo
ods, and ongoing conflict for resources
also have potential to become more serious as climate change affects water availability in the region.


Multiple watershed management efforts have taken place in the Andean countries during the past 20
years to secu
re water reserves and provision, reduce poverty, and improve environmental conditions.
These projects have, in some instances, led to integrated and concerted water management policy.
More recently, and in the context of climate change mitigation and adapt
ation, mechanisms providing
economic retribution for protection of environmental services, including PES are appearing in public
policies in the Andes. Other options for adaptation to current climatic changes in this region are offered
by its high agro bio
diversity and traditional farming systems, developed since pre Columbian times in
response to both temporary and long
-

term environmental change and uncertainty.


In the Andes, mountain areas have provided fertile ground for innovation in local governanc
e, for
example, in making decentralization policies and citizen participation a reality. The Andes also provide a
backdrop for the regional policies of the Andean Community, a political organization covering four
Andean nations, which provides a regional f
ramework for addressing issues related to sustainable
mountain development.


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Nevertheless, increasing pressure on mountains, fuelled by a growing population, changes in land use,
unsustainable exploitation of resources, and climate change, are important ch
allenges that must be
tackled in the pursuit of sustainable development. Ensuring water supplies, maintaining a healthy
environment, and addressing climate change are essential tasks for maintaining the livelihoods of the
majority of the population of the
Andean countries. Success in addressing them will depend on
achieving sustainable development within and beyond mountain areas. Without significant policy
adaptations, resource use and development in the region will become increasingly unsustainable, with
serious consequences for the region’s economies, societies and the environment.


3.1.3

Policy action for the Andean mountains


Policy action should cover the regional, national and local levels. Regional integration, stressing the
importance of mountain is
sues, should be promoted within the Andean Community, and eventually, the
Union of South American Nations. An especially important function of these organizations is to create a
common regional platform for strengthening the position of mountains in intern
ational conventions
(CBD, UNFCCC, and UNCCD). At the national and local levels, action should focus on drafting and
implementing specific strategies (e.g. ecosystem protection, responsible mining, green economy) and on
innovative institutional mechanisms t
hat bring mountain issues on political agendas.


Protect mountain ecosystems to safeguard water supplies:
Action includes strategies for conservation
of mountain ecosystems (paramos, wetlands, puna); lobbying for legal protection (laws for no
-
go mining
zon
es, protected areas); mobilise basin
-
wide responsibility through strengthening upstream
-
downstream partnerships.


Promote agricultural production in mountain areas by building on local knowledge and local native
products, while improving food security and
protecting biodiversity:
Action includes the wider
recognition of women’s role in food security involving Andean products and incentives for combining
environmental protection with increased agricultural production.


Implement climate change adaptation act
ions for mountain regions across regional, national and local
policies:
Action includes the promotion of research and monitoring for evaluating the current and future
contributions of upland ecosystems (wetlands, glaciers) to overall water supply under dif
ferent climate
change scenarios.


Transform current mining methods with responsible mining codes:
Action includes policy formulation
for responsible mining, including recyclability at all stages of production chains, both within as well as
beyond the minin
g region.


Use regional cooperation to share and replicate experience on where and how decentralization and
increased citizens’ participation has been beneficial for sustainable mountain development:
Action
includes innovative governance mechanisms that a
llow stronger representation of mountain
communities in national and regional decision making.


Improve coordination between educational institutions (especially state universities in mountain
areas, research NGOs), and governments to ensure that knowledge

generated can be applied to
sustainable mountain development:
Action includes, for example, alignment of research agendas with
the specific development needs in mountain areas.


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Improve communication mechanisms within government:
Action includes identifyi
ng overlapping
jurisdictions between government departments, between government levels (local and national);
implementing multi
-
level approaches.


Implement decision support systems at local and regional levels, covering issues such as water
management and

climate change adaptation:
Action includes capacity development for using new
technologies in mountain regions and provision of incentives to generate and share mountain
-
specific
information for sound decision
-
making.


RECOMMENDED FIG. 1.



Figure

1.

a)

South

America,

showing

the

Andean

region,

as

defined

by

this

report;

b)

Proportion

of

total

c
ountry

area

(blue)

and

population

(red)

represented

by

the

Andean

region.


RECOMMENDED FIGURE 2



Fig.2 Hydroelectric energy generation in the Andes

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3.2
Issues
and Opportunities in Meso America


3.2.1

Why mountains in Meso America matter

Mountains in Meso America cover 25.2% of the region and hold a remarkable 12% of the world’s
biodiversity on only about 2% of the Earth’s land surface. A total of 86

major

indige
nous ethnic groups
occupy 54.2% of the mountain territories
(Fig. 1)
, which over 25 distinct mountain systems, host tropical
and subtropical forests as well as deserts and xeric shrublands. The greatest global threat to sustainable
mountain development in
the region is climate change. Other threats are mining, expansion of
hydropower generation, urban sprawl into mountain areas, deforestation, soil erosion and high
elevation monoculture practices.


Meso America extends from the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Mexico

across Southern Mexico to Belize,
Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, covering a total of 862,468 km².
Since Rio 1992, Meso America has found itself immersed in a new and more complex international
situation, characterized

by

the destructive geopolitics of security associated with drug trafficking, the
growing vulnerability of the region's least developed countries in the international economy, and high
international oil and food prices.

Despite a greater political stabili
ty, these factors compound
the
historical socio economic lags of the region in constraining
rapid advances in human development and
regional integration in recent years. This situation poses strategic challenges that will require not only
innovative and bo
ld regional and national responses, but also major improvements in the collective
capacity to implement them.


3.2.2

How current trends affect
SMD

in Meso America


Today, a vast majority of Meso America’s more than 50 million people live in the lowlands of

the Pacific
coast. Nevertheless, Meso America has a high concentration of large cities in central valleys that
increasingly depend on water from the mountains. Regional ecosystems and the economic and social
capital they support are now facing climate cha
nge and, as a consequence, an unprecedented
combination of tipping points, including extreme population growth (doubling of the regional population
since 1992). Forests, state protected areas, biological corridors for connectivity conservation, and
indigen
ous territories cover 72.6% of the mountain land. In contrast to the more densely populated and
industrialised lowlands, the mountains represent an opportunity for the region to strengthen
conservation and sustainable development.


One of the main causes f
or increased pressure on natural resources is the region’s rapid population
growth from 11 million in the 1950s to more than 50 million today. A great part of the regional economy
is based on extractive use of mountain natural resources. Energy production
from renewable resources
within mountain protected areas is growing, particularly hydroelectric and geothermal energy
production. Challenges for sustainable mountain development include mitigating the impacts of climate
change and adapting to this change;
providing jobs, health care, and education services; reducing food
import dependency and achieving food security; preventing outmigration; stabilising democracy;
fighting corruption; strengthening local government; protecting the natural heritage; and supp
lying
clean energy. These challenges are of a magnitude that makes it impossible for any one country to
address them alone. Close and effective collaboration within the region is crucial.

Lake


While mountain challenges have not dramatically changed since
1992, relative progress has been made
at the regional level in terms of natural resource recording and information sharing, improving the
existing knowledge base on sustainable agricultural technologies and conservation practices with local
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communities and

establishing baselines for mountain risk reduction actions. There have been
comparatively more efforts and success in promoting integrated watershed management and
alternative livelihood opportunities, including sustainable tourism, and in enhancing infra
structure and
social services. Land
-
use planning, risk management and early
-
warning systems are yet to be addressed.


Coordination of regional efforts to protect fragile mountain ecosystems through appropriate
mechanisms has facilitated advances in the pr
omotion and creation of policy instruments for integrated
management and conservation of mountain environments. In the past two decades, all Meso American
countries have created or strengthened their ministries of the environment and natural resources,
dra
fted national environmental laws, established national biodiversity strategies, developed protected
areas networks, and signed international environmental treaties and conventions. Under the current
Meso American socio political and environmental context,
payment for environmental services,
ecological restoration and connectivity conservation have emerged as promising schemes for
sustainable mountain development and transboundary cooperation.


3.2.3

Policy action for the Meso American mountains


The Meso A
merican Biological Corridor (MBC) is the region’s best opportunity to implement sustainable
mountain development, provided that the Central American Integration System and its Central
American Development Commission (SICA
-
CCAD) are put to work with a stron
g backing from all
countries in the region. Today, the MBC still faces many challenges, but the administrative structure has
been consolidated, allowing the eight countries to jointly plan and evaluate progress (CCAD 2005). There
is a need for strong coord
ination, dedicated leadership, and sufficient funding to ensure operation and
broad regional participation. This must be coupled with efforts to strengthen and empower local
organisations in order to be successful at the local level. The Costa Rican model
of connectivity
conservation and management, for instance, could be replicated and adapted elsewhere in the region,
fostering the institutionalisation of regional initiatives expressed in local action through alliances
between the states and civil society.

Currently, the Meso American Biological Corridor covers only 16,6%
of the mountain regions of Meso America, leaving ample space for increasing connectivity in mountain
areas
(Fig 2)
. Efforts to design additional connectivity landscapes in mountains should

be continued,
with a view to filling conservation gaps and promoting sound land planning. Biological corridors are
particularly relevant as a planning and management tool which can be used to connect mountain areas
with the densely populated lowlands at t
he regional and continental scale, thus creating a link that may
enhance the appreciation for mountains in the regional culture.


A mountain culture must be developed at all levels. Mountains must become an integral part of local,
national, and regional ag
endas in Meso America. There is an urgent need for the establishment of a new
inter
-

and multidisciplinary regional mountain institute which will contribute to fostering such a
“mountain identity” within the region, and which will support and guide governm
ent action in favour of
sustainable mountain development.









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RECOMMENDED FIG. 1



RECOMMENDED FIG. 2



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3.3
Issues and Opportunities in North America



3.3.1

Why mountains in North America matter


Mountains in Canada, the United States and Mexico
include approximately 280 ranges and associated
sub
-
ranges and cover nearly 36 percent of the region's land mass
(Fig 1)
.

This region‘s mountains are a

primary source of fresh water and other natural resources, such as coal and natural gas, which are pill
ars
of North American energy economies. The recreation and tourism industry


the lifeblood of many
mountain communities


contributes significant revenues for state and province budgets. And for many,
mountains provide solace and a spiritual connection, a
nd are treasured as sites for recreation. However,
climate change, urban encroachment, extractive mineral and other business practices present severe
challenges to these fragile ecosystems.


3.3.2
How current trends threaten
SMD

in North America


Water ema
nating from the mountains is critical to providing North America with needed supplies, the
city of Los Angeles, for example, could not exist without the water that has its source in the Rockies.
However, evidence of extensive and rapid glacier retreat
(Fig

2)
during the past century, indicates
mountain water sources and future water supply are threatened by global warming.


The North American West is heating up even more than the world as a whole. From 2003 to 2007, global
temperatures averaged 1.0°F warmer

than the 20
th

century average while the average temperatures in
11 western U.S. states were 1.7°F warmer; 70% more warming than the rest of the world. Along with
temperature increases, the U.S. West is getting drier as evidenced by decreases in snowpack a
nd
snowfall, earlier snow melt, more winter rain events, increased peak winter flows but reduced summer
flows in the Colorado River and its tributaries, the primary water providers for the region. Water
shortages have now reached the point where cities suc
h as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, have
acquired all possible water
-
use rights in the Colorado River system all the way to the Colorado Rockies.
In some cases, entire watersheds in mountains are being earmarked as water supplies for the mega
-
cities.

The best example is New York City (Herring 1999), which acquired land in a major watershed in
the Catskill Mountains and established a partnership with all mountain stakeholders in the area in order
to be able to regulate the land use, ensure that best ma
nagement practices are followed in areas
remaining under private holdings and thus guaranteeing safe long
-
term supplies for the city.



Drier and warmer conditions have also driven important ecological changes in the Western North
American mountains. Wild
plant and animal species are migrating to higher altitudes, the distribution
range of some pests, including pine beetles is expanding with outbreaks increasing in frequency and,
with marked shifts in the natural timing of seasons, some wild species are blo
oming and hatching
earlier. Associated to warmer temperatures are also important changes in forest fire regimes. Between
1987 and 2004 only, there has been a
78
-
day increase in the length of the fire season, a 4
-
fold increase
in the number of fires; a 5
-
fo
ld increase in the time needed to put out the average wildfire and a 6.7
-
fold
increase in the area burned were recorded in the region.


In North America, the quality
-
of
-
life available in mountain areas attracts both retirees and younger
people because of t
heir richness in natural and cultural amenities. “Amenity migrants” move, both part
time and permanently, mainly for perceived superior environmental quality and cultural differentiation.
High
-
amenity mountain areas have similarly experienced growth in tou
rism and the historic economy
dependent on natural resource extraction has been replaced by an amenity economy in which
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communities must make themselves attractive to business to enlarge the tax base. The mountain towns
of Aspen and Durango in Colorado are

examples of the new “boom” and amenity economy. Amenity
migration has also been recognized as an important change agent, and considered in planning and
decision making processes by some communities.


However, fast population growth in mountains and their
valleys and the increase in mountain tourism
are impacting the biodiversity of mountain ecosystems. Generally accompanied by new infrastructure
such as reservoirs, roads, and fences, such development has focused on the valleys and foothills that
provide ke
y winter habitat or movement corridors for seasonal migrations of native fauna and can be
complete barriers to essential seasonal movements. One effect of such fragmentation includes loss of
fauna fitness due to isolation and inbreeding.


Mining is an impo
rtant economic driver in North America’s mountains; however, its impacts often are
profound. Mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining in the Appalachian Mountains in the United States
can involve removing 200 meters or more of a mountain summit to get at buri
ed seams of coal and
dumping the remaining earth into neighbouring valleys. This method is destroying one of the U.S.
national treasures for a small fraction of the nation's energy: In 2001 MTR accounted for less than 5
percent of U.S. coal production and
Appalachian coal reserves at the extraction rates of 2000 were
calculated not to last more than a few decades. MTR has destroyed extensive tracts of mountain forests,
buried or significantly damaged headwater streams and areas with some of the highest biod
iversity in
North America, and has had devastating effects on nearby homes and communities, MTR operations
crack the foundations and walls of houses, increase the risk of flooding, dry up an average of 100 wells
per year and contaminate others. Coal compan
ies increasingly use MTR because it allows for almost
complete recovery of coal seams and requires only a fraction of the number of workers conventional
methods require. MTR has taken the labor force out of the mining operation. I
n the early 1950’s there
w
ere between 125,000 and 145,000 miners employed in West Virginia; in 2004 there were just over
16,000, while coal production increased during that period (Fig 3). Studies show that counties with the
highest percentage of mining jobs tend also to have high
levels of poverty and unemployment, with the
greatest poverty found in the region’s more rural communities and in counties with higher coal
production. It has also been documented that in Kentucky and West Virginia i taxpayers lose hundreds
of millions of
tax dollars each year because the states spend more in coal subsidies than they receive in
coal revenues.
Mining also poses other threats to mountain environments.


Most extraction processes use toxic chemicals (cyanide, arsenic) that create poisonous run
-
off. Tailing
ponds try to contain the toxins, but have been notorious in their frequent failures over time, causing
serious downstream damage to land, water, and people.


High
-
volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the process of injecting million
s of gallons of water,
chemicals, and sand into shale rock formations deep underground at high pressures to break open the
rock and release natural gas, which is considered by many to be the clean energy alternative to coal and
oil. In addition to concerns

about the depletion of local water supplies, fracking, like coal mining,
produces hazardous wastewater. There have been more than 1,000 documented cases of water
contamination near fracking sites in the United States.


3.3.3

Policy action for North Ameri
ca’s mountains


The challenges to sustainable mountain development are many. Most inroads to promote sustainability
have been made by public and private organizations at the local and regional levels. For example, in the
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area of climate change, both Canad
ian and United States federal governments have considered climate
change laws, but legislation in both countries is neither comprehensive nor certain to pass. In the
absence of adequate federal programs, states and provinces have stepped in with their own
climate
change initiatives. Not surprisingly, however, federal, state, and provincial governments hold different
views about the specifics of measures to control greenhouse gases, even when they agree on the broad
objective.


There is no shared vision with
in North America for mountains and their desired future state. Given the
diversity of the people, cultures, values, economies, etc. within Canada, the United States, and Mexico,
it is unlikely that a shared vision is possible in the near future. But of gre
ater concern is that there is little
dialogue taking place at the national level that integrates all of the issues facing mountain ecosystems.
The challenges facing North America’s mountain regions are not going away


they are only increasing. A
major obs
tacle to moving forward and addressing these challenges is a lack of leadership and direction
at the federal level.


Missing from the equation is a national focus on mountains that includes the contributions they make to
North America’s environmental, eco
nomic, and social well
-
being and the importance of protecting
mountain environments. In the United States, the administration’s National Oceans Council has
developed priority objectives and an implementation plan that the country will pursue in order to
ad
dress some of the most pressing challenges facing the oceans, the coasts, and the Great Lakes. A
similar policy focus is needed for mountain ecosystems. If Canada, the United States, and Mexico were
to adopt National Mountain Policies, which include overar
ching guiding principles for management
decisions and actions that ensure that mountains and their downstream regions are healthy and
resilient, safe and productive, and understood and treasured so as to promote the well
-
being,
prosperity, and security of
present and future generations, they could provide the necessary catalyst to
bring stakeholders together to work towards sustainable mountain development throughout North
America.

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RECOMMENDED FIG 1.



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RECOMMENDED FIG 2.




Retreating glaciers:


Glaci
ers are diminishing rapidly in the mountains of North America. As an example, only 27 percent of the 99 km
2

area covered by glaciers in 1850 in Glacier National Park, Montana, remained covered by 1993. The larger glaciers
in the Park are now approximately
a third of their size from when they were first studied in 1850. Numerous
smaller glaciers have disappeared completely. Above, photograph records of changes in the area covered by the
Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park. Upper left (1938, T. J. Hilem
an, Glacier NP archives). Upper right (1981, C.
Key, U.S. Geological Survey [USGS]). Lower left (1998, D. Fagre, USGS). Lower right (2006, K. Holzer, USGS).


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RECOMMENDED FIG. 3



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3.4 Issues and Opportunities for SMD in Africa

-

This is the poorest of al
l summaries, as the
final region
al report is not available yet.


3.4.1

Why mountains in Africa matter


African mountains are highly vulnerable water towers and breadbaskets for the lowlands. Mountain
ecosystem services (ES) ensure water
-
food
-
energy securi
ty and biodiversity conservation and enable
sustainable development and poverty eradication at the continent level.


In the uncertainty created by climate change, high population growth and land
-
use change, urgent
policy action is needed to promote the en
abling conditions for funding and investment in sustainable
mountain development (SMD) in Africa.


3.4.2
How African mountains contribute to sustainable development


Approximately half of Africa’s countries have mountains higher than 2000m, with mountains

above
4500m being concentrated to the north
-
western, central and eastern regions. Those mountains cover an
estimated 3 million km2 of surface area and ensure life
-
supporting goods and services for millions of
people by providing water, food and energy sec
urity at the local, national, and regional levels.


African mountains are water towers. In a continent dominated by arid and semi
-
arid areas, water supply
greatly depends on the rivers originating in mountain areas. Low
-
lying arid areas in countries such a
s
Sudan, Egypt and Namibia receive water from the mountainous sources of large rivers including the Nile,
Niger, Senegal, Congo, Tana, Zambezi and Orange. Several countries in West Africa depend on water
resources from the Fouta Djallon Highlands. In East
Africa, Mount Kenya is the only source of freshwater
for more than seven million people. In Southern Africa, the Drakensberg supplies the majority of water
to the entire sub
-
continent.


Hydropower is the main source of clean energy in East Africa and is al
so important in West Africa and
Southern Africa. In a continent highly dependent on traditional energy sources and badly affected by
rising oil prices, mountains can thus significantly contribute to energy security.


Mountains house many ecosystems such as

forests, grasslands, drylands, rivers and wetlands. The
Fynbos Biome in South Africa is home to 6,200 endemic plant species, and Mt.Mlanje, Rwenzori, Mt.
Cameroon, the Fouta Djallon and the Ethiopian highlands have centres of high endemism as well. This
b
iodiversity is the basic source for future food, agro
-
diversity, medicine and tourism development.


African mountains have intensive land
-
use with more than 33 persons per km2


and as high as 500
people per km2 in some areas


compared with less than 15 pe
rsons per km2 in the lowlands. Yet
mountains directly support the lowlands. In tropical and sub
-
tropical Africa, mountains have favourable
environmental conditions and resources, in contrast to the generally much dryer surrounding lowlands.
By ensuring hig
her and better quality yields, mountains are important breadbaskets significantly
contributing to regional and lowland food security.


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The flow of ES from mountains to lowlands is essential to promote sustainable development and
poverty eradication throug
hout the continent.



3.4.3
Policy action for Africa
’s

mountains


The sustainability of ES in African mountains is at great risk. First, poverty and environmental
degradation threaten the integrity of mountain ES. This is aggravated by population growth,

land
-
use
conflicts and political insecurity. Second, the effects of climate change are most noticeable in
mountains, requiring local populations to adapt to new conditions.


A lack of sufficient enabling conditions for funding and investment in SMD
-
relate
d initiatives is a major
obstacle to the promotion of water
-
food
-
energy security and biodiversity conservation.


Urgent policy action is required at the regional and sub
-
regional levels to advance the mountain agenda
for Africa and create a constituency t
o support it in a systematic, integrated and coordinated manner.
Fora such as the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and regional inter
-
governmental organisations are best placed to endorse this process.


Actions include


a) Communi
ty
-
based and high
-
level consultation and planning towards options for the setup of an
African Mountain Hub, a specialised platform for building knowledge and capacity, establishing
standardized research methods, sharing information, and promoting awareness
, communication and
advocacy;

b) Development of tools and guidelines for ES evaluation, ecosystem
-
based adaptation (EBA)
approaches, and early
-
warning systems (e.g. National Environmental Observatories).



At the national and local levels, efforts should
be directed towards mainstreaming SMD
-
related issues in
development and strategic planning agendas, and recognising mountain communities as equal partners
in the policy and decision
-
making process.


Actions include


a) Innovative mountain
-
specific policies

and institutional regulatory and governance models, tailored to
the diverse mountain regions and the specific processes of sustainable development. Taking into
account community
-
based models for conservation, these actions should balance the interests of
highland and lowland societies;

b) Investments in value chains and value
-
added products and services (e.g. climate smart agriculture,
agroforestry products, renewable energy, eco
-
tourism);

c) Implementation of market
-
based mechanisms for financing and com
pensation. Policy action at all
levels requires strategic public
-
private partnerships, multi
-
sectoral planning and transboundary
cooperation that takes into account key highlandlowland linkages.


Policy action at all levels requires strategic public
-
privat
e partnerships, multi
-
sectoral planning and
transboundary cooperation that takes into account key highlandlowland linkages.



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RECOMMENDED FIGURES
-

Only photos... this one

from the policy brief, other would be greatly
appreciated.



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3.5
Issues and Opport
unities for SMD in Middle East and North Africa


3.5.1
Why mountains in Middle East and North Africa matter


Mountains feature prominently in the landscape, history and culture across most of the Middle East and
North Africa (MENA) region. Covering 19 co
untries, this region hosts approximately 6% of the world's
population and is of high global economic relevance; holding 60% of the planet's oil and 45% of all
natural gas reserves. The MENA mountain systems are mostly geographically disconnected (Figure 1)
.
However, they provide key ecosystem goods and services to nearly all countries in the region, face
multiple global and local challenges and widely differ in their degree of development; as investment in
mountains is directly related to the national socio
economic circumstances.



Modernisation has facilitated the integration of historically isolated and neglected MENA mountain
communities to the wider national contexts. However, sustainable development of the region's
mountains is hampered by urban expansi
on, climate change, desertification, political unrest, conflict and
degradation due to inappropriate local practices. Besides some advances in biodiversity conservation
and water management, substantial investment in sustainable mountain development has ye
t to be
made in the region, where non
-
oil natural capital is hardly visible. In general, any improvement in
livelihoods and protection against natural disasters and economic shocks is largely attributed to growth
brought by oil and gas revenues, and mounta
ins, with their great natural wealth and green development
potential, remain marginalized in the larger
economic, political and decision making spheres.


3.5.2
How current trends affect
SMD

in the

Middle East and North Africa


Mountain aquifers, rainwater

harvesting systems over slopes and well constructed retention dams at
mountain foothills all support local water needs in many of the MENA drylands. This is a crucial service
to the region, where prevailing water scarcity problems, accentuated by rapid po
pulation growth, cost
countries between 0.5 and 2.5 percent of their GDP each year. With the exception of Iran and Morocco
where hydroelectricity is produced for downstream use, water streams and floods originating in the
mountains usually run downstream,
carrying sediment and contributing to the accumulation of soil and
organic matter for arable lands.

The MENA mountains contribute to the great biodiversity and exclusive fauna and flora that characterise
the region, are reservoirs of medicinal plants, spi
ces and other wild foods highly valued locally and
support many forests and woodlands. Mountains also provide agricultural land for local sustenance
and, in some cases for export, as well as, grazing grounds for traditional pastoral systems. With an
impre
ssive number of tribes and important pilgrimage sites, such as Mount Sinai in Egypt, mountains
hold extraordinary cultural and sacred significance in the region. This, along with breathtaking
landscapes and views, attracts tourists and provides recreation
opportunities. Tourism accounts for up
to 9% of the MENA countries' GDP, which keeps growing in economic importance and has even
expanded to countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman, closed to tourists just a decade ago.

In MENA, progress has been made on bio
diversity conservation and watershed management through
the implementation of protected areas and two biosphere reserves, the appointment of specialized
ministries for water resource management and government encouraged revitalization of traditional
water
harvesting systems in some areas. However, wide differences in national economies translate into
various degrees of development, public service provision, livelihood support and poverty eradication in
mountain regions. The contrasts are evident. The oil ec
onomic boom has permitted important
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investment in services and infrastructure in the mountains of some Middle Eastern countries, including
building "the world's most advanced road" in the United Arab Emirates, while the overpopulated Atlas
Mountains in Mor
occo and the southern highlands of Yemen, remain pockets of poverty.

Demographic growth, rapid urbanisation and even boosting economies have negatively affected
mountain areas and populations in MENA, raising concerns on the sustainability of traditional

and new
economic activities. Tourism for instance, provides income to mountain dwellers from handicrafts,
carpets and other local product sales, but adds stress on water resources, increases environmental
degradation and in some instances causes cultural
perturbations by violating local costumes. Growing
populations and demand for meat and dairy products in thriving markets of some MENA countries,
where free ranging mountain goats and sheep command better prices than those grown in farms, have
led to overg
razing and even desertification, which along with drought, and land tenure conflicts are
seriously affecting poor livestock dependent communities. Simultaneously, in oil
-
rich countries of the
region, overgrazing occurs as large herds are kept, not to satis
fy all local needs, but as symbols of wealth
and prestige, while herders consume imported meat. Also associated with the marked economic
differences among countries, is the outmigration from areas with high unemployment, including
mountain regions. For Exa
mple, in the Maghreb alone, this amounts to as much as one third of the adult
male population leaving in search of foreign labour opportunities for the better part of the year.

As result of being occupied by ethnic minorities with very little influence in

politics and governance,
mountains are marginal environments in most MENA countries. Multi
-
tribal occupation of these areas
has at times resulted in well known intertribal conflicts which hinder development. Conflict is generally
related to water rights,
rangeland use, competition for marketable ecosystem services and uneven
sharing of subsidies. Under marginalized conditions, some mountains have become ground for illegal
drug production and trafficking, increasing national and international tensions. More

recently, MENA
countries have also become plagued with political unrest with protests demanding change and reforms
in governance, ranging from partially peaceful (Oman) to extremely violent (Libya, Syria). This political
climate is likely to have a negati
ve impact on sustainable development initiatives including those in the
mountains.



A high vulnerability to climate change adds to the region's environmental and social fragility. Climate
change impacts predicted for MENA are wide reaching and encompass a
n increase of 2.2 to 5.1°C in
annual temperature in the southern and eastern Mediterranean; decreased river flows; long
-
term
salinization of inland aquifers; the loss of vast amounts of viable rain
-
fed agricultural land and lower
yields of major food crops
; major wild species extinctions (up to 60% of all plants in the Mediterranen
basin by 2080); shrinking grazing periods due to longer dry seasons and, an increased duration and
intensity of drought. Though evidence of global warming effects on the MENA mou
ntains is not well
documented, the extensive droughts of the past few years in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel
highlight the fragility of rural areas as local and national governments were unable to cope with the
insufficient rainfall for sustai
ning local agricultural production. In eastern Syria for example, the
prolonged drought affected an estimated 1.3 million people, accelerated the migration to urban areas
and increased levels of extreme poverty. Considering that MENA has the fewest renewab
le water
resources and least arable land per person, as well as, the highest proportion of imported food of any
region in the world, establishing climate change adaptation and coping strategies is imperative.

Addressing social inequity, environmental degr
adation, climate change and fostering sustainable
development in the MENA mountains requires strong political commitment and action. The
supply of
and demand for ecosystem services needs be better understood by governments in order to shift
spending priori
ties, support green economy initiatives and build capacity through training and
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education.

Establishing a
forum or mountain partnership networks for sharing experiences and lessons
learned from tackling various issues between MENA countries

could be a firs
t effective step to this end.


3.5.3
Policy action for the MENA
m
ountains


Promoting and implementing Sustainable Mountain Development in the MENA region requires policy
commitment and action to:


Protect natural resources and assist with strategies for t
heir sustainable use in order to improve the
socio
-
economic wellbeing of mountain communities.


Involve mountain communities in decision making and permit political representation to ensure best use
of resources, environmental protection, and food securit
y.