“Mountain ecosystems also needed by urbanized areas”: International Mountain Day (11 December) – United Nations

Women move mountains
The theme of this year’s International Mountain Day (IMD) on 11 December will be Women move mountains.
Women play a key role in mountains’ environmental protection and social and economic development. They are often the primary managers of mountain resources, guardians of biodiversity, keepers of traditional knowledge, custodians of local culture, and experts in traditional
medicine.

Did you know?
Of the 20 plant species that supply 80% of the world’s food, six originated and have been diversified in mountains: maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, and apples.
Mountain ecosystems are under threat from pollution. Microplastics have even been found as high as the summit of Mt. Everest.
Up to 84 percent of endemic mountain species are at risk of extinction, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

International Mountain Day 11 December 2023 – UNITED NATIONS
The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of “International Days” to mark important aspects of human life and history | Official list >>
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People (9 August) >>

Mountains were crucial to life. Whether people lived at sea level or the highest elevations, they were connected to mountains and affected by them in more ways. Mountains provide most of the world’s freshwater, harbor a rich variety of plants and animals, and are home to one in ten people. Yet, each day, environmental degradation, the consequences of climate change, mono-culture plantations, poverty and hunger threaten the extraordinary web of life that the mountains support.

He said that mountains are storehouses of global biodiversity. Mountains are cradles and refuges of organism diversity. Half of the world’s biodiversity hots pots are concentrated in mountains. Mountains provide a host of vital goods and services for the benefit of all humankind, able to support sustainable development at a global level, and to lead the world towards a greener economy. As arks of life, preserving much of the world’s biodiversity, mountains are keys to conservation.

Mountain biodiversity provides basic ecosystems services such as freshwater, timber, medicinal plants, and recreation for the surrounding lowlands and their increasingly urbanized areas.  By preventing erosion, mountain plant diversity secures livelihoods, traffic routes and catchment quality.

More than 50 percent of mankind benefits from mountains as the world’s human impact dominates large mountain areas, and its effects are often irreversible. Human activities are profoundly affecting the world’s climate and, consequently, mountain ecosystems. Because of their altitude, slope and orientation to the sun, they are easily disrupted by variations in climate.

Water is life, which is essential for all aspects of our livelihood, from basic drinking water to food production and health, from energy production to industrial development, from sustainable management of natural resources to conservation of the environment. All the major rivers of the world depend on mountains for water.

While protected areas are essential, they alone cannot ensure conservation of biodiversity or cultural heritage. Traditional indigenous communities often use and manage biodiversity in mountain protected areas, and may be even more threatened than biodiversity itself. Mountain regions where people live and work require innovative and respectful approaches to conservation; local people should be encouraged towards stewardship of both their natural and cultural heritage.

Participation of mountain communities at all stages is crucial in the sustainable management and use of biodiversity. Stewardship, with its focus on community-based management and local leadership, holds great promise for conservation of those mountain areas around the world where the biological, cultural and scenic qualities of the landscape are the result of the interactions of people with nature over a long time.

He urged the indigenous people to protect and conserve the mountains. He told them that eco-tourism should not affect the mountain ecology.

As a mark of celebrating the Day, organic floor sleeping mats made of korai (Cyperus rotundus) were distributed to the indigenous people.

West Ghats near Kanyakumari in the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border region
Photo courtesy Davidson Sargunam >>
Source: Environmental educator Sargunam Davidson on the occasion of International Mountain Day at Maraamalai Tribal Settlement in the Western Ghats; email message from Tribal Foundation (Nagercoil) on 11 February 2013

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Images © publishers & photographers featured in Safe Search results
Learn more about water-related issues that affect India’s tribal communities >>
“National development and the development of tribal communities are linked to each other.” – Droupadi Murmu | Speeches by the 15th President of India >>

“Together, we must endeavour to strengthen tribal communities which are the role model in preservation of water, forest and land, and learn from their connection with nature and the surrounding environment for the sake of the entire human race.” – journalist and tribal rights activist Dayamani Barla in The Wire >>