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For many mountain peoples, mountaineering opens up possibilities for economic and social development. At the same time both the quality of life of the locals and the continued interest of visitors are dependent on mountain protection. The answer to this is sustainable development. This is development which “meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Brundtland report, 1987). The beauty of mountains must not be destroyed, or natural resources used up to achieve short term economic progress.
As visitors we can help contribute to sustainable development. We can buy local goods and services, making livelihoods for people in the community. We can stay in guest houses which are built using environmentally friendly techniques. We can pay reasonable taxes or fees that go to provide safe drinking water, education and basic health services for locals.
In summer 2007, a German student from the AISTS Masters in Sport Administration Programme carried out a project evaluating the impact of UIAA Youth camps on the environment. Learn more
The Access and Conservation commission has developed a set of guidelines on mountain tourism called the Argeo’s charter. The guidelines are built on the belief that tourism is vitally important to ensure sustainable economic and social development for people living in mountain regions, but at the same time it is important to prevent tourism from destroying the environment and local cultures. The guidelines are meant as advice for communities who want to develop sustainable mountain tourism and want to avoid repeating the mistakes of some tourist regions in Europe.
The guidelines focus on understanding and protecting the environment, preserving the cultural identity of the local mountain people and ensuring that mountain tourism really help the economic development of mountain areas. Read the guidelines PDF Argeo’s Charter or see a Power Point presentation about them.
We would like to be guests, guests that are welcome and are greeted with friendliness. We want to avoid everything that could harm the mountains through which we pass and could abuse the hospitality of their people.
Considerate guests do not leave ugly marks, neither in the landscape nor in the hearts of the people. Nobody wants to find paths and campsites in the countryside that are lined with ugly trash and disfigured by dangerous waste. But we tourists and mountaineers come from a society used to equipment, packaging and easy disposal and our habits produce waste that can not be simply absorbed by nature.
Tossed away, hidden and buried: our waste is out of place in the mountainous landscape. The UIAA is concerned that increasing mountain tourism produces more and more waste and trash. You can read about the UIAA’s position on trash and waste disposal here.
Eco Everest Expedition 2008
The Mountain Protection Commission is the UIAA body responsible for global environmental issues. Learn more...