UIAA Mountain Protection Commission attends key international conference on mountains in the UK

Dr Carolina Adler (left) and Ms Valerie Thöni (right) at the «Mountains of Our Future Earth» conference in Perth, UK

Two representatives of the UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation), Dr Carolina Adler (member of the Mountain Protection Commission) and Ms Valerie Thöni (UIAA Office collaborator), attended the “Mountains of our Future Earth” conference, which took place in Perth UK between 5-8 October 2015.
Held every five years, the Perth conference brings together an extensive community of scientists and practitioners working in mountain regions in order to showcase the latest state-of-the-art in international research and knowledge for responding effectively to global environmental change in mountains and for supporting transformation towards global sustainability in the future.
This conference was the opportunity to gather and present the current scientific understanding of global change in mountain regions; to agree on agendas for collaborative research and action and find ways to increase the use of applied research findings on the ground. Finally, the conference was the occasion for an enhanced interaction between researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers.

Dr Carolina Adler was invited to chair the parallel research session on Sustainable Tourism Development, where Valérie Thöni presented the UIAA’s own environmental project, the 
Mountain Protection Platform and Award (MPA). A blog detailing a summary of the session’s proceedings can be accessed via this link. The purpose of the UIAA’s presentation was to not only showcase the MPA to the attending audience, but also to engage with the scientific community in the research and development of ideas that are central to sustainable development in mountain regions.

Linking with the scientific community on issues of mountain development has many benefits, for example to explore potential “citizen science” projects and initiatives, learn about latest developments and gaps in our current knowledge, opportunity to present the 
mountaineetring community as active participants in the monitoring of global change effects in mountains, as well placing the UIAA as a key player in brokering partnerships between scientific and climbing and mountaineering communities. Both Adler and Thöni took the opportunity to strengthen networking efforts that can foster closer collaborations between scientists, practitioners and the climbing communities that the UIAA represents.
Of the 26 participants on the MPA platform this year, 22 candidates were selected as eligible for the 2015 cash prize award, which this year constitutes 5,000 USD. The eligible projects are:

– Argentina: Desertification prevention and capacity development project, by the Fundación Agreste

– Australia: Litchfield’s gold luxury environment tour, by Ethical Adventures 

– Bulgaria: Traditional ecological knowledge of brown bear as a conservation tool in Rodopi Mountains, by Wild Rodopi 

– Cambodia: Preservation programme in Cardamom Mountain Range by Wildlife Alliance

– Chile: Living Treasures: the Arrieros project by Flecha Extrema

– China: Peng Luo collaborative ecological programme by Eco Action Now 

– Peru: Culture of Mountain education project, by the Centro Cultural de Montaña 

– Switzerland: Deconstruction – for nature project by Mountain Wilderness

– Tajikistan: Energy management and alternative resources project, by Little Earth

– United States of America: Access Fund and Climbing Conservation Loan Program, by the American Alpine Club

The recipient of the UIAA MPA prize will be announced on 23 October 2015 at a special award ceremony to be held as part of the UIAA’s General Assembly meeting in Seoul, South Korea.