Facing Change: Climate Change in Mountain Areas

Mountain Protection

1th December is the UN’s International Mountain Day. Since 2003 this date, which was declared after the International Year of Mountains in 2002, has been used to focus on issues such as biodiversity, peace and tourism. This year’s theme is “Facing Change: Climate Change in Mountain Areas”.

This is a subject close to the heart of most mountaineers and climbers. Many of us have seen up close how glaciers are shrinking or climbing routes change from one year to another. For people living in mountain areas, climate change poses a threat to their livelihoods. Shorter seasons for expeditions and skiing affect the economies of both affluent winter sport resorts and remote villages making a living from providing food and services to mountaineers. In the Himalayas global warming also increases the risk of natural disasters such as floods from bursting glacial lakes.

UIAA commissions and our members are working to draw attention to climate change, and the 11th December is a good opportunity to do this. The purpose of the International Mountain Day is to make more people aware of how important mountain ecosystems are and to encourage action to protect mountains. If any member federations are organising activities and events on the 11th December, please let us know, and we will promote them on this web site.

If you want to learn more about what the UN does to spread information about climate change and combat its negative effects, you can check the new web site Gateway to the UN System’s Work on Climate Change. Here you can find information about UN conventions, programmes and field projects dealing with climate change.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was recently recognised for its scientific work to create awareness about climate change. The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 to the IPCC, together with Al Gore, for creating “an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.” The IPCC and Al Gore will receive the prize on the 10th December, the day before the International Mountain Day.