Organisations around the world called attention to the issue on December 11, designated by the United Nations as International Mountain Day.
For the last six years this day, which was declared by the UN after the International Year of Mountains in 2002, has been used to focus on issues such as biodiversity, peace and tourism.
The 2008 theme for the International Mountain day was food security, which is an important issue for many people living in popular mountaineering areas.
“Harsh climates and the difficult, often inaccessible, terrain combined with political and social marginality make mountain people vulnerable to food shortages,” said José Antonio Prado of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“This year’s International Mountain Day provides an apt occasion to reflect on how hard it is for mountain people to consistently get adequate and nutritious food to lead healthy and active lives.”
UIAA President, Mike Mortimer, used the occasion to call on all climbers to ensure that “mountain playgrounds are open to all who believe in responsible access”.
“As the federation representing mountaineering to the outside world, it is important that our commissions continue to work towards the understanding and preservation of our mountain regions,” he added.
Read UIAA President Mike Mortimer’s speech.
Among member federations, the Iranian Alpine Club responded to the UIAA’s call for information on how it marks International Mountain Day.
It said it takes advantage of the event to draw attention to mountaineering by printing articles in mountain media and weblogs, and hosting face to face discussions in most popular mountain areas. The club also organises a gathering in the Ararat Sport Club, and this has become a popular tradition for Iranian climbers.