UIAA granted Observer Member status at COP22
The UIAA will be present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) in a Observer Member capacity. The conference will take place in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November, 2016. The UIAA’s presence at COP22 follows on from its role at COP21 where it raised awareness, in partnership with other mountain bodies, about the effects of climate change on mountain regions.
The protection of the mountain environment is a key pillar of what the UIAA stands for. The UIAA spearheads global sustainability programmes, including the UIAA Mountain Protection Award, a showcase for international projects promoting ecotourism and sustainable practices, as well as the Respect the Mountains Series, dually a mountain tourist clean-up operation and an educational programme.
Speaking on the subject of climate change, Frits Vrijlandt, President of the UIAA commented: “It is crucial to raise awareness about the impact of climate change in the mountains. Most people who visit the mountains understand its beauty and enjoy spending time there without really realizing the extent of the glacial melting and the impact on our largest source of clean, drinking water. This is one of the many problems, and has a notable impact in developing countries. It will make drinking water more scarce, more expensive and on a humanitarian level escalade the difference between the rich and the poor.
Dr Carolina Adler, President of the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission, agreed it is important the UIAA is a visible presence at COP22: “In principle, I agree that organisations such as ours need to be present at these COP negotiations, especially when we want to be part of the change and solutions that we want to see enacted to address climate change. I have been climbing in and speaking with communities here in Peru and Bolivia as part of work that I’m conducting in Latin America, and the effects of this particular dry season on mountains and its communities have been very palpable, raising our resolve for urgent action. Given that these COP talks are also highly political, it is important for us to show solidarity through our cause by participating in partnerships, coalitions and alliances that also share our concerns on the devastating effects of climate change in mountain regions. For this reason, the COP meeting also offers us a great platform and opportunity to increase our network, impact and reach at these negotiation talks by working with other recognised NGOs and organisations that also actively lobby for mountains. Together, in numbers, makes us stronger!”