Membership, Mountain Protection, UIAA

11 December marks the United Nations’ annual International Mountain Day.  This year’s theme is sustainable mountain tourism.

This article offers access to a number of resources and details on UIAA activities around the milestone.


Sustainable tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options and promoting poverty alleviation, social inclusion, as well as landscape and biodiversity conservation. It is a way to preserve the natural, cultural and spiritual heritage, to promote local crafts and high value products, and celebrate many traditional practices such as local festivals.

Mountain tourism attracts around 15 to 20 percent of global tourism. Tourism, however, is one of the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, affecting economies, livelihoods, public services and opportunities on all continents. In mountains, the restrictions of the pandemic have further compounded the vulnerabilities of mountain communities.

This crisis can be seen as an opportunity to rethink mountain tourism and its impact on natural resources and livelihoods, to manage it better, and to harness it towards a more resilient, green and inclusive future.

While sustainable mountain tourism is the suggested theme for 2021, countries, communities and organizations are welcome to celebrate IMD through a theme that is more relevant to them.

Promotional assets (including posters), information on how the event is being marked around the world and further details on this year’s theme can be found here.


A special UIAA Mountain Network Series webinar (see video below), the fourth of 2021, was held on Friday 3 December to announce the winner of the 2020-2021 UIAA Mountain Protection Award (MPA).

Featuring contributions from all Award winners, the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission, UIAA President Peter Muir and representatives of Bally and main partner the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation (Nicolas Girotto, Bally CEO and Chairman of the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation Board of Directors & Dawa Steven Sherpa, Leader, Eco Everest Expeditions and CEO, Asian Trekking), the event offered a fascinating insight into creating successful mountain-based tourism projects which engage the climbing and mountaineering community directly.

Overall Winner: Fondation Grand Paradis (Italy)
Best New InitiativeZéro Déchet Mont Blanc (France) 
Runner-Up: MacGillycuddy Reeks European Innovation Partnership Project (Ireland)


The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues aim to facilitate further engagement and discussion among the stakeholders in International Geneva and beyond. In addition, they intend to address the plastic crisis and support coordinated approaches that can lead to more efficient decision making.

The organisation is hosting a special webinar on Friday 10 December to mark International Mountain Day. Among the speakers is Carolina Adler, UIAA Mountain Protection Commission President who among other topics will cover the role of the UIAA Mountain Protection Award. UIAA MPA Assessors Björn Alfthan and Leif Inge Magnussen will also be among the presenters.

The event will take place from 11:00 – 12:30 CET.
Full details on the programme, the content of the session and how to register can be found from the link here.


To mark IMD, the UIAA plans to release its annual Carbon Footprint Report. The report released this year will be for 2020 and will be the third of its kind.

Once published the report will be available from the link here.


The Food and Agricultural Association of the United Nations’ (FAO) official International Mountain Day online event will be held on Friday, 10 December at 14:30-16:15 CET.

Please find the agenda here. Mountaineering legend and UIAA Honorary Member Reinhold Messner is amongst the presenters.

Registration (open to public):


International leaders and mountain champions will discuss how tourism in mountains can contribute to creating additional and alternative livelihood options as well as landscape and biodiversity conservation, during the high-level virtual celebration of International Mountain Day (IMD) 2021 on Friday, 10 December.

The focus of this year’s IMD, sustainable tourism in mountains, highlights how innovative and transformative approaches to mountain tourism contribute to economic, social and environmental sustainability.

For further details click here.