The 2023 UIAA General Assembly was held in Trabzon, Türkiye from 20-21 October, expertly hosted by the Turkish Mountaineering Federation (TDF).
Over 40 UIAA member associations from as many countries attended the event in-person.
A review of the main activities and decisions can be found below:
Opening address from UIAA President Peter Muir
A welcome address from UIAA President Peter Muir covered the progress made during the first three years of his Presidency and outlined the priorities for the coming months. The key parts of the address can be found in an extensive interview published here. Muir’s address closed:
“I’m quite proud of our three-year progress (since his election as President in 2020). And I’m very thankful for the Executive Board, Management Committee and commissions for their commitment and collegiality. We will continue the course through 2024 and I encourage all member federations to come along as and when you can.”
Executive Board (EB)
Simon Alden (MCC, Malta) elected to Executive Board
Lode Beckers (CMBEL, Belgium) re-elected to Executive Board
Yongfeng Wang (CMA, China) elected to Executive Board
Management Committee (MC)
Davide Avagnina (CAI, Italy) elected to the Management Committee
The UIAA thanks outgoing EB members Zoljargal Banzragch (MNCF, Mongolia) and Mahmood Hashemi (IMSCF, Iran) for their dedication and commitment throughout their tenures.
New Full Members
Mountaineering Association of Montenegro
Singapore Sport Climbing and Mountaineering Federation
New Associate Member
Fujairah Adventures Centre, UAE
Change of membership
Norwegian Climbing Federation now an Active Member
Norwegian Alpine Club – Norsk Tindeklub now an Associate Member
These changes come into effect on 1 January 2024. With the new membership figures, the UIAA will currently start 2024 with 97 member associations in 71 countries.
Articles of Association
As covered in the opening address by Peter Muir, a number of small amendments were proposed and approved to the AoAs including name changes – Management Board and Executive Committee replacing Management Committee and Executive Board, an update to office role descriptions and timeline adjustments for document distribution. Download the revised AoAs here.
UIAA Strategic Plan
The current UIAA Strategic Plan 2020-2024 is about to expire with the focus on the creation and development of an SP for the period 2025-2028. UIAA General Secretary Lode Beckers reflected on the achievements of the current SP (a successful emphasis on the three main objectives of lead, inform, represent and improved internal and external communication) as well as the objectives still to be reached (including widening of its reach to continental international associations, more member federations, other international mountaineering and mountain sports federations).
The drafting process for the new SP is underway. It will be broken into three phases: (1) formation of a small focus group, (2) wider consultation and survey and (3) final drafting in time for approval at the 2024 GA.
Regarding finance: The 2022 results were approved, discharge to the Management Committee granted. The forecast for 2023 with a projected loss of around CHF 20’000 was acknowledged. The budget for 2024 with a projected loss of CHF 75’000 was also approved.
During the GA, the nine UIAA Commissions provided updates about the progress made this year and priorities for the next 12 months. Please see comprehensive details here.
International Skyrunning Federation
A Unit Member of the UIAA, the International Skyrunning Federation shared a report about its recent activities. This included:
– Strategic Plan: New statutes were approved and the ISF Card for athletes and Performance Ranking projects launched. In the period 2024-2026 the focus of the federation includes expansion of the ISF Card and Ranking projects, improved budget, partnership and sponsorships and multi-year agreements for head office structures.
– Details on the successful hosting of events in 2023 including four continental championships, the inaugural Skyrunning Masters World Championships and the 7th edition of the Youth World Championships. In parallel, the Skyrunner® National Series took place in eight countries.
Commission Presidents were among the experts who took part in four panel discussions held as part of the GA. Topics covered, and not including in the Commission reports detailed above, were:
Global mountain accident data: Progress is being made by a working group focusing on bringing together the international resources collating information about global mountain accident and near miss reporting systems. As well as collating this data into one central area, the WG will develop a system to highlight specific reports and their findings.
Turkish earthquake disaster: The host federation, the TDF, was directly involved in the rescue operations during February’s earthquakes which devastated areas of the country. As covered in a recent UIAA article, the TDF provided both frontline support and equipment. The UIAA has opened a fundraising channel for the climbing community to help the TDF recover equipment. Members and the climbing community are encourage to contribute. It will remain open until the end of the year.
Continental reports: The UIAA Management Committee Continental Representatives all provided information and case studies regarding environmental issues and efforts in their respect geographical regions. These ranged from campaigns to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy at Everest Base Camp to a United in Yosemite campaign focused on inclusion. Full details will be provided in the respective chapter of the 2023 UIAA Annual Report.
Safeguarding: The UIAA, in line with other international federations, is developing a safeguarding policy particularly for its projects in youth and competition ice climbing. This should be available on the UIAA website early in 2024.
Communication: The UIAA launched its new website shortly ahead of the GA. The new website has been built and designed around a clear brief to:
– Ensure information is more easily accessible.
– Provide a greater showcase for current and seminal UIAA projects.
– Create an immersive, digital mountain experience.
– Ensure all core pages can be found within one click of the home page.
– Provide an automated sync with the UIAA database which provides information on membership, Commission delegates, certified safety equipment and the legal case studies database.
– Offer an international calendar of UIAA sanctioned events, to evolve in the future as a general international mountaineering calendar.
– Host a dedicated UIAA newsroom with a full archive of news and the option to more easily follow news and filter stories by category.
– Provide a publications library of core UIAA documentation.
The communication report also detailed plans to launch a UIAA podcast covering topical climbing and mountaineering stories (during the first quarter of 2024) and the availability of a UIAA toolkit of members to access digital assets to share on their own websites.
Climate Change Summit
Following the success of the first Climate Change Summit at the GA held in Banff, Canada in 2022, a second and more extensive summit was held in Trabzon. Stories, which focused on the subjects of travel, water and huts, will be covered individually in more detail in the coming months. Among the featured case studies wre:
Role of the UIAA in providing guidance: UIAA will continue to measure and report on its carbon footprint, develop policy and address the impact of travel, and offer external advocacy.
Report from Climbers Cutting Carbon: takeaways included encouraging climbers to make most of fewer travel, the positive impact of carpooling, using electric vehicles, and how individuals show measure their own impact using a carbon calculator.
The Impact of the Glacier Retreat on Mount Ararat, Turkey
Case studies from South Korea: Towangseong Falls, Guksadae Falls and Pandae Ice Park
Focus on hut network in the Alps and in Canada. Looking at the impact of climate change on huts, how huts can adapt, and whether huts part of the problem or the solution?
Discussion on whether huts should apply for a sort of green label which would allow visitors to make informed choices about which huts are doing more to be climate conscious.
More specific information on these studies will be available in the coming months and in the 2023 UIAA Annual Report.
Mountain Protection Award Ceremony
At a special Award Ceremony that the UIAA announced that the Brazilian project Gear Tips Recycling Program became the tenth recipient of the UIAA Mountain Protection Award (MPA).
Gear Tips becomes the second project from South America to win the Award. Earlier in October, Sierra Madre Nature Trail by University of the Philippines Mountaineers was named the 2023 MPA Runner-Up and Repurposing Windfarm Blades by Clare Local Development Company, Ireland claimed the Best New Initiative prize. The MPA Award is partnered by the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation.
A total of 12 international projects operational on four continents were showcased as part of 2023 MPA.
A review of the MPA ceremony, including a profile on Gear Tips and a link to a video stream can be found here.
Future General Assemblies
The 2025 UIAA General Assembly will take place in Kosovo, hosted by the Kosovo Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation.
Reminder: the 2024 UIAA General Assembly will be held in Malta on 8-9 November, hosted by Malta Climbing Club.
Honorary membership proposed by the Royal Dutch Climbing and Mountaineering Club (NKBV) was awarded to Frits Vrijlandt, UIAA President from 2012 to 2020.
In parallel, meetings also took place for the Medical, Mountaineering and Training Commissions as well as between the Commission Presidents.