UIAA backs Rio+20 resolution on sustainable development

Featured, Mountain Protection

The UIAA Mountain Protection Commission has come out in support of a United Nations resolution which highlights the urgent need to commit to sustainable development in order protect a planet that is under atttack on multiple fronts including climate change and out of control growth.

“This resolution highlights strongly the important role that well-designed sustainable tourism initiatives, like the new UIAA Mountain Stewardship Award and the Mountain Protection Label, can offer much-needed capacity-building and promotion of Sustainable Development in mountain regions of the world,” said Linda McMillan, president of the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission.

“Through the UIAA and its Commissions, mountaineers and climbers continue to demonstrate their historic leadership in shaping mountain tourism into a global force for mountain protection.”

UIAA initiatives in line with UN resolution

The UIAA Mountain Protection commission is already working on promoting sustainable development and tourism in mountain regions through projects such as the UIAA Mountain Protection Award which will recognize outstanding mountain protection stewardship projects from around the world. The projects will be reviewed by a panel of environmental experts and praiseworthy examples of stewardship will be highlighted on the UIAA website.

The award will allow the UIAA to develop relationships with non-governmental organizations, scientists, governments and ecotourism operators from around the world. The winner will be announced each year during the UIAA General Assembly.

Also under consideration is a Mountain Protection Label modeled along the lines of the UIAA’s successful and respected Safety Label, for mountaineering products that meet or exceed standards established by the commission.
The draft resolution titled “The future we want” was submitted by the president of the General Assembly of the United Nations and came out of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development attended by Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives  in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012.

The goal with the help of civil society is to renew a commitment to sustainable development and to ensure the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the planet, both present and future generations.

“We need nothing less than a revolution in our thinking”

“Rio+20 is our opportunity to establish a new paradigm for growth – building on what works, discarding what does not,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

“We need nothing less than a revolution in our thinking about the foundations of dynamic growth and the well-being of future generations. A successful outcome in Rio will reverberate throughout the world. It could set the stage for broad-based, equitable and dynamic growth and development for a generation.”

The draft resolution which can be viewed here includes two areas of interest to the UIAA:


210. We recognize that the benefits derived from mountain regions are essential for sustainable development. Mountain ecosystems play a crucial role in providing water resources to a large portion of the world’s population; fragile mountain ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, deforestation and forest degradation, land use change, land degradation and natural disasters; and mountain glaciers around the world are retreating and getting thinner, with increasing impacts on the environment and human well-being.

211. We further recognize that mountains are often home to communities, including indigenous peoples and local communities, who have developed sustainable uses of mountain resources. These communities are, however, often marginalized, and we therefore stress that continued effort will be required to address poverty, food security and nutrition, social exclusion and environmental degradation in these areas. We invite States to strengthen cooperative action with effective involvement and sharing of experience of all relevant stakeholders, by strengthening existing arrangements, agreements and centres of excellence for sustainable mountain development, as well as exploring new arrangements and agreements, as appropriate.

212. We call for greater efforts towards the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity. We encourage States to adopt a long-term vision and holistic approaches, including through incorporating mountain-specific policies into national sustainable development strategies, which could include, inter alia, poverty reduction plans and programmes for mountain areas, particularly in developing countries. In this regard, we call for international support for sustainable mountain development in developing countries.

Sustainable tourism

130. We emphasize that well-designed and managed tourism can make a significant contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development, has close linkages to other sectors, and can create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. We recognize the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities by supporting their local economies and the human and natural environment as a whole. We call for enhanced support for sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building in developing countries in order to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

131. We encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism and cultural tourism, which may include creating small and medium sized enterprises and facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential. In this regard, we underline the importance of establishing, where necessary, appropriate guidelines and regulations in accordance with national priorities and legislation for promoting and supporting sustainable tourism.

To join the global conversation on Rio+20: The Future We Want, visit http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/ 

For more information on the Mountain Protection Commission, visit http://old.theuiaa.org/commissions_mountain_protection.html