Featured, Membership, Mountain Protection

The Lake District, one of the United Kingdom’s most impressive and distinctive outdoor environments, provided a fitting backdrop for the recent annual meeting of the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission (MPC).

Responsible for the developments of some of the UIAA’s most important international projects, the Commission reflected on the achievements and progress made over the past twelve months and some of the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.

Representing the Commission were President Dr Carolina Adler (NZAC – New Zealand) together with full members Hussein Bagirov (FAIREX Azerbaijan), Michael Maunsell (IR – Ireland), Joop Spijker (NKBC The Netherlands) as well as event host, Stephen Goodwin of The Alpine Club. Hélène Denis represented the UIAA Executive Board and Gloria Scarano the UIAA Office.

Among the key topics discussed:

UIAA Mountain Protection Award. The project continues to grow in international stature with a steady increase in both participants and diversity of entries. The UIAA would welcome more submissions from Latin America, Asia and Africa, and encourages any member federations in these continents to circulate the promotional material available. Application for the 2018 Award closes on 25 June. Details here.

UIAA Respect the Mountains. The calendar for the 2018 Series of clean-up events will be published shortly. In keeping with the previous two editions, up to ten events are expected to be held, primarily in Europe. In 2018 the Series will be partnered by Sunday Afternoons and an educational focus built around the 7-Ways to Respect the Mountains remains a key focus. UIAA member federations interested in organising events are invited to contact mountainprotection@theuiaa.org 

Relationship with other UIAA Commissions. The MPC will continue to open dialogue and develop discussions with other UIAA Commissions, in particular the Mountaineering Commission through the work of the Training Panel, providing input and updates to elaborate on environmental best practices in the Skills guide (see below). Other opportunities to connect with other Commissions were identified, for example the UIAA Youth Commission with the scope of mutual collaboration and sharing of some best practices as part of their events programme.

The calendar for the 2018 Respect the Mountains Series will be released shortly.

Contribution to Skills guide. The MPC has contributed to the updated version of the UIAA Alpine Summer Skills handbook, ensuring extracts focused on the environment and mountain protection are in line with current best practices and the vision of core UIAA projects in this field. The handbook can be purchased here.

New projects.  The MPC has also kick-started a process to review and update the current UIAA Environmental Guidelines of (2002), to bring them in line with current state-of-the-art knowledge and recommendations for sustainable practices in the mountain space. Other projects and ideas for future work will be defined once the joint UIAA/IFMGA environmental survey results are analysed, which will be presented at the upcoming Mountain Research Initiative workshop that follows the Sustainable Summits 2018 conference. Members of the MPC will also participate and facilitate discussions at this workshop.

Sustainable Summits 2018: Led by Commission President Dr Carolina Adler, the MPC will play an active role at the 4th edition of this major international conference, to be held in Chamonix from 12-14 June. The theme of this year’s meeting is ‘the future of the world’s high mountains’. The programme can be downloaded here.

Members of the Commission continue to play a key role throughout the year as speakers at major international conferences on subjects from climate change to responsible tourism.

The MPC openly encourages existing members to contribute more regularly to meetings and discussions, and invites any new potential members to express their interest through the UIAA Office.

“We enjoyed a very productive meeting with an engaging 2-day programme, which included many opportunities also to learn from, and network with, colleagues working on mountain protection and promoting sustainable mountaineering practices in the Lake District, England – notably Pete Barron (John Muir Trust) and Rob Dyer (Access & Conservation Officer, BMC). We thank them for their time and valuable presentations!,” explains Carolina Adler.

“On the behalf of the MP Commission, I want to personally thank and acknowledge Stephen Goodwin, for being such a great host and organising the logistics, as well The Alpine Club itself for their welcome and hospitality at the George Starkey Hut. In particular we want to thank its President, John Porter, for the lovely welcome home-cooked meal at the hut! As well as thanking Rob Collister (Vice-President, The Alpine Club) for looking after us at the hut, Marian Parsons (George Starkey Hut warden), and Stuart and Joanne (The Alpine Club members) for assisting us with the trips and logistics.”

Discover more about the UIAA & Mountain Protection here.