The UIAA, and a number of its partner organisations, have produced a policy brief on keeping mountains plastic waste free.
This brief was produced by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, GRID-Arendal, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Mountain Research Initiative, and the UIAA, in the context of the Open-ended Scientific Committee for the International Year of Mountains 2022, based on work undertaken with generous financial support from the Government of Norway, the Government of France and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
The brief was launched at the 6th Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership, which took place in Aspen, USA, 27-29 September 2022, at a side event highlighting the issue of waste in mountain regions. A key outcome of the event was the endorsement of key Mountain Partnership strategy documents for the 2022-2025 period and the endorsement of the Aspen Declaration, in which members of the Mountain Partnership (including the UIAA) pledged a commitment to address sustainable development in mountain regions, including the support for ongoing efforts toward the establishment of globally binding instruments to combat plastic pollution.
Mountain areas cover approximately a quarter of the Earth’s land surface and host both sprawling cities and rural settlements, providing a home for about 15 per cent of the global population. Linked to global supply chains and as a consequence of population growth, overconsumption and tourism, the generation of waste – especially plastic waste – is surging across mountains. This endangers freshwater resources and biodiversity and in turn poses serious risks for downstream regions.
This brief presents the scale of the problem and provides recommendations for relevant stakeholders to consider.
As Dr Carolina Adler, UIAA Mountain Protection Commission President, explains: “The Brief recognises the UIAA Mountain Protection Award, and the partnership with and support from the Bally Peak Outlook Foundation, as a key exemplar of the types of initiatives that can help mobilise actors to address priority areas such as waste management in mountains. This brief is a great testament of the work that the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission has undertaken to ensure the UIAA is also acknowledged for our projects and efforts to indeed have ‘waste-free mountains’.”
Earlier this year the UIAA reinforced its commitment to also help combat the effects of climate change when setting up its Climate Change Taskforce.