UNU Project on
Sustainable Mountain Development


ne of the most significant decision regarding mountains taken by the UN General Assembly in November 1998 was designating the year 2002 as the International Year of Mountains. The importance of mountain issues has been recognized by the international community as one of the world's most vulnerable bio-geographical areas susceptible to land degradation, having variable climates, heterogeneous habitats often with the unique fauna and flora.

We need to take into account the uncertainty of this fragile environment to save critical biodiversity. Many global and regional strategies identify mountains as a priority ecosystem within the overall sphere/theme of biodiversity.

UNU in partnership with the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Berne, Switzerland, has developed a comprehensive programme on sustainable mountain development. It aims to contribute to improved understanding of the status of different mountain
Mountainous areas are frequently considered as 'water towers' for fresh water resources, and areas suffering from loss of indigenous culture and traditions.
systems in relation to global change, the pressures these mountains are exposed to, including their consequences on human, natural, economic resources, and the responses created by different social groups and mountain societies. Mountain problems can also be mitigated by identifying the potentials and dynamics of social systems embedded in specific economic environments, and by identifying innovative solutions.

The project enables local research institutions to partner with other institutions to develop their competence and capacities, while UNU itself functions as a coordination and information centre for mountain research activities. This is achieved by strengthening their position vis--vis national and international research communities and network agendas, by introducing up-to-date methodologies to address mountain problems, and by developing strategic and applied research to help these institutions find sustainable solutions within their local context.



Project Documents:


Symposium Announcements:

UNU marks the International Year of Mountains (IYM 2002)
January-February 2002, Tokyo, Japan
Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment

The International Year of Mountains


Click on the logo above to go to
the 2002 International Year of Mountains website


The United Nations University
Environment and Sustainable Development Programme
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Tel: +81-3-3499-2811,
Fax: +81-3-3499-2828,


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