Reflections on the international mountain day 2014

Yesterday was the International Mountain Day. Mountains cover the 27% of the planet, a context in which lives the 12% of the world population. However, mountains today are exposed to a phenonmenon of depopulation, in favour of an increasing rate of urbanization.

We have to consider that mountain are not only a natural ecosistem but also a cultural one. People living in the mountains have created their own identity, costumes, and traditions, and way of producing and economical systems in a very tight relationship to nature compared to an urban context. Therefore the effects of climate change like glaciers melting, increase in temperature, more intense precipitations are issues that people have to cope with in their everyday life.

We all know that mountains are the sources of water and contain ¼ of the world biodiversity but at the same time each context has its specific characteristics in terms of different ecosystems, cultural and society that developed. Although a global response for acting towards climate change is needed, a good way to protect these specific territories is through regional cooperation.

An example of this is the institution of the Alpine Convention in Europe, which aims at being the channel of communication of the different countries composing the alpine puzzle, as mentioned by Doris Leuthard, deputy prime minister of Switzerland, at the side event on mountains and water. Mountain territories can be laboratories of innovation; starting from the cultural and natural heritage that they already possess, it is important to converge resources to create opportunities of personal and community development for the populations settled in those contexts.

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