Date: Monday, 11 December 2023; 21st Anniversary.
Sponsor: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
According to the United Nations, International Mountain Day was proclaimed to “encourage the international community to organize events at all levels on that day to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development.”
In other words, International Mountain Day aims to increase awareness on the importance of mountains for the health of Earth and well-being of billions of people.
Mountains cover nearly 27 per cent of the Earth’s land mass and are home to 15% of the world´s population — some of the world’s poorest. Mountains provide 60-80 percent of the world’s freshwater and host about half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. They contribute to food and nutrition security and play a crucial role in sustainable economic growth.
Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation (such as unsustainable farming, commercial mining, and logging). With global warming, mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people. In addition, land overuse and land cover change accelerate migration in mountains, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem degradation.
The International Mountain Day was first officially held on 11 December 2003.
The Day has its roots in 1992, when the document “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” was adopted as part (Chapter 13) of the action plan Agenda 21 of the UN Conference on Environment and Development. The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN General Assembly to declare 2002 the International Year of Mountains. Through the resolution A/RES/57/245, the UN General Assembly designated 11 December, from 2003 onwards, as “International Mountain Day”. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is the coordinating agency for this celebration at the global level.
How to celebrate the Day
Learn, share, and actions!
Since 2003, many organizations and communities host a range of events every year, including seminars, lectures, conferences, educational programs, and social media campaigns, to raise and spread awareness of mountain-related issues. Each year a specific theme relevant to sustainable mountain development is selected, by the United Nations, to promote awareness and share innovative actions.
Annual theme in recent years:
2023 theme: “Restoring Mountain Ecosystems”.
2022 theme: “Women Move Mountains”.
2021 theme: “Sustainable Mountain Tourism”.
2020 theme: “Mountain Biodiversity”
2019 theme: “Mountains Matter for Youth”.
2018 theme: “Mountains Matter”.
2017 theme: “Mountain Under Pressure: Climate, Hunger, Migration”.