Why focus on Mountains?

Human activities are having and unprecedented impact on the world's mountains. Mountains cover 25% of our land surface and are critical to the lives of the world's population, supplying 60-80% of the world's fresh water, key raw materials, essential biological and cultural diversity, and socio-economic vitality. The mountains are also a source of physical and spiritual renewal.  

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AIMF HOSTS A FIRESIDE CHAT WITH KLAUS OBERMEYER AND CHRIS KLUG TO RAISE FUNDS TO PRESERVE OUR MOUNTAINS

AIMF hosted an intimate après ski with snow sport legends Klaus Obermeyer and Chris Klug to bring awareness and raise funds dedicated to promoting sustainable mountain development.


Aspen, CO – March 4, 2013 – The Aspen International Mountain Foundation, member of the U.N. Global Mountain Partnership in support of Vertex, the Global Mountain Partnership North American Hub, and project of AIMF and the Telluride Institute hosted an quaint après ski last Friday promoting the awareness of critical mountain issues with a highly anticipated interview between Chris Klug and ski legend, Klaus Obermeyer. 

The après ski was hosted at the home of Holly Lueders, an Aspen local. All of the who’s who of Aspen gathered together to show their support of the AIMF’s new project, Vertex. Bill Stirling, former Mayor of Aspen, MC’d the event, and introduced the famed ski legends and mountaineers, Chris Klug and Klaus Obermeyer. “We could not have been more excited to receive the support of Chris and Klaus. Their chat was stimulating, fun, and really illustrated why protecting our mountain ranges is so critical,” Stirling exclaimed. 

“Mountains do not yet receive the national and international attention and assistance they need. Efforts to promote sustainable practices in North America are fragmented, which is why we founded Vertex,” explains AIMF founder, Karinjo DeVore. “Aspen is now the North American hub. We are the custodians of traditional mountain culture and knowledge.”

The interview between Chris Klug and Klaus Obermeyer will be broadcasted on Plum TV. Photos will be posted on the AIMF website. If you wish to support the project, please visit www.aimf.org to donate. 

About AIMF

Founded in 2001 in the heart of the Rocky Mountains to promote sustainable mountain development. AIMF has worked collaboratively with the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP), the City of Aspen, Sister Cities International, the Aspen Institute, Aspen Sister Cities, and other public and private organizations to produce a series of international conferences and events focusing on issues facing mountain communities. 

About VERTEX

Vertex is a project lead by AIMF and the Telluride Institute developing a communication center, local point and convener for all mountain stakeholders in North America; allowing for the sharing of critical information, capacity building, and collaborative solutions. Vertex is the catalyst for local, regional, national and international action agendas; developing a strong common platform for dialogue and action. 

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Two Colorado Nonprofits Collaborate to Give North American Mountains a Global Voice

Contact: Rebecca Wallace, Aspen International Mountain Foundation, at rebwallace@comcast.net and 970-927-0313

Aspen, CO – January, 25, 2012 -- Two Colorado nonprofits—the Aspen International Mountain Foundation (AIMF) and the Telluride Institute—have submitted a major report on sustainable development in North American mountain ecosystems and communities for the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, a.k.a. Rio+20. The report begins with a brief description of eight major North American mountain ranges, followed by discussions on 11 themes: water, glaciers, mineral, biodiversity, climate change, encroachment/wildland-urban interface, conservation/protected areas, recreation/ecotourism, mountain events, mineral extraction, and poverty/wealth discrepancies. Finally, the report highlights institutional/organizational initiatives on sustainable mountain development that are taking place within North America.

Preparations for the Rio+20 Earth Summit have been underway for many months. Countries, non-governmental organizations, and public and private entities have been preparing materials on all aspects of sustainable development, which will help inform and guide important policy decisions worldwide over the next decades. But unlike other regions around the world, North America’s mountains had not mobilized to provide input.

When AIMF and the Telluride Institute learned in late October 2011 that North American mountains would have no voice at Rio+20, they decided to quickly pull together a report that could serve as a placeholder for North America and provide it to the UN by early January. On January 9, 2012, they submitted their report—"Sustainable Mountain Development: North American Report"—to United Nations’ officials who are organizing materials for the Summit.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which was hosted by the United Nations in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. That Summit put mountains on the global environment and development map. It introduced a specific chapter (Chapter 13) on mountains as fragile ecosystems in Agenda 21—a comprehensive blueprint of sustainable development actions to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by UN organizations, governments, and major groups. This June, when the United Nations hosts Rio+20, the main objective will be to secure renewed global commitment for sustainable development; assess the progress and gaps in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda; and address new and emerging challenges.

AIMF, a Colorado nonprofit corporation, 501(c)3, formally organized in 2001, is dedicated to promoting sustainable development in the world’s mountain communities. It evolved from a decade of its founders working collaboratively with the United Nations’ Environment Program, the City of Aspen, the Aspen Institute, Aspen Sister Cities, and other public and private organizations to produce a series of international conferences focusing on issues facing mountain communities. This past fall, AIMF was invited by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to establish the North American Hub for its Mountain Partnership Program in Aspen. The Mountain Partnership is a voluntary alliance of partners, including 50 countries, 16 intergovernmental organizations and 118 major groups and NGOs, dedicated to improving the lives and livelihoods of mountain people and protecting mountain environments. Currently, AIMF is undertaking a fundraising campaign to raise money to establish the Hub.

The Telluride Institute was founded 28 years ago to create strong local environmental and cultural activities. Their programs demonstrate innovative and practical methods for building and sustaining healthy communities and environments. Rocky Mountain News called the Telluride Institute “the World’s highest altitude think tank,” and others have called them a “think-and-do tank” because of the practical, hands-on, results-oriented nature of their programs. The Telluride Institute works both locally and globally to meet Wallace Stegner’s challenge to Westerners to “build a society to match the scenery.” AIMF and the Telluride Institute continue to explore ways in which they can further collaborate and advance the goals of the Mountain Partnership. You can download a copy of Sustainable Mountain Development: North American Report at www.aimf.org and www.tellurideinstitute.org.

AIMF to Establish North American Mountain Partnership Hub in Aspen, CO

Mountain Partnership Secretariat
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United States
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy
Rome, 31 October 2011

Dear Friends of the Mountains,

The United Nations’ Mountain Partnership Secretariat invites you to join us in supporting Aspen in its efforts to create a North American Hub for the Mountain Partnership. This exciting opportunity will fill a critical void in representation for the important region of the world.

The Mountain Partnership is a voluntary alliance of almost 200 international members, including 50 countries, committed to working together with the common goal of improving the lives of mountain people and protecting mountain environments around the world. The dynamic core of the Mountain Partnership is action and initiatives on the ground, which are guided by the recommendations of the World Summit for Sustainable
Development (2002). They cover specific themes, such as policy and law, sustainable livelihoods, watershed management, gender, education, sustainable agriculture, rural development, ecotourism and sports, and private sector investment in mountains, The Mountain Partnership also is a focal point for collecting data on issues affecting mountain communities and for disseminating that data at international summits that inform the world’s policymakers.

The Mountain Partnership Secretariat is the organizational entity that supports and serves its members. The Secretariats’s current structure consists of a central Hub in Rome and decentralized Hubs in Latin America, Asia/Pacific, Central Asia, and Europe. The Secretariat helps to link existing activities in mountain development, foster synergies to promote closer collaboration, avoid duplication, and achieve greater coherence and better results in terms of sustainable development.

Establishing a North American Mountain Partnership Hub in Aspen will help its members, which include the City of Aspen and Town of Basalt, connect and interact with one another and with the rest of the international membership. It also will allow their positions to be better represented in critical international policy discussions and give the North American mountain region more prominence in the world. Furthermore, it will offer public and private entities unique opportunities to network within the vast international mountain community.

The Aspen International Mountain Foundation (AIMF) brings over a decade of experience addressing issues facing mountain communities. As a member of the Mountain Partnership, AIMF has now launched a campaign to establish the North American Hub. The Mountain Partnership Secretariat enthusiastically endores AIMF’s efforts. We are confident that the City of Aspen and the entire Roaring Fork Valley, with their leadership role in promoting sustainable living in mountain communities, would provide an extraordinary venue for the Mountain Partnership’s activities.

I urge you to generously support AIMF’s efforts and help make Aspen the North American home to the Mountain Partnership.

Yours sincerely,
Eduardo Rojas-Briales
Assistant Director-General
Forestry Department

Karinjo DeVore
Aspen International Mountain Foundation
P.O. Box 0-3
Aspen, CO 81612
Colorado, USA

Her Excellency
Ertharin Cousin
Ambassador to FAO
United States Mission to the United
Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture
Permanent Representation to FAO
Rome, Italy

AIMF Leading Efforts to Coordinate a Report for Rio+20

December 15, 2011—Aspen, CO—Preparations for the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012 are well underway. But unlike other parts of the world, North America’s mountainous regions have not yet mobilized to provide input; so we risk not having our issues and our views included in materials presented at the Summit. These materials will help inform and guide important policy decisions dealing with sustainable development over the next decades. Therefore, AIMF and the Telluride Institute (TI) have joined forces to help coordinate a report that describes some of what has been going on in North America for the past 20 years. 

It’s been almost 20 years since the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. That conference put mountains on the global environmental and development map by introducing a specific chapter—Chapter 13—on mountains as fragile ecosystems in Agenda 21. Since the adoption of Chapter 13, many initiatives have taken place at the local, regional, national, and global levels to promote sustainable mountain development. On June 20-22, 2012, world leaders and policy makers; international and national NGOs and foundations; and other public sector and private organizations will reconvene in Rio for the Rio+20 Earth Summit to secure renewed global commitment for sustainable development; assess the progress and gaps in implementing the commitments made in 1992; and address new and emerging challenges.

Unlike other parts of the world, North America’s mountainous regions have not yet mobilized to provide information for Rio+20—information that will help inform and guide important policy decisions dealing with sustainable development over the next decades. By not providing any input, North America’s mountains risk not having their issues and views voiced at the Summit. Therefore, AIMF and the Telluride Institute have joined forces to help coordinate a report that describes some of what has been going on in North America for the past 20 years. 

We have put out a data call and hope to obtain submissions from organizations working in the following mountain ranges:

  • Alaska Range
  • Appalachian Mountains
  • Cascade Mountains
  • Laurentians
  • Pacific Coast Range (US and Canada)
  • Rocky Mountains (US and Canada)
  • Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Sierra Madre Mountains

The report will have three distinct sections:

(1)  a descriptive overview of mountains in North America

(2)  a discussion of three thematic issues

a. physical characteristics; such as soils, glaciers, water, energy exploration, mining extraction

b. biological/ecosystem issues; such as conservation/protected areas, encroachment/wildland urban interface, climate change, biodiversity, habitat

c. human/mountain interactions; such as poverty/wealth discrepancies, recreation/ecotourism, mountain events, agriculture, education, health/sustainability of human communities

(3)  brief descriptions of institutional/organizational initiatives focused on sustainable mountain development over the last 20 years; summarizing the experiences, achievements, and lessons learned. 

Rebecca Wallace of AIMF is the project director for this effort.  If you want to submit information for the report, you can contact her prior to December 15, 2011 at:

rebwallace@comcast.net

970-927-0313 (o)

970-618-3071 (c)
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Aspen Creative Arts World Summit in Oman

December 5, 2011—Aspen, CO— On November 28-30, 2011, AIMF President, Karinjo DeVore, participated in the Aspen Creative Arts World Summit in Muscat, Oman. The Summit was a joint initiative between the Aspen Institute’s Global Initiative on Culture and Society and the New Royal Opera House in Muscat. Its focus was on the challenges of creativity as they relate to current cultural life and sustainable development.  In collaboration with the director of the Summit, Dr. Damien Pwono, Ms. DeVore organized a roundtable discussion that addresses the unique mountain culture of Oman and strengthening the regional participation of the United Nations Mountain Partnership in that region. Douglas McGuire and Olman Serrano of the Mountain Partnership were also invited to attend. 

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AIMF attends 2011 Telluride Institute Ideas Festival

July 12, 2011—Aspen, CO— On July 8-10, 2011, AIFM President, Karinjo DeVore, and Secretary, Rebecca Wallace, attended the 2011 Telluride Institute Ideas Festival.

This year’s program, developed in collaboration with Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, was "Compassion for a World in Crisis: The Native American, Tibetan Buddhist, and Neuroscientists’ Perspective"

This interdisciplinary festival’s goal was to foster an understanding of mental life and its relationship to key concepts such as compassion, suffering, and mindfulness.  Invited guests included a wide array of distinct but complementary perspectives afforded by the field of cognitive science.  

Karinjo and Rebecca also used their time in Telluride to discuss the Mountain Partnership and to encourage the Telluride Institute and the Town of Telluride to join.   

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UN Mountain Partnership Coordinator, Doug McGuire, visits AIMF

March 13, 2011—Aspen, CO— On March 10-11, 2011, the Coordinator of the United Nations Mountain Partnership Secretariat, Douglas McGuire, visited Aspen and Basalt as AIMF’s guest. Mr. McGuire was in Orem, Utah attending the Women of the Mountains conference (see adjacent News article), and was pleased to accept AIMF’s invitation to visit Aspen and Basalt, which were inducted into the Mountain Partnership membership in 2010.

During his brief stay, AIFM arranged a walking tour of Basalt and a meeting with the Town planning director, Susan Philip, on the afternoon of the 10th. On the 11th, AIMF scheduled a full day of touring Aspen and meetings for Mr. McGuire. The day’s agenda included tours of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the Aspen Institute, a meeting with For the Forest Executive Director, John Bennett, a luncheon at the Aspen Mountain Club with the White River National Forest Supervisor, John Fitzwilliams, and meetings with Aspen Skiing Company Vice Presidents Auden Schendler, Dave Perry, and Rich Burkley, Sarah Reynolds, and Julie Thyson of the Aspen Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Mick Ireland, Council Member Torre, Special Counsel to the City, Jim True, and City Manager Steve Barwick.

The day was capped off with a dinner reception in Mr. McGuire’s honor hosted by Holly Leuders and Dick Spizzirri. Mr. McGuire was quite impressed by the hospitality extended to him, and by the extraordinary resources and institutional capacities in the Roaring Fork Valley that are devoted to sustainable mountain development.