AIMF and the Telluride Institute have just completed a major report on sustainable development in North American mountains for inclusion in the materials being developed for the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, a.k.a. Rio+20.
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 by introducing a specific chapter (Chapter 13) on mountains as fragile ecosystems in Agenda 21—a comprehensive blueprint of actions to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by UN organizations, governments, and major groups in every area where humans directly affect the environment.
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. 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.
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.
AIMF and the Telluride Institute continue to explore ways in which they can further collaborate and advance the goals of the Mountain Partnership.
For more information, contact Rebecca Wallace