International Mountain Day

Take time to reflect on mountain landscapes, people and pressures.

As we celebrate International Mountain Day on December 11 2017, it’s timely to reflect on the diversity, change and challenges that Mountains give us. Covering a quarter of the earth’s land surface, they are a livelihood for the special mountain communities, source of essential ecosystem services and present some of the most magnificent protected areas on earth.

Mountains are home to 13% of the world’s population and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy.  In addition to those pressures, 15-20% of Global Tourism is attracted to mountainous areas.

Mountains are also at the forefront of global change, particularly as our climate future continues to manifest.  As temperatures inevitably continue to rise considerable pressure is placed on these delicate ecosystems and productivity. Mountains also change naturally, irreverently and sometimes inconveniently to humans, as they twist, buckle, erupt, erode and rebuild, as we see from the current erupting of Mt Agung in Bali.

There are many celebrations and events being held throughout the world for International Mountain Day, with so many people dedicated to the mountains landscape for a whole range of reasons from permanent protection to sustainable livelihoods and communities to global ecosystem services. Visit Mountain Partnerships for a comprehensive summary of what’s happening.

The World Commission on Protected Areas' Mountains Specialist Group is continually impressed by the great and passionate work that goes on in support of mountains. One particular project is the Global Mountain Explorer, a new web-based tool that allows users to explore mountain regions in greater detail than ever before. 

So while reflecting on mountains on 11 December, explore the world with Mountains at your Fingertips  and consider the theme of this year:

“Mountains under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration.”

Peter Jacobs

Chair WCPA Mountains Protected Area Specialist Group


Go to top