International Mountain Day – December 11
Every year December 11 celebrated International Mountain Day. The year 2002 was the International Year of Mountains. As this year drew to a close, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed December 11 to be International Mountain Day. This observance, which is celebrated annually, aims to draw attention to the important roles that mountainous regions play in water and food supply.
The symbol of International Mountain Day consists of three equilateral triangles, each orientated with two points on a single imaginary horizontal line and one point directed upwards. The triangles are mainly black and represent mountains. The triangle on the left has a blue “diamond” shape at the top, representing ice or snow at the top of a mountain. The middle triangle has an orange circle at its center, representing resources that are mined from inside mountains. The triangle on the right has a small green triangle at its lower right-hand point.
This represents the crops that grow on mountains. Under the three triangles is a black stripe containing the words “11 December” and the words “International Mountain Day” in two shades of United Nations’ use of the color blue. The symbol of International Mountain Day is based on the symbol for the International Year of Mountains (2002). International Mountain Day is “observed every year with a different theme relevant to sustainable mountain development. FAO is the U.N. organization mandated to lead observance of International Mountain Day.
At the same time, these changes can provide opportunities for local development. People who reside in mountain areas can diversify their income by engaging activities such as tourism, high value mountain products and handicrafts. An enabling policy environment that includes tailored investments could improve farmers’ access to resources and increase their capacity to generate income.
Covering around 27 percent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 720 million mountain people around the world, but indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
In particular, mountains provide freshwater, energy and food – resources that will be increasingly scarce in coming decades. However, mountains also have a high incidence of poverty and are extremely vulnerable to climate change, deforestation, land degradation and natural disasters.
The challenge is to identify new and sustainable opportunities that can bring benefits to both highland and lowland communities and help to eradicate poverty without contributing to the degradation of fragile mountain ecosystems .
Commitment and will to advance this cause were strengthened during the International Year of Mountains in 2002, and mountains have gained an increasingly high profile on agendas at all levels.