Lucerne World Mountain Conference Calls for Strong Message at Rio+20

12 October 2011: The Lucerne World Mountain Conference adopted a Call for Action, including for adapting and developing mountain governance to avoid poverty, food insecurity and social exclusion. The Conference aimed to highlight the importance of mountains and feed into the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The Conference, organized under the auspices of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), brought together over 100 international experts and policy makers in Lucerne, Switzerland, from 11-12 October 2011.

Daniel Maselli, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, noted that the Conference provided an opportunity to "help mountains stand tall on the Rio+20 agenda,” and achieve political commitment for sustainable mountain development. Olman Serrano, Coordinator, the Mountain Partnership, called for access and benefit-sharing, ownership of natural resources and participation of mountain and rural communities in decision making.

Participants agreed that protecting water, reducing poverty and economically developing mountain communities would require a series of actions, such as: facilitating mountain communities' access to resources and equitable sharing of benefits; involving mountain communities in decision-making processes concerning their livelihoods, economy, environment and culture; strengthening national, regional and global institutions that address transboundary cooperation; and recognizing the vulnerability of mountain ecosystems within the three Rio Conventions.

Brice Lalonde, UNCSD Executive Coordinator, emphasized that mountains are transboundary and interdisciplinary, and that the key entry point in Rio+20 could be cooperation in mountain regions. Finally, Andreas Schild, Director General, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), highlighted that the "green economy has to recognize, value and compensate mountain ecosystem goods and services."  [Call for Action] [Lucerne World Mountain Conference News, 11 October] [Lucerne World Mountain Conference News, 13 October]