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International Mountain Day: 11 December

International Mountain Day: 11 December

International Mountain Day was observed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation on December 11, 2017. The Day is celebrated every year since 2003.

The Theme

The theme for the year 2017 is “Mountains under pressure: climate, hunger and migration”. The theme highlights how climate, hunger and migration are affecting highlands and it seeks to ensure that sustainable mountain development is integrated into the 2030 Agenda and in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

This year, the theme is also linked to the Mountain Partnership Global Meeting, to be held on 11-13 December at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, which will focus on the challenges and opportunities in sustainable mountain development and will launch a Framework for Action to support concrete actions and establish policies that strengthen the resilience of mountain peoples and environments.

Importance of Mountains

  • Mountains cover around 22 percent of the earth's land surface and are home to 13 percent of the world’s population.
  • They provide sustenance and well-being for 915 million people, but also indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
  • Ninety percent of the world’s mountain dwellers live in developing countries, where a vast majority lives below the poverty line and 1 out of 3 faces the threat of food insecurity.
  • Mountains provide 60-80 percent of the world's freshwater - without which sustainable development that aims to eliminate poverty and hunger would not be possible.
  • Mountains have a key role to play in providing renewable energy, especially through hydropower, solar power, wind power and biogas.


International Mountain Day has its roots in 1992, when the adoption of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development put a milestone in the history of mountain development.

The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN General Assembly to declare 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains. On this occasion, the UN General Assembly has designated 11 December, from 2003 onwards, as “International Mountain Day”. FAO is the coordinating agency for the coordinating this celebration (IMD).

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