International Mountain Day

International Mountain Day

Mountains are home to 15% of the world´s population and a quarter of the world’s land animals and plants. They provide fresh water for everyday life to half of humanity.

Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. The rising temperatures also mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people.

International Mountain Day is celebrated on 11 December and was established by the United Nations in 2002, on occasion of the International Year of Mountains, which was held in 2003. This observance, which is celebrated annually, aims to draw attention to the important roles that mountainous regions play in water and food supply.

The 2019 edition of International Mountain Day is “Mountains matter for youth”, highlighting the need to bring young people back to highland areas to take care of their cultural and natural resources.

Young people are active agents of change and the future leaders of tomorrow. They are custodians of mountains and of their natural resources, which are being threatened by climate change.

The 2019 International Mountain Day’s theme is a great opportunity for young generations to take the lead and request that mountains and mountain peoples become central in the national and international development agendas, receive more attention, investments, and tailored research. The day will also be an occasion to educate children about the role that mountains play in supporting billions up and downstream by providing fresh water, clean energy, food, and recreation.

Big decisions are inevitably made by governments and international organizations, but we can each give something back to mountains: picking up the waste we find across trails, trying not to damage flora and fauna, and moving in small groups to not disturb animals. Mountains will appreciate this and, maybe, we’ll be able to hear their voice if we’re quiet enough.