South America and the Andes actively participate in the Sixth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership

Every four years, the Mountain Partnership holds a global meeting of its members from mountain regions and countries around the world. The sixth meeting was held 27-29 September 2022 in Aspen, Colorado (USA), co-hosted by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, the State of Colorado, the Municipality of Aspen, the Aspen International Mountain Foundation and the Aspen Institute.

The global meeting, with the theme “Mountains Matter: from Ideas to Action” is the main event of the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development 2022. Its aim was to set the Partnership’s agenda and the goals it would advocate for on the global stage over the next four years, and to place the sustainability and resilience of mountain ecosystems and communities at the centre of global policy and investment. The panels and side events provided information about the perspectives and actions of governmental, non-governmental and academic players in the various mountain regions of the world.

Both the Andean Mountain Initiative and a representatives of the Partnership’s South American Group of Organisations attended the meeting with coordinated agendas for each case, and held two side events to showcase their groups’ progress and experience. Through the Adaptation at Altitude programme, CONDESAN was one of their allies, and was in charge of organising and moderating the events.

Strengthening the Andean Mountain Initiative: Governance for Resilient Societies in the Region

The event aimed to present regional information about sustainable mountain management, and share the governance experience of the Andean Mountain Initiative, including planning and decision-making and the value of inter-regional exchange. The event showed that the Andean region is one of the most important regions on the planet in terms of biodiversity, but at the same time it is very vulnerable due to its biophysical and socio-economic conditions, and highly affected by climate change. The seven countries that share it have come together to face these challenges in increasingly specific ways and have also been working to learn about and replicate the best practices at a global level, through exchange with other mountain areas. This is an opportunity for Partnership members around the world to network with Andeans, forging meaningful alliances in the spirit of leaving no one behind.

Knowledge generation and management and strategic alliances for sustainable mountain development in South America

Given the diversity of mountain socio-ecosystems and landscapes, it is key to promote diverse, local and holistic approaches, based on sound knowledge and supported by strategic alliances. At the event, participants presented an array of experiences to promote dialogue between the agencies and stakeholders who want to see people in mountain systems living well, in order to work together inclusively in formulating management strategies that include different voices and visions in the discussion, and the ancestral vision in the region’s lands. The South American organisations presented their initiatives that use various approaches to sustainable development in their mountain areas, ranging from the generation and management of solid, timely and cost-efficient knowledge, to the use of sustainable land management strategies at landscape level, working with the local community to retrieve local knowledge and find more sustainable ways of life. They have also worked hard in capacity-building, peer-to-peer exchange, South-South cooperation and making mountains visible, in order to influence policies to the greater benefit of mountains.

South Americans and Andeans participated as speakers

©Karen Price

Panel: Building Sustainable Food Systems in the Mountains and Resilient Livelihoods

©(Photo by IISD/ENB | Matthew TenBruggencate)

Patricia Breuer Moreno, co-founder of the organisation Mujeres a la Cumbre, participated in the panel “Building sustainable mountain food systems and resilient livelihoods”. Her organisation is a social enterprise that seeks to bring women to the mountains, organising expeditions that include opportunities to learn through networking with local women. “Local women play the main role, they are our guides and our leaders in every experience,” she said.

Panel: Transboundary Cooperation

©(Photo by IISD/ENB | Matthew TenBruggencate)

Carlos Montoya, advisor to the Environment Department of the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took part in the Transboundary Cooperation panel. He discussed the impact on the region of the consolidation of the Andean Mountain Initiative, emphasising the advantages of its status as a voluntary organisation, which include a more flexible adaptation to policies; the possibility of establishing working groups in specific areas, including funding and knowledge; and the opportunity to involve a wide network of players.

Side event “Tackling the climate crisis at altitude by fostering a community of practice”

(Foto: Photo by IISD/ENB | Matthew TenBruggencate)

Karen Price from the IAM Technical Secretariat also participated in the side event “Tackling the climate crisis at altitude by fostering a community of practice”, organised by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Adaptation at Altitude Programme. She presented the IAM’s experience in strengthening knowledge management in the face of climate change; in promoting science-policy dialogue for implementing adaptation measures; and in the exchange of experiences both between countries in the region and between various stakeholders such as decision-makers, members of academia and the communities of practice that have been implemented. She noted that in all these experiences “developing a continental regional perspective has been a key innovation”.

Official sessions of the Partnership and results

Foto: Ana Carolina Benitez

The Mountain Partnership held several official sessions, to present a series of strategic documents for members to review and endorse. They approved the Promotion Strategy and the Communication Strategy.

The Governance Document was substantially revised by members. They agreed to add some key points to the definition of the Vision of the Partnership: references to climate change, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem restoration and the well-being of the population. Second, they proposed the creation of a scientific advisory body, an initiative widely welcomed by delegates. They also discussed the redefinition of the functions of the Chair of the Steering Committee and the FAO’s agreement to host the Mountain Partnership.

Members then elected a new steering committee, voting for representatives from each of the regions. For South America, Peru was chosen as government representative, with Argentina as alternate representative. The Centre for High Mountain Studies (CEAM) replaces CONDESAN as group representative, with Crescente Fértil as reserve.

The Aspen Declaration

A key outcome of the meeting was the endorsement by delegates of the Aspen Declaration. It establishes the key role that mountain ecosystems play in providing essential goods and services, as well as being home to over a billion people, while highlighting the vulnerability of mountain ecosystems and the need to find ways to protect them. It also highlights the work of the Mountain Partnership and its relationship with other major international systems, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and work related to the Sustainable Development Goals. The Declaration promotes work that moves the mountain agenda increasingly to the centre of these processes. It also proposes to include among the results of the UN General Assembly Resolution: The International Year for the Sustainable Development of Mountains and the proclamation of the 2023-2027 period as “the five years of action for the development of mountainous regions”.  In the Declaration, the members of the Mountain Partnership express their commitment to these initiatives, and request the support of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat for achieving them.

About the Adaptation at Altitude Programme

Adaptation at Altitude works to promote knowledge management, producing comprehensive information and analysis, identifying solutions to climate change to integrate them into land management and decision-making, from the local to the continental scale.

The Adaptation at Altitude programme is being implemented from 2019-2023 in the Andes by CONDESAN, through an agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It works with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in the mountain regions of East Africa and the South Caucasus, and with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

It collaborates with global initiatives such as the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI), the Mountain Research initiative MRI, the ZOÏ Environmental Network and the WeAdapt programme of the University of Geneva, and with key partners in the Andes. It supports two continental monitoring networks in Andean mountain ecosystems: the GLORIA-Andes Network and the Andean Forest Network. The project is part of the global Adaptation at Altitude programme.

About the Andean Mountain Initiative

The Andean Mountains Initiative is a platform composed of the seven countries that share a common territory: the Andes Mountains. Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela voluntarily work to strengthen regional dialogue to encourage and carry out joint action.

Source: CONDESAN

Useful links:
PDF Brochure Adaptation in the Andes Community of Practice
Web Adaptation at Altitude Programme
Web Adaptation at Altitude
Web Andean Mountain Initiative

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