2002 is International Year of Mountains (IYM). IYM marks the consolidation of efforts to address issues of sustainable development of mountain areas where an ecosystem approach to conservation is being planned. Initiatives, events, networks are all part of the year - long commemoration in addition to development activities being undertaken in mountain areas.

We are always close to major conflicts between the protection of humans, their livelihoods and achieving sustainable development. Reaching the unreached form a formidable challenge in achieving such development goals.

Marginal people, marginal areas and impoverished economy coupled with inappropriate policies contribute to growing divides of the 'haves' and 'have-nots' resulting in creation of large number of environmental refugees and a new set of 'development apartheid'.

Realising the need to address issues and concerns of one such segment of society living in mountain areas, the United Nations designated 2002 as the International year of Mountain (IYM). IYM is largely an exercise to voicing the silence of people living in mountains so that they are included or mainstreamed into developmental activities.

Under the auspices of FAO, the lead agency for IYM, several organisations are working towards activities aimed at ensuring sustainable development coupled with protection of fragile ecosystem around the world.

Activities include development of case studies on range of issues, development of best-practice guidelines, workshops, and training programmes, awareness building initiatives and networking.

IUCN - The World Conservation Union is closely involved in implementing several activities to commemorate IYM. Apart from this, in Asia region IUCN is currently implementing a major initiative in Pakistan - The Mountain Area Conservancy Project (MACP) in addition to a regional initiative under the 'Himal Programme' comprising activities in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

An information pack for planners and practitioners of conservation and development efforts in mountain areas is currently under preparation for possible release at the Mountain Summit in October 2002.

For further details:

Mountain Institute
IUCN Pakistan
IUCN Himal Programme
IUCN Regional Biodiversity
Programme, Asia

Key References

Lynch, Owen and Gregory F. Maggio. 2000. Mountain Laws and Peoples: Moving Towards Sustainable Development and Recognition of Community-Based Property Rights. A General Overview of Mountain Laws and Policies with Insights from the Mountain Forum's Electronic Conference on Mountain Policy and Law. Mountain Forum, The Mountain Institute, and the Center for International Environmental Law. Franklin, West Virginia.
Preston, Lynelle (ed.). 1997. Investing in Mountains: Innovative Mechanisms and Promising Examples for Financing Conservation and Sustainable Development: Synthesis of a Mountain Forum Electronic Conference in Support of the Mountain Agenda. Franklin, West Virginia, The Mountain Institute and FAO.
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, 1997. Mountain Agriculture and Crop Genetic Resources. Report of the International Workshop,16-19 Feb 1987 in Kathmandu, Nepal.
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, 1997.Intellectual, Biological, and Cultural Property Rights in the HKH, Issues in Mountain Development 98/2.