Mountains and Climate Change - A Global Concern
Sustainable Mountain Series
Mountains are among the regions most affected by climate change. The implications of climate change will reach far beyond mountain areas, as the contributions in the present publication prepared for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 20) in Lima 2014 show.
Themes discussed are water, glaciers and permafrost, hazards, biodiversity, food security and economy. The case studies included show that concrete adaptive action has been taken in many mountain areas of the world. The publication concludes with a series of recommendations for sustainable mountain development in the face of climate change.
The report contains 7 chapters, four of them are summarized below:
Climate and Mountains
- Mountain regions have warmed considerably over the last 100 years, at a rate comparable to that of lowland regions.
- Mountain regions intersect important environmental boundaries such as tree lines or snow lines – boundaries whose altitudes have increased in the past century and will advance further in the future.
- Sound planning of adaptation measures on regional, national and transboundary levels is key, as the direction of change in hydrological systems is widely known. Adaptive measures such as implementing storage facilities have already been identified. Planning must be based on sufficient and sound evidence; but data are still lacking in many mountain regions.
- Floods, debrisflows, landslides and avalanches are among the mountain hazards most sensitive to climate change.
- The number of people affected by these hazards is most likely to increase in the future.
- Capacity building and integrated risk management can enhance community resilience and reduce the vulnerability of mountain populations.
Food Security in Mountains
- Implement climate-smart agriculture policies tailored to national and regional contexts.
- Empower smallholders with equal rights, entitlements and opportunities to access credit, productive resources and secure land tenure.
- Ensure small farmers’ access to markets and to a fair share of the value chain.
Source: Kohler, T., Wehrli, A. & Jurek, M., eds. 2014. Mountains and climate change: A global concern. Sustainable Mountain Development Series. Bern, Switzerland, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Geographica Bernensia. 136 pp.