Mountain areas cover 24% of the Earth’s land surface, are home to 12% of the global population, provide vital goods and services - particularly freshwater - to at least half of humanity, are key centres of biological and cultural diversity, and influence climates at many scales. In other words, they provide many ecosystem services across our planet. Consequently, providing “expert guidance on integrated approaches to the management of natural and modified ecosystems to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable development” (as specified in the CEM mission) in mountain areas is vital not only for mountain people, but also for a significant proportion of the global population.
Many of these issues were addressed by IUCN’s former Mountain Initiative Taskforce, and more recently discussed at an international conference on 'Global Change and the World's Mountains', which took place in Perth, UK, on 26-30 September 2010. This was organised by Martin Price, Thematic Group Lead, and was attended by 450 people from 60 countries, including a number of members of CEM. The outcomes of this conference (see special issue of Mountain Research and Development) have informed the Action Plan for the Thematic Group for 2013-16.
The objective of this Thematic Group for 2013-16 is “Increased use of integrated approaches for ecosystem management across the world’s mountain areas”. The Action Plan identifies a number of activities to work towards this objective, including networking both within and outside IUCN, regular means of communication, a possible research fund for young professionals, and possible projects and events, including a workshop at the 2014 World Parks Congress and a further international conference in 2015. Many of these activities will be undertaken in collaboration with other parts of IUCN and other organisations (e.g., UNESCO, Mountain Research Initiative, other members of the Mountain Partnership).
If you are interested in the activities of the Thematic Group – and particularly if you would like to contribute to them – please contact either of the Thematic Group Leads if you are already a member of CEM; if you are not, please go to http://iucn.org/about/union/commissions/cem/cem_join/