International Mountain Day 2018: Sustainable Alps

A lake with mountains around it and blue sky.Click to enlarge
Alpine scenery with a view to Alpsee and Hohenschwangau in Bavaria, Germany.
Source: Fotolia/J. Ossorio Castillo

December 11th is the designated International Mountain Day. The day was designated by the UN to show the important role of mountain regions for sustainable development. In line with this, UBA has published a background paper describing the Alpine region on its way to becoming a model region for green economy.

Mountain regions impress not only with their particular landscape but also provide natural capital and many important ecosystem services. However, they are extremely sensitive to the consequences of climate change. The Alps represent one of the most prominent mountain regions in Europe. The temperature rises here faster than the worldwide average, with serious consequences for the flora and the living environment of humans and animals. Therefore, this region is regarded as an early-warning system for climate change and as an open air laboratory for climate adaptation.

The unique role of mountain regions is also underlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. On the occasion of the International Mountain Day 2018, the United Nations calls for contributions on the importance of mountains for each of us, by using the hashtag “#MountainsMatter” in social networks.

The German Environment Agency recently published the background paper “Green Economy in the Alps”, which fits to the motto of this year’s International Mountain Day. It describes important aspects of the greening of the economy in the Alps based on four topic areas: low-carbon economy and climate adaptation, resource-efficient economy, ecosystem services and natural capital, as well as quality of life and well-being. This is supplemented by current information from relevant projects, where the German Environment Agency is involved.