International Mountain Day 2012

Farasast Ali 

The International Mountain Day has its roots in 1992, when a milestone was reached in the field of mountain development, with the adoption of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN General Assembly to declare 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains.

Keeping in view the importance of mountains the United Nations General Assembly has designated 11 December, from 2003 onward, as “International Mountain Day”. This decision results from the success of the UN International Year of Mountains in 2002, which increased global awareness of the importance of mountains, stimulated the establishment of national committees in 78 countries and strengthened alliances through promoting the creation of the International Partnership for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions, known as the ‘Mountain Partnership (WSSD, Johannesburg, 2 September 2002).

The Gilgit-Baltistan is endowed with three great mountainous ranges, peaks, forest, glaciers, high altitude wetlands, pastures, rivers and associated biodiversity. These lofty mountains  are provide fresh water, gene pool, food stables, medicinal plants, fodder, lakes, glaciers, wildlife, birds, mineral, gemstones and vegetation for upstream community of the area and downstream people of the Pakistan.

The remoteness and limited accessibility of the Gilgit – Baltistan until now have meant that people here have had a high dependence on the natural environment, without access to many modern facilities. Traditional modes of living ensured harmony between the natural environment and human beings. But growing population, greater communication links and infrastructural and developmental interventions are changing traditional lifestyles and increasing the pressure on natural resources.

The problem of hunger and food security in Gilgit – Baltistan has been worse from few decades because of climate change, inaccessibility, lack of availability, un equal distribution, high prices, geo political and social marginality situations. What we need to do is to address the food security in the region are awareness, increase food storage capacity, insure availability and accessibility to food items, equal distributions, minimum prices and sustainable consumption. World Wide Fund for Natural is active in the region since 1980s for conservation, preservation and protection of species and gene pool of biodiversity in the region.

In this regards a day long awareness session was conducted in Shigar Valley in collaboration with directorate of Central Karakorum National Park and other stakeholders on 11 December 2012. Focus of the even twas on “Food Security in Mountains”, the theme for this year’s advocacy events.

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