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Mountain Countries United in Face of Climate Change

The governments of 30 mountainous countries from China to Peru met in Nepal in early April 2012 to collectively address climate change and create an alliance dedicated to sharing knowledge on the subject. Mountain countries are home to half of the world’s biodiversity and fresh water, and the 30 countries face unique vulnerabilities based on their geological environment.

Mount Everest (Photo by Pavel Novak, CC)

Mount Everest (Photo by Pavel Novak, CC)

Mountain areas are often ignored in negotiations because of their relatively small populations, and the countries have previously not been united in global forums because of the complex but varying impact climate change has on mountains.

The gathering countries hope to be as united as island nations have been in confronting global warming. While most people understand the impact that rising sea levels have on islands, few understand the ways in which mountains are affected by global warming. Ilhomjon Rjaboc, head of the Climate Change Center in Tajikistan, believes that the flooding that has affected parts of his country is a result of climate change, while other parts of the country suffer from droughts due to reduced precipitation.

In June, the mountain countries will gather in Rio de Janeiro to assess progress made in sustainable development, then meet in Qatar toward the end of the year. When the next phase of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change occurs, the countries want to present a united voice that demands attention for their specific and unique climate change concerns.