IMD 2018 celebrated in over 35 countries
2019-01-30 - 79 Views
Celebrations took place in over 35 countries, including Algeria, Austria, Cameroon, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States of America, among others. Festivities included conferences, exhibitions, hikes, workshops, contests and readings.
As the lead coordinating UN agency for the preparation of this annual celebration, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) worked with decentralized offices, governments and civil society organizations to support awareness-raising events showing the importance of mountains to global sustainable development.
“#MountainsMatter” was the theme chosen for this year’s celebration of International Mountain Day. The theme of this year’s IMD celebration, #MountainsMatter aimed to raise awareness about the importance of mountains in terms of water, disaster risk reduction, tourism, food, youth, indigenous peoples, and biodiversity.
IMD 2018 was an occasion to create a social movement that brought mountain issues on the tables of politicians.Through a social media campaign and events around the world, the importance of mountains was shared via the hashtag MountainsMatter.
The IMD #MountainsMatter photo contest promoted the role mountains play for the planet and contributed by making them more visible to the wider public.  An image from the spring equinox in festival on a mountain in Iran by Salar Arkan was the winner of the 2018 IMD #MountainsMatter photo contest. A video raising awareness on the importance of mountains by depicting the environmental pollution, natural disasters and unsustainable practices reducing the biodiversity in mountains and increasing the vulnerability of mountain peoples. A video message from FAO’s Director General, José Graziano da Silva was also broadcasted to celebrate the world’s most spectacular landscapes, mountains. 
At global level, the day was an opportunity to make strong calls for action. The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) co-organized international events with Mountain Partnership members at four venues.
In Nova Friburgo, Brasil during the Mountains 2018 Conference, scholars, professionals, policy-makers shared research and knowledge for sustainable development for mountain regions. Organizers included Mountain Partnership members, Centro de Investigação de Montanha, Crescente Fértil and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 
In Berne, Switzerland an event on the “75 years of development in mountain areas: Where mountains provide services for the cities” took place. The event has been organized by the Federal Office for Agriculture, Switzerland and the Federal Office for Spatial Development with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The Mountain Partnership Secretariat presented on the Mountain Partnership Products Initiative (MPP) and how they conserve agrobiodiversity and improve local economies and livelihoods.
In Rome, Italy, the “1st IISUMOD Convention on Sustainable Mountain Development: Strengthening Partnerships, Policies and Practices in the Himalaya and Beyond,” focused on sharing ideas and presenting IISUMOD's programs and planned projects and on laying the foundations of an international network to jointly work together towards the sustainable development of mountains.
The United Nations Headquarters in New York City, USA also hosted an IMD celebration, "Tackling Climate Change and Building Resilience for Mountain and Rural Communities". The side-event was organized by the Permanent missions of Andorra, Austria, and Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations. The event highlighted the problems of mountain communities’ development and the negative impact of climate change on fragile and vulnerable mountain ecosystems in the framework of the 2030 Agenda.  The Mountain Partnership Secretariat presented the achievements of the MPP Initiative and launch a collaboration with the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme.    
Several countries including Costa Rica, Iran, Sri Lanka, the United States of America and Algeria celebrated at the national level. Activities included a nationwide social media campaign in Costa Rica, a nationwide treeplanting festival in Algeria and a conference in Iran. The events helped raise awareness about the importance of mountains to their countries and brought to light the challenges mountain ecosystems face.
IMD was also a great success on the web. Visitors to the IMD website reached approximately 7200 on 11 December, the number of visitors doubled from the last year. Global media coverage of the day was also very extensive, with more than 100 related articles published by local, national and international news wires, including El Pais, Thomson Reuters and La Repubblica.