# Mountains Matter
The Global Geoparks Network, the international organization of the 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks celebrate the International Mountain day 2018 and asks all Geopark authorities, partners and stakeholders to join the campaign and promote the role of Mountains for our planet and our communities.
The Global Geoparks Network encourages everyone to share why mountains are important to them across all social media platforms. Sharing these stories through social media with the hashtag “#MountainsMatter” will encourage a social momentum, bringing the importance of mountains to the attention of policy makers increasing the level of conversation about the protection and conservation of mountains, the people, animals, and environments that mountain spaces support.
Even though Mountains are mentioned in the 2030 Agenda, are still often forgotten. Considering the crucial role they play as geodiversity hotspots and in providing key ecosystem goods and services to the planet and their vulnerability in the face of climate change, we need to step up and raise attention to mountains.
#MountainsMatter for Geodiversity and Geoheritage as the majority of the world’s outstanding landscapes and geosites are laying in mountains and mountainous areas. Mountains preserve testimonies of our planet’s continuous evolution and the history of life on Earth.
#MountainsMatter for Water as mountains are the world’s ‘water towers’, providing between 60 and 80 percent of all freshwater resources for our planet. However, all available records indicate that glaciers in mountain ranges around the world are retreating and disappearing due to climate change. At least 600 glaciers have disappeared completely over the past decades, affecting water supplies relied on by billions living downstream.
#MountainsMatters for Disaster Risk Reduction as climatic variations are triggering disasters. Avalanches, mudflows and landslides are tumbling downstream, stripping bare forests, flooding communities and populations.
#MountainsMatter for Tourism as mountain destinations attract around 15-20 percent of global tourism and are areas of important cultural diversity, knowledge and heritage. Although mountain tourism has the potential to foster economic development in remote and isolated regions, many mountain communities are still not benefiting and live in poverty.
#MountainsMatter for Food as they are important centres of agricultural biodiversity and are home to many of the foods that come to our table, such as rice, potatoes, quinoa, tomatoes and barley. Yet, they are home to some of the hungriest peoples in the world with a high vulnerability to food shortages and malnutrition, and climate change is affecting mountain agriculture.
#MountainsMatter for Youth as despite the beautiful landscapes, life in the mountains can be tough, particularly for rural youth. Abandoning their villages in search of employment elsewhere has led to an absence of young people and an increasing labour shortage. Migration from mountains leads to an increase in abandoned agricultural, land degradation and often forest fires. At community level, cultural values and ancient traditions are lost.
#MountainsMatter for Indigenous Peoples as many mountain areas host ancient indigenous communities that possess and maintain precious knowledge, traditions and languages. Mountain peoples have developed remarkable land use systems and have a wealth of knowledge and strategies accumulated over generations on how to adapt to climate variability.
#MountainsMatter for Biodiversity as half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are concentrated in mountains and mountains support approximately one-quarter of terrestrial biological diversity. Mountains are home to rare animals such as gorillas, snow leopards and the majestic tahr as well as strikingly beautiful plants such as orchids and lobelias.
International Mountain Day 2018 is an occasion to create a large social movement that can bring mountain issues on the tables of politicians.
The Global Geoparks Network, the international organization of the 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks is joining the global campaign, through a social media communication and events around the world, to promote Mountains and their geological heritage, ecological and cultural value for our planet and the generations to come!