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					Mountain watch

       hapter 13 of Agenda 21 recog-     Sustainable Development, which took      appropriately to ensure that environ-
       nizes the need to strengthen      place in Johannesburg in 2002, deve-     mental impacts are minimized. Ideally,
       knowledge about the ecology       loped a Plan of Implementation for       an environmental impact assessment
and sustainable development of           sustainable development of mountain      would be carried out prior to dev-
mountain ecosystems, and to promote      regions (see page 80). This section      elopment taking place, and impacts
integrated watershed development         highlights some approaches and tools     should be monitored to enable
and alternative livelihood opportuni-    that could be used by decision-makers    management approaches to be adap-
ties in mountain areas.                  to work towards achieving these goals.   ted appropriately. In some countries,
        Implementation has been                                                   such assessment and monitoring is
led by the Food and Agriculture          APPROACHES FOR SUSTAINABLE               required by legislation.
Organization of the United Nations       DEVELOPMENT                                      In areas that have experienced
(FAO), in collaboration with a wide      Development options that are par-        environmental degradation as a result
range of partners. The Millennium        ticularly important in mountain areas    of inappropriate development or over-
Summit of September 2000 reaffirmed      include tourism, mining, and develop-    exploitation of resources, ecological
international commitment to sustain-     ment of water and energy resources       restoration or rehabilitation may be
able development and the elimination     including dams. As with other            required. The aim of restoration is to
of poverty, and defined the Millennium   development options, such as agri-       re-establish the key characteristics of
Development Goals, all of which          cultural intensification and forest      an ecosystem, such as composition,
are relevant to mountain areas.          management, these approaches need        structure and function, which were
Furthermore, the World Summit on         to be planned and implemented            present prior to the degradation taking

                                                                                           Sustainable development

place. Such restoration can signifi-     applied to assess environmental con-      resented spatially together with the
cantly improve the provision of eco-     dition and trends, often by incor-        likely environmental impacts of dif-
system services to people. A large       porating remote sensing data. The         ferent land use strategies, to indicate
number of restoration projects have      global maps present spatial data on       development domains, where particu-
now been initiated in different parts    different pressures affecting mountain    lar livelihood options are preferable.
of the world. In mountain areas,         environments. Such analyses enable        The definition of areas where potential
re-establishment of forest cover is      areas at risk of environmental change     environmental impacts and trade-offs
often a priority. For example, in the    to be identified and considered as        are particularly high is of critical
European Alps, reforestation is being    priorities for action. For example,       importance for ensuring that develop-
undertaken on a large scale to reduce    areas of particular importance for        ment decisions are environmentally
avalanche risk.                          biodiversity conservation that are        sustainable.
                                         threatened by infrastructural develop-             Indicators summarizing com-
TOOLS FOR SUSTAINABLE                    ment might be prioritized for desig-      plex data in relatively simple forms are
DEVELOPMENT                              nation as protected areas.                now widely used to inform decision-
Geographical information systems                 GIS databases can be used         making. Indicators can be developed
(GIS) are computer systems that can      as decision support systems in a          for different environmental pressures,
be used to assemble, analyse and         number of other ways. Modelling           ecosystem condition, impacts and
display geographically referenced        approaches such as GLOBIO can be          response measures, and can also be
information. GIS technology is of        used to develop scenarios of possible     used as a tool to monitor change over
particular value for resource manage-    future change. These can be produced      time. Many initiatives focusing on
ment and development planning, by        for different management options,         sustainable development have identi-
enabling maps to be produced incor-      providing an assessment of possible       fied the need for indicators to assist in
porating a variety of different data     consequences. GIS tools can also be       the assessment of policy implemen-
layers. This can support an integrated   used to evaluate the potential of         tation, and to provide practical tools for
approach to land use planning and        different rural livelihood options. The   resource managers. The methods of
development, which is a key require-     factors considered important for rural    analysing and presenting spatial data
ment for sustainable development.        development, such as agricultural         illustrated in this report provide a
        The previous sections of this    potential, access to markets and          basis for the development of such
report illustrate how GIS can be         population pressure, can be rep-          indicators.

Mountain watch

Figure 46: Protected areas in mountains at the national
level and the international level (inset)

Protected areas

        Nationally designated sites

        Internationally designated sites

        Mountain region

The main map shows the position of all
national protected areas thought to be
entirely or in part within mountains. All
management categories and sizes are
included. Boundaries are shown for
larger areas where data are available;
the point symbols otherwise
used exaggerate actual area
in many cases. The inset
shows international sites in
mountains designated under
the UNESCO Man and the
Biosphere Programme, the
World Heritage Convention
and the Ramsar Convention.
A small number of sites
designated under European
agreements are also included.

P ro t e c t e d a re a s
      he initial purpose of many             INTERNATIONAL SYSTEMS                      natural, 16 mixed). Ramsar sites are

T     protected areas was to protect
      spectacular scenery and pro-
vide recreational facilities. As a result,
                                             At global level two international
                                             conventions and one international
                                             programme provide for designation of
                                                                                        designated for conservation of wetland
                                                                                        habitats; few are in mountain regions.
                                                                                                The establishment of Bio-
many mountain areas were among               internationally important sites. These     sphere Reserves is not covered by
the first to be accorded protected           are the World Heritage Convention, the     a specific convention, but is part of
area status. With time, the concept          Ramsar (Wetlands) Convention, and          the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere
has evolved to include areas of par-         the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere           (MAB) Programme. Biosphere Re-
ticular importance for biodiversity,         (MAB) Programme.                           serves differ from the preceding
such as locations that harbour                       The World Heritage Convention      types of site in that they are not
threatened species or high species           (Convention Concerning the Protection      designated only to protect unique or
diversity. Increasingly, management of       of the World Cultural and Natural          important areas, but to achieve a
protected areas has also sought to           Heritage) was adopted in Paris in 1972,    range of objectives including research,
meet the needs of people living within       and provides for the designation of        monitoring, training and demon-
and near to designated sites. Because        areas of ‘outstanding universal value’     stration as well as conservation. In
international boundaries were often          as World Heritage Sites, with the          most cases, meeting the needs of
drawn in mountains, these areas              principal aim of fostering international   people is a central component to their
provide valuable opportunities for           cooperation in safeguarding these          management of Biosphere Reserves.
international cooperation in protected       important areas. There are some 227        Some 190 Biosphere Reserves are
area management.                             World Heritage Sites (123 cultural, 88     within mountains.

                                                                                                                  Protected areas

                      Source: UNEP-WCMC database, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas

NATIONAL PROTECTED AREAS                      areas in many parts of the world, and
Many other types of protected area            present a major challenge to their             Table 18: Percent of mountain
have been designated within countries,        effective management. In addition,             area within protected areas
including nature reserves, wilderness         climate change may in future have
areas, national parks, natural monu-          significant implications for the design        REGION                               %
ments, habitat/species management             and management of protected area               North and Central America            30
areas, protected landscapes, managed          networks.                                      South America                        23
resource protected areas, etc. In many                Spatial information on the             Eurasia                              10
cases, these coincide entirely or in part     pressures responsible for environ-             Africa                               15
with international sites.                     mental change, as presented in this            Australasia and                      25
        Many protected areas are              report, can be of value for identifying            Southeast Asia
effective in conserving species,              those areas most at risk and therefore         Greenland                            32
habitats and landscapes of value.             help to focus resources on those sites
However, a large number are inade-            most in need of protection. In addition,       GLOBAL VALUES
quately supported because of a lack           spatial analyses can identify the extent       % of protected area that             32
of financial resources or capacity,           to which priority areas for conser-            occurs in mountain regions
and this can greatly reduce their             vation coincide with areas of value for        * These figures include IUCN
effectiveness. Many protected areas           economic development, such as                  categories I-IV plus other national sites
                                                                                             with spatial coordinates in the UNEP-
are also under pressure from environ-         mineral exploitation, timber harvest-          WCMC dataset. Sites designated under
mental change. For example, pres-             ing or agricultural production. Wise           the Antarctic Treaty are not included.
sures such as fire, human conflict,           management of land outside the                 Note: the % of protected area that
natural hazards, land cover change            protected area network can also play           occurs in mountain regions is slightly
                                                                                             larger than the % of the total global
and infrastructural development all           an important role in the maintenance
                                                                                             area defined as mountainous (27%).
have significant impacts on protected         of biodiversity.

Mountain watch

GEF and mountains
   n 2002, as we observe the United         mountain components total more than         lopment, which will help mitigate

I  Nations International Year of
   Mountains, the Global Environment
Facility (GEF) continues to champion
                                            $601 million. Most of the projects have
                                            focused largely on protected areas and
                                            surrounding sites. In addition, at least
                                                                                        the impacts of global warming on
                                                                                        mountain environments. GEF aims to:
                                                                                        remove barriers to energy conser-
initiatives that enable mountain com-       84 projects are in globally significant     vation and energy efficiency; promote
munities to improve their quality of life   sites including World Natural and           the adoption of renewable energy
while protecting globally important         Cultural Heritage Sites, the Global         by removing barriers and reducing
ecosystems. GEF supports projects           200 list, and UNESCO-MAB Biosphere          implementation costs; reduce the
in the areas of biodiversity, climate       Reserves, among others. In terms of         long-term costs of low greenhouse
change, ozone layer depletion, inter-       geographic coverage, about 38 per           gas emitting energy technologies;
national waters, land degradation           cent of projects in mountain eco-           foster more environmentally sustain-
(desertification) and persistent organic    systems are in Latin America, with 31       able transportation systems; identify
pollutants. Through these multiple          per cent in Asia.                           and implement measures to adapt to
areas of activity, GEF is helping                   Activities in GEF’s mountains       the impacts of climate change.
mountain people face a full range of        projects include in-situ conservation               GEF renewable energy pro-
environmental problems.                     and sustainable forest management,          jects also directly support mountain
                                            water catchment and integrated water-       communities situated far from exist-
BIODIVERSITY                                shed management, erosion control            ing power grids to have access to cost-
The GEF biodiversity portfolio cover-       and other conservation programmes.          effective and sustainable energy.
age in mountains is quite extensive,        Using community-based approaches,           Examples include renewable energy
ranging from the Andes in South             many projects identify sustainable          projects in Argentina and Lao PDR.
America, the Carpathians in Europe          use activities, such as ecotourism and
and the Drakensberg in Africa, to the       the harvesting of non-timber forest         INTERNATIONAL WATERS
Himalayas in Asia. The total GEF bio-       products.                                   Many mountain ranges have been
diversity portfolio contains more than                                                  used as national boundaries. Rivers
100 projects in globally significant        CLIMATE CHANGE                              that originate in mountain ranges
mountain ecosystems. As of 2002,            GEF is playing a catalytic role in          often provide freshwater to more than
the GEF allocations for projects with       promoting sustainable energy deve-          one country. GEF is contributing as a

  About the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  The Global Environment Facility           emerge from the 1992 Earth                 have managed GEF projects in their
  (GEF) is a major catalyst for             Summit and today counts 173                capacity as implementing agencies
  improving the global environment.         countries as members. GEF is the           since 1991. In 1999, the GEF Council
  Following a three-year pilot phase,       designated financial mechanism             expanded the opportunities for
  GEF was formally launched in 1994         for international agreements on            seven other agencies to work on
  to forge cooperation and finance          biodiversity, climate change, and          GEF projects. Today, the Food and
  actions addressing four critical          persistent organic pollutants; GEF         Agriculture Organization of the
  threats: biodiversity loss, climate       also supports the work of the global       United Nations, the United Nations
  change, degradation of international      agreements to combat desertification       Industrial Development
  waters, and ozone depletion.              and protect international waters           Organization, the African
          During its first decade, GEF      and the ozone layer.                       Development Bank, the Asian
  allocated $4.0 billion, supplemented              GEF projects are carried out       Development Bank, the European
  by $12.4 billion in co-financing, to      by a wide range of public and private      Bank for Reconstruction and
  more than 1 000 projects in 160           partners. The United Nations               Development, the Inter-American
  developing countries and countries        Development Programme, the                 Development Bank, and the
  with transitional economies. GEF          United Nations Environment                 International Fund for Agricultural
  is the only new funding source to         Programme and the World Bank               Development execute GEF projects.

                                                                                                      GEF and mountains

 Figure 47: GEF projects in mountain regions

                    GEF project                       Mountain region

catalyst to the implementation of         especially important when people in        but which are categorized under other
a more comprehensive, ecosystem-          lowland and highland work together to      operational programmes in the
based approach in managing inter-         protect their watershed environment        biodiversity focal area.
national waters, which includes res-      and achieve sustainable development.       Global projects, and other projects for
toring and maintaining mountain                                                      which it is difficult to indicate the project
ecosystems associated with inter-         PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS              area are not included. Locations are
national waters. The Bermejo River        (POPS) AND LAND DEGRADATION                approximate.
Binational Basin projects in Argentina    Research has demonstrated a high
and Bolivia offer an example of GEF       concentration of POPs in some remote
International Waters activities in        mountain lakes. GEF has been desig-
mountains.                                nated as the interim financial mecha-
                                          nism for the Stockholm Convention on
INTEGRATED ECOSYSTEM                      Persistent Organic Pollutants, and
MANAGEMENT                                supports governments in preparing
GEF has started to catalyse wide-         national implementation plans. GEF
spread adoption of comprehensive          has also been financing activities to
ecosystem management interventions        prevent and control land degradation,
that integrate ecological, economic       cutting across the focal areas des-
and social goals to achieve multiple      cribed above. In late 2002, the addition
and cross-cutting benefits. Typical       of POPs and land degradation as GEF
GEF activities may include: improved      focal areas was expected to enhance
management of a forested watershed        GEF’s holistic support of mountain
to achieve multiple benefits, including   regions.
improvements in soil and water
conservation; aquatic biodiversity        Note: The map above only includes:
conservation; flood control, minimi-      (a) GEF's large and medium-sized
zation of sedimentation of globally       projects categorized under GEF
important water bodies; and reduction     mountain ecosystem operational
of net emissions or improved storage      programme OP N°4
of greenhouse gases. This integrated      (b) GEF large and medium-sized
ecosystem management approach is          projects whose area includes mountains,

Mountain watch

Annapurna, Nepal
                          epal is centrally located in the   and management of protected areas
                          Himalaya chain, and mountain       have traditionally been government
                          ecosystems cover about 77 per      responsibilities, the Annapurna Con-
                 cent of the country, supporting 52 per      servation Area is, for the first time
                 cent of the human population. Nine          in Nepal, managed by a national
                 of the world’s 14 recognized peaks          non-governmental organization – the
                 rising above 8 000 m are within or          King Mahendra Trust for Nature
                 border Nepal, and many rare species         Conservation. The Annapurna Conser-
                 occur, such as the snow leopard             vation Area extends over 7 629 km2.
                 and Himalayan thar. Nepal is a low-                 The rationale behind the
                 income country, ranked by the United        project is to link conservation directly
                 Nations as among the 49 ‘least              with quality-of-life issues and the
                 developed countries’, and has among         basic human needs of the people
                 the lowest scores in the United             living in an environmentally sensitive
                 Nations Development Programme’s             mountain region. ACAP promotes
                 Human Development Index.                    environmentally sound multiple land
                          Most people in the mountains       use, incorporating traditional methods
                 depend on forests for fuel, fodder,         of resource utilization and animal
                 timber and medicine. Traditional            husbandry.
                 energy sources, notably firewood and                This integrated bottom-up
                 agricultural residues, respectively         approach to resource management
                 supply about 75 per cent and 20 per         distinguishes the Annapurna Conser-
                 cent of the total energy demand in the      vation Area from many other environ-
                 country. Poverty and high dependence        mental protection programmes. A
                 on firewood as the source of energy         fundamental element in ACAP is that
                 for cooking and heating have caused         instead of relying on legislation and
                 deterioration in the quality and quan-      force to exclude people, as in many
                 tity of forest cover and often contri-      protected areas elsewhere, the local
                 buted to soil degradation, erosion,         communities are actively involved in
                 landslides and flooding. The rate of        conservation and development work
                 population growth and lack of liveli-       toward long-term biodiversity conser-
                 hood options in villages are two of the     vation goals. Community needs, such
                 factors underlying pressure on forest       as drinking water, health, schools
                 resources. The mountain ecosystem is        and trail maintenance, are carefully
                 also affected by improper development       integrated into the development
                 interventions, high out-migration and,      programme.
                 at present, insecurity caused by insur-             At present, ACAP is one of
                 gence and political instability.            the most frequently cited models in
                          Various past initiatives have      protected area management. The
                 tried to address these issues, especially   success of this approach was formally
                 poverty, population growth and the          recognized by the Nepal Government,
                 environment in mountain ecosystems,         which took a bold step in amending
                 but there remains a need to learn from      the existing 1973 National Park and
                 these experiences and modify current        Wildlife Conservation Act N° 2029
                 initiatives accordingly. The Annapurna      with development of a new conser-
                 Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in         vation area regulation 1996 (KMTNC
                 Nepal attempts to build on past             1996) and supporting guidelines 1999
                 experience in a way that emphasizes         (KMTNC 1999). The establishment of
                 the needs and aspirations of the local      two new conservation areas suggests
                 community. Although the creation            that this community-based conser-

                                                                                                                          Case study

  Figure 48: Projects of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature
  Conservation, Nepal

                                                               China (Tibet)

                                     Annapurna Conservation
                                     Area Project
                                                                                               Environmental research
                       Nepal                       Manaslu Conservation                         and monitoring in the
                                                   Area Project                                Annapurna Conservation
                                                                                               Area is supported by the
                                                                                                   Darwin Initiative
        Bardia                    Pokhara
        Conservation                                       Kathmandu
        Program                                            Central Zoo
                           Nepal Conservation
                           Research and Training
      National Park                      India
      Conservation Area                                                        200 km

vation concept can be replicated                 conservation initiatives on biodiversity
elsewhere in Nepal.                              and on the livelihood of local people in
        The new approach of matching             the Annapurna region. Some of this
protection priorities more closely               work will use geographic information
with human needs and aspirations is              system (GIS) technology to integrate
widely accepted as an important                  and analyse spatial data to expand the
element in protected area manage-                knowledge base on changes in the
ment strategies. However, the ques-              mountain ecosystem.
tion about whether this new approach
provides a new paradigm for protected
area management or whether it is
just another fashionable trend is still                                                     Women carrying fuelwood in the
to be answered. Current research                 Source: Siddhartha B. Bajracharya, King    Annapurna region, with Machapuchare
aims to analyse the impacts of these             Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation     rising to 6 850 m in the background.

Mountain watch

The Peruvian Andes
        ince the early 1990s three trends           region of Peru. These districts com-
        have stimulated new approaches              prise two small catchments and the             Figure 49: Soil conservation
        to natural resource management              database was designed to support               intervention for La Encañada
                                                    planning at the local watershed level.         watershed
                                                    Using a simple information flow
                                                    diagram, data layers were compiled in
                                                                                                                                  La Torre
                                                    a geographic information system (GIS)
                                                    to build a slope classification map, a
                                                    vegetation map and a soil depth map.
                                                    Data sources included national and
                                                    local thematic maps, aerial photos and
                                                    information gathered during partici-
                                                    patory planning processes. When
                                                    combined and classified with con-                    3 km

                                                    straints criteria, these data layers          Land use                       Area (ha)
                                                    generated a map indicating where              Annual cropping
                                                    measures to reduce soil erosion were              No intervention                  417
                                                                                                      Infiltration ditches             542
planning in the Andes. First, national              recommended. Interventions included
                                                                                                      Sloping terraces              3 288
governments in Latin America are                    terracing or infiltration ditches, and            Permanent cover/restricted use 450
decentralizing and allocating part of               vegetation restoration and reforestation.         Permanent cover/protection       438
the national budget to be managed by                By adding the boundaries of the local         Degraded area
                                                                                                      Rehabilitation                1 092
local mayors. Second, the information               school districts (caseríos), the infor-       Permanent ground cover
revolution is making data and images                mation could be targeted at decision-             No intervention               9 510
on the Internet available to researchers            makers within local community groups.
and project officials at a low cost. Third,         Table 19 summarizes the data in two
there is increasing opportunity to                  typical caseríos in La Encañada (La         Top left: Farmers identify their land on an
access land and weather data that had               Torre) and Asunción (Shirac).               enlarged aerial photograph.
been exclusive to the military.                             Since this first exercise was
        In a project initiated by                   completed in 1999, local NGOs have
CONDESAN (Consortium for the Sus-                   collaborated with municipal officials       Source: Hector Cisneros, CONDESAN
tainable Development of the Andean                  to expand the original databases            For further information contact: Coen
Ecoregion) and CIP (International                   and have developed maps focusing on         Bussink,, Pablo
Potato Center), secondary data were                 grazing quality, irrigation canals and      Arturo Sánchez,,
digitized and used to develop a data-               zones suitable for new crops, in            Carlos Cerdán,,
base for two districts in the Cajamarca             accordance with community needs.            Jorge Reinoso,

     Table 19: Interventions in cropland in the caseríos of La Torre and Shirac                    Figure 50: Classified slope map
                                                                                                   for Asunción watershed
     CASERÍO                            ANNUAL CROPPING AREA (HA)                                                    Slope (%)
                      Intervention   Infiltration     Sloping        Create         Create                               0–5         15 – 40
                           not         ditches       terraces     permanent       permanent                              5 – 15      > 40
                     recommended                                    ground          ground                                           Shirac
                                                                   cover with      cover for
                                                                 restricted use   protection

     La Torre             41            35             127             0             17
     (La Encañada)
     Shirac               6             39              8              0             106
                                                                                                         2 km

                                                                                                                 Case study

The Colombian Andes
                                           q support the development of a more

   n part because of its location in                                                  monitoring of different aspects of
   northern South America, Colombia        representative, effective and viable       the region’s biodiversity, emphasizing
   is exceptionally rich in biodiversity   Andean protected area system;              information for decision-making.
(one of the world’s five ‘megadiversity’   q identify conservation opportunities
countries), and the Andes is the richest   in rural landscapes;
region. Some 21 distinct ecosystem         q develop and promote management
types differ markedly in altitude, cli-    tools for biodiversity conservation;
mate and geology, tending to isolate       q expand, organize and disseminate
populations in valleys and mountain        the knowledge base on biodiversity in
tops, resulting in very high rates of      the Andes to a wide audience of
endemism.                                  stakeholders and policy-makers and
         Although the biological diver-    implement monitoring tools;
sity of the region remains incompletely    q promote intersectoral strategies to
documented, about two-thirds of the        address some root causes of bio-
area is highly affected by human           diversity loss in the Andes.
activities; some ecosystem types are
now greatly reduced in extent, and         One project component will promote
many species are at risk.                  consolidation of Colombia's national
         The Global Environment Facility   protected areas system in the Andean
(GEF) is supporting an ambitious           region, and support planning for
project, focusing on the conservation      conservation zones and management
and sustainable use of biodiversity in     in priority protected areas. A second
the Andean Region of Colombia, with        will address the conservation and
implementation over a six-year period      sustainable use of biodiversity in rural
led by the Alexander von Humboldt          landscapes, a crucial component for
Research Institute (Instituto de Inves-    an integrated strategy for the Andean
tigación de Recursos Biológicos            region. Some ecosystem types and
Alexander von Humboldt). The project       threatened species are found only in
launches Colombia's National Bio-          landscapes already modified by agri-
diversity Policy and Proposed Action       cultural practices near and around the
Plan, prepared within the framework        protected areas. The third component       Source: Juan Pablo Ruiz Soto, Natural
of the Convention on Biological            will support and expand existing           Resources Management Specialist,
Diversity, and aims to:                    efforts to improve knowledge and           LCSES-Colombia LO, GEF