UN agency announces plan for sustainable development of fragile mountain areas
With 720 million people living in mountain regions covering more than a fifth of the world's land surface, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today announced a major international initiative to promote sustainable agriculture and rural development in these ecologically fragile areas.
“This project provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders around the world to identify common priorities and develop joint initiatives to achieve sustainable development,” FAO said of the four-year plan to be presented at a meeting in Rome on Friday. “It represents an excellent opportunity for northern and southern countries to tackle the challenges of sustainable livelihoods in mountain regions.”
Mountains cover 22 per cent of the world's land surface and provide a home for 12 per cent of the world's population. Of these 720 million people 271 million, mostly rural, are vulnerable to food insecurity, and around 135 million of them are chronically hungry.
High levels of malnutrition and hunger have much to do with the inaccessibility, complexity and fragility of mountain environments, and the extent to which mountain people are often marginalized.
The project, formulated with the support of Switzerland and the participation of governments, non-governmental and other international organizations, follows an international conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Mountain Regions held in Adelboden, Switzerland, in 2002.