International Mountain Day Celebration

UVU proudly contributes to the International Mountain Day Celebration

Covering 24 percent of the world’s surface and have to 12 percent of the world’s population in 120 countries, mountains play a significant role in moving the world toward a sustainable economic growth. Mountains are not only an important source of energy, forest products and agricultural products, but they are also major ecosystems which are essential to the survival of the global ecosystem. Moreover, mountains are a great source of minerals. As stated by Jake Norton, mountaineer and owner of the MountainWorld Production and panelist at the 2014 International Mountain Day Celebration held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, “if there is magic in the world it is in water”. There is no doubt that water from mountains is essential for our survival.

Utah Valley University once again showed how dedicated it is to the advocacy of the sustainable way of living in mountain communities by participating to the December 12, 2014 International Mountain Day conference in New York at the UN headquarters. Accompanied with a UVU student, Marie Essiko Poudiougou, Dr. Rusty Butler proudly represented the University at the conference. He demonstrated how important mountains and the mountain communities are to UVU and its students.

This year International Mountain Day focused on mountain farm as a tribute to the international year of family farming. The event highlighted the opportunities mountains provide to local development, and how farming can help respond to the challenges faced by mountain communities. The event explored how mountain environments can be sustained in a post-2015 world and how they can contribute to implementing the future Sustainable Development Goals.

The conference was chaired by the permanent Representative of Argentina, Her Excellency María Cristina Perceval. Among the speakers at the event was, His Excellency Pio Wennubst Assistant Director-General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Mr. Wennubst addressed the topic of “Linking mountain life to a sustainable future.” His Excellency Luca Maestripieri, Vice-Director General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed the topic of “Sustaining Mountains in the future we want.” Ms. Rosalaura Romeo, Mountain Partnership Secretariat, discussed “Mountain farming’s contribution to sustainable environments and food production.” Mr. Jake Norton, Mountaineer, Owner of MountainWorld Productions and founder of Challenge21 discussed “Sustaining mountain environments and watersheds.” Last, but not the least, Dr. Rusty Butler Associate Vice President at Utah Valley University presented the topic of “Mountain and the post-2015 agenda.” Dr. Butler recognized the effort, interest, and leadership that UVU students are taking specifically on sustainable mountain development as members of Mountain Partnership. UVU students have been advocating for the mountain communities for several years through their state-wide essay contest and organization of clubs such as the Utah International Mountain Forum. engage and create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development.

Mountains matter; therefore, issues faced by the mountain communities should not be neglected. Environmental degradation, deforestation, climate change, do not have an impact on only mountainous areas but everywhere around the globe. As mentioned by Mr. Wennubst in his remarks, "mountains are reminders that nature has rules that cannot be overruled." Mountains remind us of poverty at the same they remind us of opportunities, economy, and tourism and teach us how to move forward. Actions needs to be taken to assume the development of mountains in the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Agenda.

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AVP- Rusty Butler addressing the  United Nations Representatives.

AVP- Rusty Butler addressing the  United Nations Representatives. 

Marie Poudiougou with Panelists Ms. Rosalaura Romeo, Mr. Jake Norton & Mrs. Norton after the conference

Marie Poudiougou with Panelists Ms. Rosalaura Romeo, Mr. Jake Norton & Mrs. Norton after the conference