African Mountains Regional Forum, Edition 2014

African mountains provide indispensable goods and services for communities living in and around them, and for various downstream users.Mountains also harbor unique biodiversity, provide non-timber forest products:water, food and energy security at local, national, and regional levels.However, pressure from increasing human activities and climate change are leading to rapid montane biodiversity loss, land degradation and natural disasters, jeopardizing their ability to balance people’s needs.

A number of African countries, organizations, institutions and individuals are members of the  Mountain Forum and Mountain Partnership. In September 2012, the Arusha Declaration on Africa’s post Rio+20 Strategy for Sustainable Development by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in its 14th session made reference to mountains in Africa. AMCEN asked United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to support the implementation of the agreed decision under the Rio+20 Conference regarding mountains in Africa.

During the Africa Mountains Partnership members (AMP) meeting organized by the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) and the Mountain Partnership Secretariat at FAO, in collaboration with IUCN and UNEP in Kigali in February 2013, AMPs launched a special initiative on mountains, as African Water Towers and called for more effort in promoting mountains in development agenda. The African working group at the 4th Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership in Erzurum, Turkey decided to build on the ongoing initiatives at national and regional levels and to promote experience exchanges among African Members.

Additionally the group explored to also draw lessons and experiences from other regions. At the regional level, management of mountain ecosystems is also provided for under Chap. 19 of the Treaty establishing the East African Community (EAC). Under this treaty Partner States agreed to cooperate in the management of shared natural resources and to take concerted measures to foster cooperation in the joint and efficient management and sustainable utilization of natural resources within the Community for the mutual benefits of the Partner States. Article 9 of the EAC Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources Management puts emphasis on the need to promote the management of transboundary ecosystems in East Africa, while under article 20, Partner States agreed to protect mountain ecosystems such as critical water catchments, conservation and heritage areas and other areas of common strategic interest at local, national, regional and international levels.

In response to these needs and in the framework of thePost-2015 Development Agenda/current discussions towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ARCOS and the Africa Mountain Partnership Champions Committee in partnership with the East African Community (EAC), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as part of a global programme “Promoting Sustainable Mountain Development for Global Change-SMD4GC”are organizing the African Mountains Regional Forum 2014, with the overall objective of enhancing collaboration and framing a regional agenda for sustainable mountain development challenges in African mountains.





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