Climate Change



To ensure that people remain able to make a living in all remote mountain areas, we need regional collaborations and networks to share experiences and exchange know-how. I congratulate UNEP for leading on these efforts

Andrä Rupprechter

Federal Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria, December 2015.

A regional approach to mountain adaptation

Mountain ecosystems enrich the lives of over half of the world’s population as a source of water, energy, agriculture and other essential goods and services. Yet they are also among the regions most vulnerable to climate change and are often on the edge of decision-making, partly due to their isolation, inaccessibility and relative poverty.

Launched at the Paris COP21 climate talks, UNEP’s Mountain Outlook studies show for the first time how a regional and ecosystem-based approach to climate change can work for both the environment and people – including those living further downstream.

The reports cover the Western Balkans, South Caucasus, Tropical Andes, Central Asian and East African mountain ranges, with future ones planned for the Carpathians and the Hindu Kush Himalayas. They show how policy gaps can be bridged to ensure climate adaptation works for people and the environment.

In the South Caucasus for example, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are already shown to be exposed to steadily increasing annual temperatures and decreasing precipitation. The Outlook provides recommendations on how to address gaps in planning, technology and finance, while examples of how coordination among governments and stakeholders could take place are laid out.

Over the last thirty years, farmers in the Andes have meanwhile had to plant potatoes 150 metres higher up field, due to rising temperatures. In response, recommendations to governments in the region include building on the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples’ and strengthening the role of women, given that they play a greater role than men in the management of natural resources.

At the launch of the Outlooks, ministers and high level officials from countries including Austria, Bhutan, Peru, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan and other countries declared their intention to ensure mountains and climate change adaptation become a priority issue at inter-regional, regional and national levels.

Countries also committed to make better use of existing technical assistance mechanisms such as the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and financial ones such as the Green Climate Fund and support greater knowledge-sharing.

The Outlooks are produced by UNEP and GRID-Arendal together with mountain centres of excellence. To read them please click here:

Western Balkan mountains:

South Caucasus mountains:

Tropical Andes mountains:

Central Asian mountains:

Sustainable mountain development in East Africa in a changing climate: