Mountain people in the world
Mountain territories represent 35% of the surface of continents (120 countries) and 15% of the world’s population (or almost a billion people).
The development of mountains is therefore a major challenge for the planet, particularly as these territories have a primary strategic role in many areas:
- at the identity and cultural levels: handing down of traditions, knowledge, know-how, incomparable knowledge of the natural environment and its equilibrium, social organisation based on the values of effort and solidarity,
- at the environmental level: principal supplier and reservoir of soft water, the largest reserve of biological diversity after the oceans, essential role, particularly as regards the forests, in the carbon cycle, support and management of space and countryside,
- at the economic level: high quality and high specificity agro-alimentary produce, ores, hydroelectricity, small-scale produce, ecotourism, etc.
Around the world, mountains are under threat from several mortal dangers: ageing populations, migration, exodus and packing into inhumane and poverty-stricken peri-urban zones, rapid destruction of societies or communities, increasingly intensive use of natural resources, search for costly solutions to trading competition which these territories cannot support, recourse to dangerous production, etc.
This development entails more and more conflicts for the appropriation of resources or territories, for the control of production, for the preservation of identities and autonomies, for access to the same fundamental rights, etc.
Finally, because mountain territories are often border zones between states, they are often the scene of many wars or guerrilla warfare. Thus, 80% of the world’s conflicts are played out in mountain regions.
In order to preserve these global public goods, to retain populations on these territories, where their presence is indispensable, and to avoid them coming to cram into the megapolises, national and international officials should be persuaded of the need to create and implement appropriate policies and programmes.
This message will be even more widely heard when the mountain populations are organised and conscious of their role.
We invite you to support the action of the WMPA through your membership either individually or as a group, organisation or enterprise, or within the framework of a partnership to be determined together.
How was the WMPA born?
The WMPA was born out of the World Mountain Forum held at UNESCO (Paris) and in Chambéry (Savoie – Alps) in June 2000 on the initiative of the National Association of Elected Officials of the Mountains (ANEM) and the town of Chambéry. As a result of the Forum, which brought together 70 countries and 900 participants, it was decided to create the World Mountain People Association to make the voice of the mountain people and the expression of their desires heard.
Who are we?
Today, the WMPA is present in more than 70 countries, on four continents. It is organised into regional or national organisations, according to the major mountain regions of the world: Europe, Andean America, Central and Eastern Africa, Central Asia, Himalayas and South-East Asia.
So that it can better represent all the lifeblood of the mountains, the WMPA is made up of three bodies:
- 1st body: elected officials, representatives of groups or communities, and other forms of local institutions in the mountain countries
- 2nd body: NGOs, associations arising from civil society, socio-professional groups, small-scale or industrial enterprises, etc.
- 3rd body: qualified persons (scientists, researchers or experts working alongside mountain populations) and any other person who wants to be involved in the mountains on an individual basis.
The Executive Board is made up of officials and representatives of the continents. It is responsible for co-ordinating the action carried out in the field and that managed by the working groups at international level. It defines and implements WMPA strategies and ensures its network becomes established.
The administrative team, based in Paris , is made up of a Director General who is assisted by a small team.