Mountainous regions — sustainable development of sensitive ecosystems

People on a mountain in the Vilcanota range, Peru.
The SDC supports mountainous regions. In Peru it is helping upland populations cope with climate change. © FOEN

Because mountains are home to one-fifth of the world's population and the source of fresh water for half of all humanity, Switzerland is committed to sustainable mountain development. The SDC works closely with Swiss and international partners in this area.

The SDC's focus

As a mountainous country, Switzerland has a great deal of experience with the advantages and disadvantages of upland regions and the challenges of sustainable (mountain) development. The SDC focuses its efforts in this area in three main areas: 

  1. Supporting initiatives and projects that promote sustainable mountain development with the aim of improving the living conditions of mountain communities
  2. Enhancing political recognition and support for mountainous regions as vulnerable ecosystems that are essential to human needs
  3. Fostering knowledge generation, dialogue and sharing of information and experience between stakeholders at all levels

In Nepal, for example, Switzerland has been helping better the living conditions of impoverished highland populations for over 50 years by supporting and improving infrastructure. Some 500 kilometres of roads and over 5,000 suspension bridges have been upgraded or built with Swiss support.

In Peru the SDC is engaged in a project to reduce the vulnerability of the Andean population to the impacts of climate change. The people here mainly subsist on small-scale agriculture, which is especially hard-hit by the effects of climate change. The SDC therefore supports effective adaptation mechanisms to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on the local population. 

Through its global mountain programme, the SDC supports major regional mountain centres in different parts of the world, particularly the Andes, Africa, Central Asia and the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. These regional knowledge centres contribute to the political dialogue on development of mountainous areas. Available knowledge is applied at these centres to develop concrete sustainable mountain development policies. 

Background

Mountains are home to one-fifth of the world's population and a source of water for half of all people. Sustainable mountain development means preserving mountain ecosystems for future generations. Mountains were recognised as vulnerable ecosystems of global importance as early as the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, where they were included in Agenda 21, the conference's outcome document. The importance of mountains was reaffirmed at the UN Rio+20 conference in 2012. 

Mountain ecosystems are extremely diverse. At the same time, they are highly sensitive to climate change, natural disasters, industrial exploitation, migration (especially upland-lowland migration) and mass tourism. These phenomena often threaten entire mountain regions, putting the livelihoods of many people at risk. Most affected are highland populations that rely directly on local water, soil, flora and fauna. But people at lower elevations also depend on the mountains. 

The retreat of glaciers due to climate change will exacerbate water scarcity in the medium and long term. The SDC's Global Programme on Climate Change sustains various scientific projects studying glacier shrinkage and its consequences in key partner regions.

Documents

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 36

IFAD: International Fund for Agricultural Development – Core Contribution

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialised agency of the United Nations mandated to enable poor rural women and men to improve their food security and nutrition, raise their incomes and strengthen their resilience. Its mandate therefore dovetails with the priorities of Switzerland's development policy.

Topic Period Budget
Environment
Agricultural production (incl. management of natural resources)
Agriculture value-chain development
Adaptation to the effects of climate change
AGRICULTURE
MULTISECTOR or CROSS-CUTTING
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Agricultural development
Rural development
Environmental policy and administrative management

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018


CHF 45'087'000



Appui aux économies locales des collectivités de Youwarou et de Niafunké (PACY) Programme de Soutien aux Economies Locales du Delta intérieur du Niger (PSEL-DELTA)

01.07.2015 - 30.06.2019

Dans les régions du delta intérieur du Niger, au centre et au Nord du Mali, les populations rurales sont confrontées à des crises structurelles multiformes dont l’insécurité alimentaire. La DDC appuie les autorités locales avec des projets économiques dans les filières agricoles porteuses pour assurer la sécurité alimentaire et réduire la pauvreté d’au moins 150'000 personnes. En plus, elle accompagne les municipalités de cette zone dans la maitrise d’ouvrage du développement territorial et la gestion pacifique des ressources naturelles.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mali
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Agriculture and Food Security
Agriculture value-chain development
Decentralisation - local governance - democratization (incl. accountability)
Adaptation to the effects of climate change
MULTISECTOR or CROSS-CUTTING
GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Rural development
Decentralisation and support to subnational government (incl. accountability)
Environmental policy and administrative management

01.07.2015 - 30.06.2019


CHF 9'445'000



Exchanging knowledge and experience to protect Andean forest ecosystems

Part of the Andean forest covered in mist.

01.11.2011 - 31.12.2019

The forests of the Andes are valuable in a variety of ways: they store and purify water, provide protection against natural hazards, and absorb environmentally harmful greenhouse gases. With the ANFOR project, the SDC is contributing to the long-term protection of Andean forests.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Andean Region
Environment
Adaptation to the effects of climate change
Forestry
Adaptation to the effects of climate change
Mitigation of the effects of climate change
Biodiversity
Mitigation of the effects of climate change
FORESTRY
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Forestry development
Environmental policy and administrative management
Environmental policy and administrative management
Biosphere protection
Biosphere protection
Bio-diversity

01.11.2011 - 31.12.2019


CHF 8'072'000





Programme d’appui à la valorisation des produits forestiers non ligneux, phase 2 (PFNL2)

15.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

Au Burkina Faso, les produits forestiers non ligneux[1] (PFNL) constituent une importante source alimentaire pour les populations des zones affectées par les chocs climatiques et déficitaires sur le plan alimentaire. Les PFNL font partie de l’alimentation de plus de 43,4% des ménages ruraux et procurent de l’emploi et des revenus. Le programme  contribue à l’accroissement de la sécurité alimentaire, nutritionnelle et des revenus des ménages ruraux et périurbains[2] par la valorisation et la gestion durable des PFNL.



[1] Les PFNL s’entendent par « tout bien d’origine biologique autre que le bois et la faune à l’exception des insectes, dérivé des forêts et des arbres hors forêts, constitués de végétaux spontanés, domestiqués, et ceux destinés au reboisement ». (Source FAO)

[2] Le périurbain est un espace rural au sens où l’essentiel des sols est attribué à des activités agricoles; mais c’est aussi un espace urbain au sens où la majorité de la population active qui y habite travaille dans une ville, en effectuant des migrations alternantes. Le milieu périurbain connait une très forte compétition entre usage agricole et non agricole des ressources: terres, main-d'œuvre, etc. La production agricole est orientée principalement pour le marché du centre urbain.

 


BASAL – Proyecto Bases Ambientales para la Sostenibilidad Alimentaria Local.

01.11.2016 - 30.06.2020

BASAL contributes to the reduction of the vulnerabilities of the agricultural sector to climate change in Cuba. Its contributions concentrate on the identification, development and application, of measures and tools to promote the adaptation of the Cuban agriculture to the effects of climate change. The project also increases institutional and individual capacities to use the tools and methodologies, put at the disposal of the authorities and the Cuban institutions for the implementation of effective politics that contribute to a sustainable food production in a context of changing climate.


UNDP - Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance in Tajikistan (SDRGT)

01.08.2016 - 31.07.2019

Due to frequent occurrence of natural disasters the Government has endorsed number of laws and regulations, and developed relevant structure for DRM. However, the disaster risk governance requires further improvement. The project will assist the Government to expand approaches to risk governance at the national level involving the Government, civil society and the international community and improving local risk governance using risk assessments and risk informed land use planning targeting land owners and users.


FOCUS: Remote Geo-Hazards Capacity Building and Monitoring. Creating Opportunities in a Safe Environment (COSE): Integrating Risk Management

01.08.2016 - 31.07.2019

The high mountainous area of the Pamirs are highly prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, avalanches, draughts, glacial lakes outbursts and other earth mass movements. The project will strengthen the communities' and government’s capacity to analyze and manage risks and effectively employ natural resources in a coordinated manner to contribute to increased protection against natural hazards, reducing populations’ vulnerability to natural shocks and to increase their overall resilience.


Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

The sensitivity of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) to changes in global climate has been recognised and given priority by the Government of India. However, knowledge and scientific information on climate change impacts on the IHR is still limited and capacities to adapt are weak. The Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) aims at bridging the knowledge gap on climate change impacts and response measures by supporting collaborative research, capacity building and knowledge exchange and dissemination.


Community Driven Watershed Management for Climate Change Adaptation in Nicaragua

01.01.2016 - 30.06.2020

Environmental degradation and climate change are reducing the capacity of the Dipilto River watershed to provide ecosystem services (water, forest) to the population, increasing their vulnerability and deepening poverty. The program will strengthen dialogue among stakeholders, empower communities and provide economic incentives for restoring the hydrologic and environmental equilibrium of the watershed, increasing the resilience of its 27 thousand inhabitants.


CLIMANDES 2 - Servicios Climáticos con Énfasis en los Andes en Apoyo a las Decisiones

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018

An indispensable cornerstone for achieving effective adaptation and reducing the impacts of climate variability is the availability of efficient and reliable climate services. On the basis of the achievements to date, the second phase of CLIMANDES will continue contributing to the development of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) in the Andean region. Improved climate services will support climate-smart decisions in the key economic agricultural sector, from which the poorest segments of the population and societies at large will be able to benefit.

Object 1 – 12 of 36