Disaster risk management


Mountains are hazardous places.
Many mountain communities live under the threat of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions caused by shifting tectonic plates.
Gravity pushing down on sloping land compounds the destructive power of storms and heavy rains, producing avalanches, landslides and floods. Population growth, climate change and unsustainable natural resource management practices are putting dangerous pressure on the mountain ecosystems and making mountain communities increasingly vulnerable to disasters.

Women, children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to disasters. And in many mountain areas, it is these members of the community that are looking after mountain homesteads, as the men move to lowland cities or abroad to earn a better income and support their family through remittances.

Forces from outside mountain communities, such as commercial logging interests and market-driven agricultural production, also put pressure on mountain ecosystems. All of this can lead to deforestation and environmental degradation. The loss of forest cover deprives mountain communities of a protective barrier against landslides and avalanches and further contributes to increased soil erosion and water run off.

To reduce the risks of disasters in mountain areas it is urgent to increase awareness and to develop integrated strategies and policies on disaster risk management at the national level. Policy-makers involved with disaster risk management cannot afford to neglect mountains, considering the high number of natural hazards in mountain areas and the high vulnerability of mountain communities. 

Group for sustainable Himalayan development

Group for sustainable Himalayan development

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In a bid to mobilize support and commitment to regional cooperation for sustainable mountain development, the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) Partnership for Sustainable Mountain Development was endorsed by ministers and high-level government representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan and...

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MountaiNow - an app for mountain safety

MountaiNow - an app for mountain safety

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Why an app for safety in the mountains? In Italy in 2015 alone there were more than 450 deaths and more than 7 000 accidents in the mountains, as reported by alpine rescue data. Very often the causes are poor excursion preparation and little or no prior knowledge of the...

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MPS Coordinator urges action on mountains

MPS Coordinator urges action on mountains

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A paradigm shift is needed in recognition of the global importance of mountains and the ecosystem services they provide, Thomas Hofer, Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) Coordinator told United Nations Radio in May 2016 ahead of a meeting with diplomats about hunger in the mountains. “There is a mismatch. There is...

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Critical transitions a year after Nepal quake

Critical transitions a year after Nepal quake

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Standing in the midst of the eerie silence surrounded by debris in Thulo Haku, a village in the upper belt of Rasuwa district in central Nepal, one could have easily imagined that the devastating earthquake had hit just a week or two ago, and not close to a year earlier....

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Submissions for UN report on mountains

Submissions for UN report on mountains

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The Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) is currently compiling summaries of the most important results of mountain development activities since July 2013 for the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Report on Sustainable Mountain Development.

Now requested every three years, the MPS and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations,...

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Mountain Research and Development issue online

Mountain Research and Development issue online

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When exploring pathways for sustainable development, knowledge about context matters just as much as our understanding of global processes. Papers in Open Issue (Vol 36, No 1) of Mountain Research and Development (MRD) carefully examine the changing social-ecological context and the global factors influencing it. Papers offer insights...

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