Studying sustainable development of mountain ecosystems Enhancing scientific research on mountain ecosystems Strengthening technology exchange related to highland ecology
The fundamental characteristic of mountain ecosystems throughout the world, is its extreme internal variability and complexity, with a multiplicity of highly localized microecosystems, providing the habitats for many unique crop varieties, range pastures and animal species. This diversity of genetic resources, now threatened by a combination of pressures, is clearly one of the key factors in the long term sustainability of mountain agriculture on marginal lands, often situated in the most difficult and intractable environments.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends generating and strengthening knowledge about the ecology and sustainable development of mountain ecosystems. It also recommends encouraging regional, national and international networking of people's initiatives and the activities of international, regional and local non-governmental organizations working, for example, on mountain development, such as the UN University (UNU), the Woodland Mountain Institutes (WMI), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the International Mountain Society (IMS), the African Mountain Association and the Andean Mountain Association, besides supporting those organizations in exchange of information and experience.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.