On the occasion of World Environment Day (June 5), the UIAA is highlighting its commitment by announcing plans for a Mountain Protection label.
The UIAA wants to make it easier for mountaineers to minimize their impact on the environment. For this reason the international federation plans to launch a certification scheme. It foresees a label being awarded to tour operators and mountain recreation organizations which commit themselves to acting according to high mountain protection standards.
As the basis for certification, the UIAA intends to use the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) guidelines “Mountains and Tourism A Practical Guide to Managing the Environmental and Social Impacts of Mountain Tours” and the accompanying Check List.
“Because they harbor so much of the world’s biodiversity, mountain regions are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of tourism, climate change, and global warming,” says Linda McMillan, UIAA Mountain Protection Commission president and Deputy Vice-Chairman, IUCN-WCPA Mountains Biome. “The Mountain Protection Label is designed to be an easy to use high-value tool that enables tour operators and their clients to minimize impacts on our precious mountain landscapes.”
President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, and founder of the tour operator, Asian Trekking, Ang Tshering Sherpa is also enthusiastic about the plan: “The Mountain Protection Label is a very exciting idea. Currently, we are investing a lot of time communicating with potential clients to convince them of our commitment to social, cultural and environmental protection. This Label will provide operators like us a convenient and trusted way to prove of our strong commitment to mountain protection ethics.”
According to the proposals under discussion in the UIAA, certified companies and organisations will be empowered to vote on the statutes and governance of the new label, receive invitations to Mountain Protection member events worldwide such as the forthcoming meeting on waste management organised by the American Alpine Club. There will also be occasions to come together with UIAA scientific partners and other label holders to discuss protection issues and research.
World Environment Day, first held in 1972, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.
This year’s theme is “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.” According to UNEP, “it echoes the urgent call to conserve the diversity of life on our planet. A world without biodiversity is a very bleak prospect. Millions of people and millions of species all share the same planet.”