Around the world mountain communities have become more and more marginalized and impoverished as mountain biodiversity and ecosystems have been depleted. This is a great loss for the world.
Mountain regions are absolutely essential in the maintenance of the global water cycle. Therefore it is in the interest of the whole global community to preserve mountain ecosystems and to support and collaborate with mountain communities. Good environmental restoration and management initiatives that strongly involve mountain communities and their traditions are key factors in realizing long-term environmental sustainable development worldwide.
It is important to note that generally it has not been the grass-root mountain communities that have caused the majority of the environmental degradation that has taken place throughout mountain regions worldwide. It has always been in the interest of these communities to protect the natural resources, which supported their livelihoods. However now that the natural resources within these regions have been so desperately depleted, these communities need to be supported to conserve and restore the crucial mountain biodiversity.
Mountain people are among the few groups of people capable of living and working in mountain regions with their extreme climates and environmental conditions. Their success with achieving this will be pivotal to global success regarding freshwater security and changing climates. From this it becomes clear that supporting mountain communities is not simply an act of charity, it is a means by which the whole global community can safeguard their own long-term interests.
The health of the global water cycle affects everyone and all ecosystems. If it is to be secured and humanity along with mass biodiversity is going to continue and evolve on Earth, we need to work together in a truly supportive and respectful manner.