The UIAA Mountain Protection Award

The UIAA Mountain Protection Award (MPA) was created in 2013. The Award serves as a crowdsourcing platform where showcased initiatives receive promotion as part of the extensive international UIAA network. Each year, one project claims the annual prize for best initiative, awarded at the UIAA General Assembly.

The Award is a fundamental part of the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission ‘s commitment to encouraging and supporting the conservation of natural resources, landscapes and diverse cultures in mountain regions. Through the MPA, the Commission specifically focuses on the promotion of positive behaviour and education in mountain tourism and recreation.

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Tourism and recreation have an important role to play for the prosperity of communities that live in mountain regions around the world. However, over the few last decades, mountain regions have seen a substantial increase in tourism activities and visitor numbers. In some areas, this fast development has resulted in the over-exploitation of natural resources, increased pollution and waste levels, land-use change and disturbance to local flora and fauna. The rich yet fragile mountain ecosystem means that managing human-induced impacts is imperative for the sustainability of these regions into the future.

Our goal is to help develop and support community-based tourism that simultaneously contributes to the conservation of ecosystems and sustainable livelihoods for local people. The UIAA mountain protection platform is an instrument to encourage knowledge exchange and support key mountain stakeholders whose activities have the same objectives.

Mountain Protection Award Winner 2016

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Interested in your project being showcased
to the UIAA’s global audience?


Who can apply?

The UIAA Mountain Protection Award platform is open to associations and travel agencies working in the mountain environment who are engaged in at least one of the following activities:

Conservation of biodiversity – including plant and animal species

Sustainable energy and resource management

Sustainable waste management and disposal

Adaptation to/mitigation of effects of climate change

Protection of the environment through culture and education

Nominees must also demonstrate engagement and collaboration with local communities to develop a culture of ecotourism initiatives which attract and inspire visitors.

To showcase a project on the MPA platform, you must first submit an application and meet our criteria for inclusion. Applying to have an initiative or project showcased in the UIAA MPA platform is free of charge.


What are the benefits?

Every approved initiative and project submitted to the UIAA MPA is showcased as part of the MPA platform. Becoming part of the UIAA’s global network creates tangible benefits for both the nominees and the Award winner in terms of raising project awareness and support.

All nominees are promoted individually through the UIAA’s social media channels while the project itself is showcased in the monthly UIAA newsletter.

Furthermore, the winning project receives as 5,000 USD financial grant, is featured in a dedicated press release and invited to the UIAA General Assembly.

The UIAA Mountain Protection Award is sponsored by:
Western University and Golden Rock Travel of Azerbaijan.


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UIAA Mountain Protection Award Project Showcase

All of the projects showcased as part of the UIAA Mountain Protection Award can be found in the five categories below.

To support the projects please click on the donate button at the foot of each project.

2016 UIAA Moutain Protection Award Projects

The diverse, global projects which competed for the 2016 UIAA Mountain Protection Award can be found below. 

Past Winners

2013 – Menz-Guassa Community Conservation Area

2014 – Pamir Horse Adventure

2015 – KTK-BELT Studio

 2016 – Mountain Wilderness, France

Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan Mountaineering Federation FAIREX
Less in More Out project

Bulgaria: Wild Rodopi
Traditional ecological knowledge of brown bear as a conservation tool in Rodopi Mountains

Cambodia: Wildlife Alliance
CHIPAT community-based project

Chile: Asociación SinHuella
Conservation of climbing sectors in “El Manzano”

France: Mountain Wilderness
Obsolete facilities and war remnants removal

Greece: Ecotourism Greece project

India: Nilgiri Documentation Center
Save Nilgiris Campaign

India: Tourism Development Society
Conservation and development initiative in Khaptad National Park

India: Waste Warriors
Waste management and cleanliness solutions for our mountains

Iran: Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation of Iran 
Protecting Environment Mountain Course

Italy: Salviamo la Piana association
Vestini Transhumance Route

Kenya: Mount Kenya Trust
Mount Kenya Horse Patrol Team

Kyrgyzstan: Central Asia Travel
“Keep Snow Clear” campaign

Mexico: Eco Alternative Tours
Copper Canyon Project

Mongolia: Stone Horse Expeditions
Wilderness Conservation Adventure

Montenegro: Eco-Tours
Ecotourism project

Netherlands: Everest Recycling Challenge
Everest Recycling Challenge project

Pakistan: High Altitude Sustainability Pakistan
“Sustain Baltoro” Clean up Expeditions

Peru: Centro Cultural de Montaña
Creando conciencia project

UK: Biosphere Expeditions
Mountain biodiversity and flagship species conservation worldwide

UK: Cordillera Project Association
Cordillera Project – Guias Locales (Local Guides) Programme

USA: The Access Fund
Chattanooga Climbing Conservation Initiative

USA: Everest Biogas Association
Mt. Everest Biogas Project

Mountain Wilderness (France),
2016 UIAA Mountain Protection Award winner

Project Partners


Western University

Western University is a private educational institution based in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan. Founded in 1991, it has become one of the leading universities in Azerbaijan. Western University has been a member of European Foundation for Management Development since 1996. It has also been a member of International Universities Association (IAU) within UNESCO since 1997, a member of Black Sea Universities Network since 1999 as well as a corporate member of International Institute of Administrative Sciences since 2001, and a member of International Tourism Association “Atlas”.


Golden Rock Travel

Golden Rock Travel is dedicated to creating and facilitating travel experiences that expand awareness and give each person a true sense of the country and culture they are visiting. Our services give our clients choice and the ability to have their needs met in just one simple call/email. We offer exciting tour packages and transfers to almost all destinations at very affordable rates. Local eco tours include tracking, mountaineering, camping, eco-cultural tourism, horseback riding, etc.

Non-Profit Partners

Mountain Institute

Since 1972 THE MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE (TMI) works with remote mountain communities to address their most critical challenges. Aimed at the preservation of mountain cultural, natural and spiritual resources, TMI focuses on three central themes: conservation of mountain ecosystems, sustainable economic development and support for unique mountain cultures.


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. The MPA approach and criteria are based on the UNEP “Mountains: A Practical Guide to Managing the Environmental and Social Impacts of Mountain Tours” (2007).

World Conservation Union

The UIAA works with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) to promote protected areas and access and conservation strategies for climbing. IUCN works to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.


Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)

A multidisciplinary scientific organisation that addresses global change issues in mountain regions around the world.

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