2015 UIAA Mountain Protection Award nominations

Harnessing the power of the sun in the Pamirs (Photo: http://www.leworld.org)

They are initiatives and projects involving the preservation of biodiversity, waste, renewable energy in countries as diverse as Bhutan, Azerbaijan, Ireland, Peru, Tajikistan, Malaysia and Argentina.

What connects them is they involve innovative efforts by associations and travel companies to practice sustainable and responsible adventure tourism, so that those who explore the mountains around the world leave a light footprint behind them.

All nine projects are eligible for the third annual 2015 UIAA Mountain Protection Award, which carries a US$5,000 cash prize due to the generous support of Western University and Golden Rock Travel.

UIAA Project Officer Valérie Thöni said they were chosen because they focus on the development of economic sustainability, capacity building among locals, while at the same time tackling big challenges such as climate change, deforestation and desertification in the fragile mountain environment.

Two of the initiatives, one in Bhutan involving an attempt to limit the waste due to cordyceps’ collection, a very popular fungi used in traditional medicine, and another project in Malaysia, which involves rebuilding after a devastating earthquake are fundraising projects.

The Argentinian project is about data collection which can help mitigate the effects of desertification in the remote and scenic Paso Grande mountain forests of the province of San Luis.

“The critical point about all these projects,” said Thöni, “which the UIAA – International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation wants to promote with the Award is to raise awareness about the consequences of human impact in these fragile mountain ecosystems.”

“These initiatives and projects are about allowing local communities to live in these areas in an environmentally sustainable and economically viable way,” said Thöni.

Winners are chosen every October by the Assessment and Award Team, which coordinates the review and approval/denial of applications of mountain protection initiatives.

The Team is composed of internationally recognized experts who are specialists and academics in environment/mountain protection issues, as well as expert members from the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission.

Please click here for a full-list of projects nominated for the 2015 UIAA Mountain Protection Award.

For more information please contact Valérie Thöni