Mountainous areas are not often considered by legally binding international treaties : no international treaty is dedicated to these areas and only three general instruments mention them. That is why are collected here other legal texts that are also relevant to them.


  • Explicit reference to mountain areas

Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), 17 June 1994

This Convention does not refer to mountainous areas in general as the other two but only mentions the Transcaucasus region in its Preamble:

“Expressing concern over the impact of desertification and drought on affected countries in Central Asia and the Transcaucasus.
→ State parties & notifications

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), 5 June 1992

The CBD is a “sister” treaty of the UNFCCC as it was adopted during the same Summit in 1992. It is another major international instrument for the promotion of sustainable development and the protection of environment, especially biodiversity. Regarding how rich the biodiversity in mountainous areas is, it is no surprise that they are mentioned in article 20§7:

Consideration shall also be given to the special situation of developing countries, including those that are most environmentally vulnerable, such as (…) mountainous areas”.

However, this article does not define any obligations for the Member States as it only ask to “consider” special situations.

→ State parties

The Conference of the Parties (COP), the governing body of the CBD, adopted two important and very detailed decisions that plan a programme of work on mountain biological diversity :

- COP 7 Decision VII/27

- COP 10 Decision X/30

Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 9 May 1992

This Convention, adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, aim at stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. It is considered as a fundamental environmental instrument, all the more so as it has near-universal membership. Mountains are not the subject of a specific article, but are mentioned in the Preamble:

Recognizing further that (…) developing countries with fragile mountainous ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change”.

→ State parties