Explicit reference to mountain areas
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, which is why other legal texts relevant to them are collected here.
- 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”.
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 the environment, especially biodiversity. Given 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 asks them to “consider” special situations.
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 :
This Convention, adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, aims at stabilising 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”.
No explicit reference to mountain areas
→ International Plan Protection Convention, 6 December 1957
→ Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, 11 December 1997
→ Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, 13 November 1979
→ Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 22 March 1985
→ Montreal Protocol on Substance that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 16 September 1987