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International Mountain Organizations + Initiatives + People

Table of Contents

This Report notes that there are many dedicated organizations, initiatives and people around the world doing needed long-term good work to address a complexity of mountain area ecosystems issues, understandings and crises interventions.  Mountain researchers, educators and communities have been using telecommunications networking since inception, and are now working at the forefront of integrating networked applications in order to learn, model and cooperatively make decisions needed to achieve the SDGs.  The use of networking tools is now a major part of strategic paths forward for all of these organizations, and so many more not listed here.  Attempting to address the ever greater urgency of our tasks, this Report makes clear that a next phase network of networks initiative must be a key cooperative task on our path to achieving 2030 SDGs.

Mountain Research Initiative

Bern, Switzerland

The MRI is a partner of Future Earth and the Belmont Forum, and a participating organization of the Group on Earth Observations. It is also a member of the Mountain Partnership and the International Mountain Society (IMS).  The MRI is hosted by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern, and funded by the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT).

Exec. Director of MRI, Dr. Carolina Adler, Mountain Partnership Steering Committee Board Member     Mountain Media editor.

MountainMedia co-editor, Gabrielle Vance, Scientific Project Officer at the MRI.

Prof. Jörg Balsiger, Chair Mountain Research Initiative

Jörg Balsiger is Associate Professor at the Department of Geography and Environment and the Institute of Environmental Sciences of the University of Geneva, where he is also the Director of the  Institute for Environmental Governance and Territorial Development.  He plays an active role in national and international mountain initiatives.

Find An Expert

The MRI Expert Database comprises thousands of people involved in mountain research, management, governmental and non-governmental institutions, and the private sector.   Search

the newly upgraded MRI Expert Database to make connections for our changing mountains with colleagues all around the world.

Adaptation at Altitude

Adaptation at Altitude is a newly-formed collaborative program that aims to boost the resilience and adaptation of mountain communities in the face of climate change.

The first phase of program runs from 2020 to 2023. 

The activities envisioned in the Adaptation at Altitude program aim to develop and improve the following four key areas:

  • Data, information and monitoring (MRI’s Flagship activity GEO Mountains will play a fundamental role in improving the access and use of mountain observation data and information services)
  • Regional science-policy exchange and collaborative action
  • Knowledge generation and sharing
  • Policy mainstreaming

Advancements in these critical spheres will lead to improved knowledge on climate change adaptation strategies, which can then be transferred and applied to science-policy platforms and decision-making at both local and global levels.   


Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal Launches

The Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal allows users to access and explore comprehensive knowledge on tried and tested climate change adaptation solutions for mountain regions.  The portal contains short and detailed ‘solutions’, providing in-depth information, including on main and co-beneficiaries, outcomes, planning and implementation, finance, innovation, evaluation, sustainability, capacities for design and implementation, barriers, and scalability. All solutions include useful documents and links for further information.  Solutions will continue to be added to the database over time. 

The Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal has been developed as part of the Adaptation at Altitude program funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Contact Julia Barrott, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI):

GEO Mountains

The Group on Earth Observations Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments.  GEO Mountains aims to bring together research institutions and mountain observation networks to enhance the discoverability, accessibility, and usability of a wide range of relevant data and information pertaining to environmental and socio-economic systems – both in situ and remotely sensed – across global mountain regions. In doing so, we hope to improve access to such data for the scientific research community, decision makers at local, national, and regional levels, and other interested parties.

Our four more specific objectives are:

  • To identify and satisfy the data and information needs of a diverse range stakeholders operating in the mountain sphere
  • To improve monitoring and scientific understanding of mountain processes and phenomena, especially under change
  • To build, connect, and communicate with the community of mountain researchers, practitioners, and policy makers
  • To develop collective reporting capacity that responds to pre-identified assessment and policy needs

Three alternative mountain delineations currently shown in Global Mountain Explorer will be made accessible via the GEO GEOSS portal (specifically the GEO Mountains GEOSS Community Portal, which is currently in Beta)

Call for Input: Global Network for Geoscience and Society

Published: 15 June 2021

Dr. Carolina Adler, GEO Mountains Co-Lead, Mountain Research Initiative

Dr. Elisa Palazzi, GEO Mountains Co-Lead, Institute of Atmospheric Sciences & Climate, CNR

Dr. James Thornton, Scientific Project Officer, Mountain Research Initiative

GEO Mountains, C/O Mountain Research Initiative, Bern, Switzerland

Global Network of Mountain Observatories

The Global Network of Mountain Observatories (GNOMO) was established in 2015, and has since been incorporated as part of a core activity of the MRI Mountain Observatories Working Group. The Working Group activity is a crowd-sourced, bottom-up effort by the MRI community to identify and provide information about observatories and observation capacities in mountain regions, and contribute these results to the development of GEO-GNOME.  A long-term objective is to support the development of comparable data on mountain social-ecological systems – from climate and hydrology to ecology and human use and governance, as part of GEO-GNOME.

Mountain Research and Development

International Mountain Society, MRD Editorial Office, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Susanne Wymann, 

Prof. Martin Price, (retired) Dir., Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, Perth, UK 

(UNESCO”s Man and the Biosphere Program)  Former editor, MountainMedia. 

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Mountainous regions – sustainable development and adapting to climate change

Mountains are home to one-fifth of the world’s population and the source of fresh water for half of all humanity. Mountainous regions are especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Switzerland is committed to the sustainable development of mountainous regions with an eye on climate change. To this end, the SDC works closely with Swiss and international partners:

Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA)

U. of Bern Mountain Portal

Dr. Thomas Kohler, Retired/former Assoc. Sr. Research Scientist,   Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), U. of Bern, International Partnership for Sustainable Development of Mountain Regions.

Swiss National Science Foundation Project Funding

With its project funding scheme, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) enables researchers to independently conduct research projects with topics and goals of their own choice.

Submission dates: 1 April and 1 October.

SPIRIT – Swiss Programme for International Research by Scientific Investigation Teams

The Swiss Programme for International Research by Scientific Investigation Teams promotes team-oriented cross-border research.   Pre-proposals are welcome year-round.

Swiss Foundation for Sustainable Development

Swiss Foundation for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions, Eric Nanchen, Dir. (media/arts/kids/…)


CIPRA: people and organizations dedicated to life in the Alps.

CIPRA International (International Commission for the Protection of the Alps) works together with partners from all alpine countries (Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, France, Liechtenstein), so networking is an important part of our work.   Newsletter: alpMedia.

CIPRA Network

CIPRA Re-Imagine Alps Maps,8.211178

Barbara Wülser, Co-Director and Communications Director,

Michael Gams, Communication Executive, CIPRA International,

Sustainable Mountain Development for Global Change (SMD4GC)

The objective of SMD4GC is to contribute to sustainable development in mountain regions

and to increase the resilience of vulnerable mountain people who are increasingly exposed

to the impacts of global change. The programme works through partner organizations in

the Andes, Africa, the Hindu Kush Himalaya, Central Asia, and Switzerland. Funded by the

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the program was initiated in 2014 and draws on Switzerland’s long tradition of supporting sustainable development in mountains

The Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities (AGOCA)

The Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities (AGOCA) was established in 2003 with the aim of supporting ‘bottom-up’ involvement of populations and a better representation of village matters at the national and regional levels. At present, 20 mountain communities from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are members.

Instituto de Montana  (former Mountain Institute Andean Program)

Jorge Recharte, Dir. of the Andean Program.   He is an anthropologist, with PhD from Cornell University and graduate from U. Católica del Perú.  Since 1997 he has led the development of programs for the conservation of mountain ecosystems and cultural affirmation in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador with the Mountain Institute’s Ecosystem-based Adaptation measures in the Peruvian Andes.

Angel Mendoza Granados Research Assistant in mountain socio-ecosystems . Environmental Engineer with scientific articles published in magazines of Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems-INAIGEM, and Aporte Santiaguino-UNASAM. Geographical Information Systems Specialist (ArcGis, QGis, ArcGis Online, Global Mapper). Remote Sensing and Image Processing Specialist (Erdas, Envi, R) Specialist in developing and collecting data offline with Survey123, ODK and KoboToolbox.

Paloma Rodríguez Miglio Communicator . Bachelor of Communication with a specialty in Development from the University of Lima. With knowledge in digital community management, Knowledge Management (GoC) and event organization. Has been working since 2018 at the Mountain Institute as the communications manager for the Escalando la AbE Montaña and Punas Agua IV projects.

Tania Morena-Ramos and Eduard Muller 

At the University of International Cooperation, particularly active in Latin America and with biosphere reserves; e.g.

Canadian Mountain Network

Canadian Mountain Network, U. of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada    

Strategic Plan, April 2019 – March 2022

They plan to be a North American partner on the 2022 MP Summit.

Executive Director, Dr. Monique Dubé

Co-Research Director – Norma Kassi,   

Interim Co-Research Dir. – Dr. Murray Humphries,

Strategic Advisor – Matthew Berry,  

Nicole Olivier, Programs Manager,

Initialization of ALCES Online for the Yukon

ALCES Online is a decision-support tool for cumulative effects assessment. The tool facilitates spatial scenario analysis through a web-based GIS, indicator calculator, landscape and population simulators, and visualization tools. ALCES Online has been used across Canada and globally to assess risks associated with land use and climate change and to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation strategies. Canadian jurisdictions for which ALCES Online has been initialized include Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Manitoba and Ontario.

Funded by the Government of Yukon and coordinated by the Canadian Mountain Network, this project focuses on the development of a version of ALCES Online for the Territory.

For more information, contact: Matt Carlson, Ecologist, ALCES at

Mountain Research Institute

Koforidua, Ghana

ARCOS Network, Africa

The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) was founded in 1995 with the mission “To enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources through the promotion of collaborative conservation action for nature and people”. ARCOS is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee in the UK and has offices in Kampala (Uganda) and Kigali (Rwanda).

Board + Staff: 


The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is an intergovernmental knowledge and learning centre working on behalf of the people of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).  Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, ICIMOD works in and for our eight regional member countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Regional Database System

A one-stop data portal for the Hindu Kush Himalaya  

  • RDS Portal
  • Data Explorer

Mountain Environment Regional Information System

The synergistic convergence of geospatial technologies with mainstream information technology in the past few years has resulted in many applications influencing the lives of common people.

  • Climate Services
  • Regional Database System

Geospatial Solutions

The geospatial solutions theme leverages state-of-the-art technologies for remote sensing and Earth observation to solve the critical issues in the HKH.

The geospatial solutions theme has developed innovative methods for research work including:

  • Forest vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning
  • Mobile-based data collection
  • Landscape planning for resettlements using Geoplanner
  • Agent-based modelling for forest resource management
  • Participatory 3D modelling for community engagement and
  • Multi-scale flood risk mapping

The ICIMOD Network connects people, policy, and science through a robust system of partnerships, researchers, intergovernmental officials, and community members. The network spans across countries, across cultures, and across disciplines.

  • Himalayan University Consortium: (HUC) is a collaborative network of universities and academic institutions from the HKH and outside of it working on strengthening research and scholarship on issues from and relevant to the region.
  • Koshi Disaster Risk Reduction Knowledge Hub: (KDKH) is a platform led and driven by its members to foster transboundary collaboration on disaster risk reduction and explore the interlinkages between science, policy, and practice.
  • Upper Indus Basin Network: (UIBN) enables the crucial exchange of knowledge generated in the upper Indus Basin through meetings and conferences, as well as the Indus Basin Knowledge Forum where stakeholders from government, civil society, academia, private sector, international organizations, and donor agencies come together.
  • Private sector partnerships

Mountain GeoPortal

Innovative and integrated geo-based solutions to support informed decision-making for mountain development policies and practices.   

  • The Mountain GeoPortal is a gateway to geo-information resources of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region and aims to facilitate the sharing, integration and use of geographic information across a broad use-base. It provides access to science applications and datasets developed in the context of HKH region. It also disseminates information on various issues through interactive story maps.


ICIMOD’s central document repository and online digital library, HimalDoc is a one-stop portal for publications, journal articles, reports, theses, photos, multimedia and other information resources related to the Hindu Kush Himalaya.


CONDESAN is a civil society organization committed to the conservation of the high altitude ecosystems of the Andean region. The mission is to help Andean rural populations, national governments and regional organizations to make the best decisions regarding conservation and development. We encourage the use of the most current knowledge about the environment and Andean societies, we promote policy dialogue at different levels and we strengthen human capital to have new leaders in sustainable development.  María Argüello – Executive Director.

Networking is an institutional hallmark of CONDESAN’s work and one of the greatest strengths within its areas of Socio-Environmental Research and Monitoring, and Political Dialogue.

Ana Carolina Benítez, Manager of Information and Communication at CONDESAN

Monitoring Network of the Impact of Climate Change on the Biodiversity of High-Andean Ecosystems (GLORIA Andes)

The main objective of the GLORIA Andes Network is to study in a comparative way the impacts of climate change on the biodiversity of the high mountains of the Andean region, through long-term observation

Andean Forest Network

Created in 2012, to generate scientific knowledge about the ecology of these forests, based on:

  • The exchange, systematization and synthesis of information
  • Strengthening capacities for research,
  • Collaborative work between members
  • The articulation of decision-making processes in the Andean region.

The Andean Forest Network brings together scientists from Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States and Peru. It also has representatives from the Ministries of the Environment and National Climate Change Programs of Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Conéctate A +

A network of researchers and institutions interested in deepening the interdisciplinary, rigorous and comparative analysis of most urgent problems related to ecosystems, climate change, health and sustainable development in the region of the Tropical Andes and Central America (Andes +).

Regional Initiative for Hydrological Monitoring of Andean Ecosystems (iMHEA)

This research network was born in 2010.  Currently the Fund for Water Protection (FONAG) performs the regional coordination of the iMHEA.    

Biodiversity Maps + Mapping


Collective project building transnational network of mountain women

27.01.2021.   News and photo by the Feminist Hiking Collective

A group of mountain women from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania and the United Kingdom are gathering to climb the Aconcagua mountain in Argentina. The “Mountain Women of the World” project aims to build a transnational network of mountain women and to organize its first expedition to the Aconcagua mountain from December 2021 to January 2022. The project’s goal is to build mountain women’s collective feminist leadership and to narrate a collective mountaineering story, strengthening economic equality for mountain women and foregrounding the collective knowledge and experience of mountain women in protecting mountains and nature.

Mountain Women of the World is a collaboration by Mujeres a la Cumbre from Argentina and Chile, Feminist Hiking Collective from Europe, and Empowering Women of Nepal from Nepal, with the groups Women Who Hike from Kenya, Kilimanjaro Women from Tanzania, and Cholitas Escaladoras from Bolivia.  The support network of mountain women created before and following the expedition will serve as a tool to support and connect mountain women and facilitate cultural exchange; sharing skills, knowledge and learning; strengthening resilience; creating new collaborative work opportunities and shared projects; promoting economic equality.

The Consortium for Integrated Climate Research in Western Mountains

A program of the US Forest Service

CIRMOUNT is a collaborative, interdisciplinary consortium dedicated to understanding climates and ecosystems of western North American mountains. CIRMOUNT’s goal is to bring together researchers from diverse disciplines and institutions to monitor and understand climate-driven changes in the unique landscapes that define western North American mountains, and to respond to the needs and challenges of western society for mountain resources imposed by climate change. CIRMOUNT is sponsored by a diverse group of agencies, universities, and institutions, and is endorsed as a pilot project of the International Mountain Research Initiative.

CIRMOUNT produces a biannual publication, Mountain Views.

CIRMOUNT’s publication, Mapping New Terrain: Climate Change and the America’s West.     Archives of past MtnClim conferences are available in the CIRMOUNT archives.

US Geological Survey: Western Mountain Initiative