Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Approximately 25,000 people attempt to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro annually. Approximately two-thirds are successful. The world’s highest unclimbed mountain is the 24,981ft Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan, which is the world’s 40th highest mountain. Mount Kea in Hawaii is some 4,000ft taller than Everest if measured from its undersea base. Because of tectonic plate movement, Everest grows about 4mm a year. In 1999, GPS satellites showed that Everest was 7ft higher than had previously been thought.
Covering around 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 915 million mountain people around the world, representing 13 percent of global population, but indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
The International Mountain Day has its roots in 1992, when the adoption of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development put a milestone in the history of mountain development. The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN General Assembly to declare 2002 the UN International Year of Mountains. The Year also led to the adoption of resolution 57/245, in which the General Assembly designated 11 December as International Mountain Day, and encouraged the international community to organize events at all levels on that day to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development. On this occasion, the UN General Assembly has designated 11 December, from 2003 onwards, as “International Mountain Day”. FAO is the coordinating agency for the preparation and animation of this celebration (IMD) and is mandated to lead observance of it at the global level. The Watershed Management and Mountains programme of the Forestry Department is responsible for coordinating this international process.
Source: worldwildlife.org | un.org