News from the GLOMOS (Global Mountain Safeguard Research) programme of UNU-EHS and Eurac Research
Last year (2019) marked the operational start of the Global Mountain Safeguard Research programme. Better known by its acronym “GLOMOS”, this joint programme is a scientific collaboration between the United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS; https://ehs.unu.edu/) and Eurac Research (www.eurac.edu/). GLOMOS focuses on mountain safeguards and sustainable development by promoting research on current and future challenges for mountain socio-ecological systems - with a particular emphasis on the so-called “Global South” (or developing countries). By doing so, GLOMOS represents the continuation of UNU’s engagement in supporting mountain communities facing hazards and challenges for sustainable development and the protection of biological and cultural diversity, initiated some 40 years ago. GLOMOS has the maxim to bring science into action, a target that is supported by the unique position of GLOMOS at the interface between academia and the United Nations (UN) community.
GLOMOS works on identifying risks, challenges and opportunities in mountain regions, which is done from global and local perspectives, allowing to see both the bigger picture as well as unique characteristics and needs of each mountain region around the world. Its purpose of strengthening research and educational capacities globally is reflected in scientific collaborations, such as the cooperation with the Afromontane Research Unit (ARU), of the University of the Free State (UFS) in South Africa, whereby GLOMOS and UFS have joined forces in advancing a research strategy focused on southern Africa’s Great Escarpment region and preservation of the Maloti-Drakensberg mountains, on the border between Lesotho and South Africa.
The first fundamental milestone for GLOMOS has been its kick-off conference (held in October 2018) on the theme of “Emerging Risks and Future Challenges for Mountain Regions Worldwide”. The international workshop brought together international scientists and scholars, UN staff and other representatives of international institutions actively involved in mountain research and conservation. The knowledge gained from the conference provided the basis for the official launch of GLOMOS, in July 2019.
It is especially through its strong connection to the United Nations System, that GLOMOS brings forward research on specific mountain contexts in relation to existing international frameworks. At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in December 2019 in Madrid, GLOMOS has organized the side-event “Nature-Based Solutions on the Ground (SDG 15): UN Support to People and Landscapes”. For this event, developed in close collaboration with UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and agencies of the UN Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD), GLOMOS invited as keynote speakers Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and Ms. Norma Kassi, Co-Research Director of the Canadian Mountain Network, and spokesperson of the Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation in the northern Yukon in Canada.
By building effective synergies with other UN agencies and with international scientists and stakeholders, GLOMOS underlines its role as an interface between the UN System and international research communities. This highlights the GLOMOS interest to work for resilient mountain communities, biological and cultural diversity, and to support adaptive solutions and sustainable transformation processes of highly sensitive mountainous social-ecological systems.
Jörg Szarzynski, United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Stefan Schneiderbauer, UNU-EHS and Eurac Research, Paola Fontanella Pisa, UNU-EHS.
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CAPTION FOR FIGURE: [ Global Mountain Safeguard Research programme: Interlinking international frameworks with research spheres and socio-environmental needs, thus facilitating practical implementation. © GLOMOS. ]