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IPU is helping parliaments reach new heights in mountain adaptation

The IPU and Adaptation at Altitude, a programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, have published a new Issues Brief for parliamentarians: Responding to climate change in the mountains: Opportunities for parliamentarians to act.

The Brief is designed to help parliamentarians identify policies and actions to adapt to the consequences of climate change in mountain ecosystems.

The publication comes in the lead-up to COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference, which starts on 30 November 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and at which adaptation will be a critical item on the agenda.

Mountains are vital ecosystems for people and the planet. They provide fresh water for half of the world’s population, host rich biodiversity and hold cultural importance for communities around the world.

Unfortunately, they are also facing severe impacts from climate change – rapid temperature increases, melting glaciers, more frequent and intense natural hazards, and changing precipitation patterns.

Climate change threatens the water, food and energy security of the 1.2 billion people who live in the mountains, and directly affects some 2 billion people who live in the lowlands and depend on mountain ecosystems for survival.

With their legislative, budgetary, oversight and representation functions, parliamentarians have key roles to play in accelerating climate action in mountain areas.

As representatives of the people, parliamentarians can help ensure that the needs of their constituents affected by climate change in mountain areas are addressed in decision-making processes.

They can prioritize legislation that explicitly supports climate action in the mountains and allocate adequate funding to mountain-specific adaptation efforts.

Legislation in spatial planning and development is key for sustainability and priority setting of climate change adaptation in mountains.

The Brief contains many actions that parliamentarians can take now as well as case studies from around the world.

The Issue Brief was launched at an online event, Mountains, Parliaments, and the Global Goal for Adaptation – Preparing for COP28, on Monday 20 November 2023.

IPU Secretariat, Geneva