Global Mountain Sustainability Forum 2020

The Global Mountain Sustainability Forum 2020 was the first edition of a newly established conference series revolving around the topic of sustainability in mountain regions. It took place online on October 5th and 6th and gave researchers from all over the world the opportunity to present their work and engage in fruitful exchange and lively debate.


In the epoch of Anthropocene, where humans have a significant impact on the Earth’s geology and ecology, the sustainability of our social-economic systems is the basic prerequisite for the long-term existence of mankind. Any pathway towards such sustainability necessarily calls for deep transformations of our society and will require complementary actions by governments, civil society, science, and business (Sachs et al., 2019). By and large, it remains unclear if and how respective processes of societal and institutional upheavals may be initiated and will take place. Nevertheless, sustainability has turned into a matter of individual lifestyle and individual daily choices rooted in common values in parts of the society.

Acknowledging the necessity of fundamental changes, the United Nations and its member states have been developing a framework for national action and global cooperation: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the respective 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With only 10 more years left to achieve these goals, the United Nations’ Secretary-General has raised a universal call to mobilise for a decade of global, local and people action. At the core of this call is the need to tackle growing poverty, empower women and girls, and address the climate emergency.

Within this context, the newly established Global Mountain Sustainability Forum (GMS Forum) conference series will discuss particular challenges concerning sustainability in mountain regions, which also provide invaluable ecosystem services for lowlands and their populations; these are often not appropriately taken into account in policies and decision-making processes. The GMS Forum 2020 will tackle sustainability governance issues at the crossroads between international frameworks and local contributions, focusing on the topics of tourism and natural resource management.

Keynote Presentations 2020

Dirk Glaesser

Director at the Sustainable Development of Tourism Programme (STD), World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)

Mara Manente

Centro Internazionale di Studi sull‘Economia Turistica (CISET), Universitá Ca’ Foscari, Venezia

Musonda Mumba

Chief of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit of UN Environment

Jakob Rhyner

Professor for Global Change and Systemic Risks at the Agricultural Faculty, University of Bonn

Xiaomeng Shen

Vice Rector in Europe, United Nations University (UNU)

How to build a better and greener world economy after the pandemic?

Joseph Stiglitz

Nobel Laureate in Economics, Public Policy Analyst and Professor at Columbia University

Special Issue – CALL FOR PAPERS

We are delighted to announce a Special Issue in collaboration with the open access journal Sustainability.

“Sustainability Governance: International Frameworks and Local Contributions with Special Consideration of Mountain Areas”

Participants to the GMS Forum 2020 will be offered a special 50% discount for publishing their research.

Please submit your manuscript at any time until 31 May 2022 here.