THE INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAINEERING
AND CLIMBING FEDERATION
dokument iz 2002. godine o direktivi zaštite
životne sredine Medjunarodne unije za planinarstvo (UIAA)
UIAA believes that mountaineers, as well as many other people and
should be very concerned about the future of the mountain
to climb is part of the wider need for people…“
In 1997 the General Assembly of the UIAA approved
the text of the
UIAA's 'Environmental Objectives and Guidelines'. These have stood the test of time and remain the
framework by which the UIAA federations operate when supporting
mountaineering activities. The year 2002, International Year of the
Mountains, has now provided an opportunity to distribute this document to
a wider audience, to reach all who enjoy
being in mountains
and with mountain people.
Members of the UIAA's Mountain Protection Commission as well as other UIAA colleagues, past
and present, have contributed to the preparation of this material and we hope
all mountaineers will have regard to the advice and take action to help the mountain
environment. If mountaineers adopt the highest standards of environmental care
will protect the mountain environment, bring benefit to mountain people and help to secure the
freedom to practice mountaineering in years to come. Politicians, policy
makers, local communities and commercial interests all influence what
happens to the mountains and mountaineers must engage in dialogue with
the different interests. By promoting these objectives and guidelines we
can demonstrate a responsible attitude towards our own activities
and stake a genuine claim to join with others in the decisions which
decide the future of the world's mountains. There is no better time to start
than in IYM 2002.
significance of mountains
are an important source of water, energy and biological diversity.
Furthermore, they are a source of such key resources as minerals,
forest products and agricultural pro-ducts, and of recreation. As a
major ecosystem representing the complex and inter-related ecology of
our planet, mountain environments are essential to the survival of the global ecosystem.”
(Agenda 21, Chapter 13)
It’s only since the legendary Rio’92 conference on
sustainable development, that
mountains are recognized as important areas for the future of our planet
and its civilisations, formulated in the Chapter 13 of the Agenda 21.
The quotation above formulates in the very shortest and clearest way what makes
mountain areas so important. To give an illustrating example: mountain
areas over 1000 m make up 27% of land surface, but provide more than
50% of all the freshwater resources.
On the other hand, mountain areas are fragile and sensitive ecosystems. Reactions to
environmental changes are quick, often show dramatic consequences and need a
long time to recover. One of the best examples is climate
change. The reaction of alpinotype glaciers and soils in Europe an Asia to
the recent warming is dramatic, and the possible consequences –
e.g. instability of former stable permafrost slopes, outbursts of
glacial lakes – are frightening, and will
produce very high costs for the nations concerned.
Not to mention the dramatic change in landscape, which affects both
tourism and mountaineering. Many of the classical climbs of
Alps have strongly deteriorated, some have become impossible to climb at all
– wonderful white ice flanks transformed into ugly and
dangerous rock slopes…
This makes the link from global environmental aspects to ourselves, our behaviour,
be it in our private, professional, or mountaineering activities.
UIAA Mountain Protection
and the environment
generally has a low local environmental impact. Of course this is only
true if mountaineers "take only pictures and leave nothing but
footprints", as the American wilderness philosopher John Muir stated as
a motto for the Sierra Club founded in 1892.
Direct local ecological impact of mountaineering activities can get
substantial, when sensitive areas are used by a large number of people.
This is a field of growing concern mainly in Europe (e.g. at climbing
cliffs) but also in certain areas of the world mountains, because of
the growing number of mountain related outdoor sports using sensitive
areas and showing tendencies to commercialisation and mass sports. The
strategy of the UIAA is to pre-empt legislative prohibition through
self-regulation and impact-minimisation, in collaboration with
Indirect ecological consequences of mountaineering can be more
dramatic. Examples are the overuse of local firewood by porters of
large expedition and trekking groups, or the high energy consumption
(and greenhouse gas production) caused by the generally large distances
travelled by mountaineers and climbers in cars and planes.
This is why the UIAA has adopted these Environmental Guidelines.
Most of the UIAA member's interests go further than just climbing and
mountaineering, and mountaineering clubs traditionally show an interest
and an active commitment to mountain areas. This results in manifold
positive interactions with local communities and benefits for the
sustainable development of mountain areas, and the awareness of
negative effects and projects for their mitigation, particularly on
ecological issues, are highly developed.
This commitment needs constant nurturing and strengthening. Considering
the hedonistic and individualistic developments in western society, and
the tendencies towards more competitiveness and commercialisation in
mountaineering, this will not be an easy task for the future.
Mountaineers should be good examples in environmentally sensitive
behaviour and important partners in helping the mountain areas of the
world find their way of sustainable development in the 21st century.
UIAA Mountain Protection Commission, 2002
UIAA Mountain Protection Commission
Mission statement: "With
our work we want to contribute to maintain mountains wild and free
for the enjoyment of
mountaineers and for all humankind, as well as for nature itself."
issues were a main concern of the UIAA since its creation in 1932.
After some pre-War activities, the “Mountain Protection
Commission” was founded in 1969. It helped the UIAA Member
Associations in their efforts against destructive projects in
their respective countries. It produced
diverse recommendations for ‘good mountaineering
practice’ and position papers with regard to sustainable
development of mountain regions, the
most renowned of them being the “Kathmandu
Declaration” from 1982.
These resolutions have been synthesized in the environmental Guidelines
In the last decade the MPC was also involved in the UIAA efforts towards the
preservation of access freedom to mountaineering and climbing sites. In
1999 a specific UIAA ‘Access and Conservation
Commission’ A&CC was created in which MPC is
General objectives of the
MPC are to protect mountain areas of the world as one
of the last natural, unspoilt an freedom spaces on Earth, by
preventing irreversible impacts in mountain ecosystems,
Promoting environmental behaviour and education amongst mountaineers an people
visiting mountains (tourists)
Developing demonstrative actions to restore and to protect nature in mountains.
MPC’s prime fields of
concern and action are
Impacts of mountaineering and climbing to environment
Codes of conduct for UIAA and its member associations
Assistance to UIAA bodies and member organisation for environmental and
Formulation of UIAA positions, in accordance with UIAA Board/ Council, on
local and regional specific problems related to mountain protection
Link with international conservation organisations and networks
General environmental problems in mountain regions
UIAA ENVIRONMENTAL OBJECTIVES AND
Adopted at the UIAA
4 October 1997 in Kranjska Gora,
This policy statement provides an outline of the main environmental
issues that concern mountaineers. It recognizes that the term
"mountaineering", as practiced by UIAA member federations, includes all
aspects of the following activities: climbing, hiking, trekking and ski
2. It considers both the effects of mountaineering on the environment
and also the role that UIAA hopes mountaineers will play in helping to
secure a sustainable future for the mountain environment.
3. These objectives and guidelines provide the framework, which member
federations follow when supporting mountaineering activities. They will
help member federations to ensure that mountaineering activities are
sensitive to environmental needs and will assist efforts to protect
cliff and mountain areas from adverse environmental impacts, from
whatever source. They are based on international guidance on
sports activity and UIAA policy statements and reports. These are
listed in the Annex.
4. Central to the UIAA's work is the belief that the freedom to
practice mountaineering, from the high, remote mountain peaks to the
lowlands and coastal cliffs, is of great value to many of the world's
citizens. The freedom to climb is part of the wider need for people to
have access to land and water for the appreciation of nature and
scenery, as recognised by the World Conservation Congress in 1996. It
also encompasses the need for adventure, physical exercise and the
mental and social dimensions of the sport of mountaineering. Promoting
the recognition of these values amongst the wider community is an
important starting point for achieving the wider UIAA environmental
5. The UIAA recognises the enormous value of mountain areas as
reservoirs of biological diversity; as places of great spiritual and
historic interest; as places with spectacular natural phenomena
associated with climate and geology, and as the location of some of the
world's most beautiful and peaceful landscapes. These range
from places that are remote, wild and natural to places of
inhabitation, often with much modified landscapes of great cultural
value. The UIAA recognises that such areas often contain fragile,
easily damaged ecosystems and local lifestyles, which are sensitive to
6. The UIAA recognises that mountains are often the source of products
essential to humankind as a whole. Of these, the supplies of pure water
in the streams and rivers that drain from the mountain ranges are of
supreme importance. Similarly the UIAA recognises the use of mountain
areas as the source of forest and agricultural products, of minerals
and energy supplies. The UIAA emphasises, however, the need to extract
these products in ways, which do not compromise the environmental
quality of mountain areas.
7. The UIAA welcomes the role of mountain tourism in supporting local
economies, including the production of locally marketed products, and
recognises the need to maintain local land management skills. The UIAA
is also concerned to ensure that the activities of mountaineers help to
sustain local communities in ways, which are beneficial to mountain
people as a whole and are acceptable to the mountaineering community.
8. The UIAA believes that mountaineers, as well as many other people
and organisations, should be very concerned about the future of the
mountain environment. The following types of impact threaten the
integrity of mountain ecosystems and mountain communities and as such
threaten the future enjoyment and participation in mountaineering.
9. The loss of biodiversity due to forest destruction, overgrazing or
excessive burning. Such impacts can have profound effects on the
natural vegetation cover, richness of animal species and the loss of
soil and vegetation through erosion. The wild, unspoiled character of
mountain areas is diminished.
10. Massive or intrusive changes to the landscape. Large scale mineral
workings, hydroelectric or water supply schemes, roads, ways,
pylons and telecommunications structures, ski slope facilities and
buildings, especially those associated with some tourism developments
and industries, can give cause for particular concern.
11. Climate change and pollution, through the contamination of air or
water and the intrusive noise of motor vehicles and aircraft. There are
virtually no mountain areas in the world where the signs of pollution
are absent and the whole world is affected by the processes of climate
change. Mountaineers need to consider to what extent their own
activities are contributing to pollution problems and how, in relation
to wider society, mountaineers can use their influence to make the
world a less polluted place.
12. The overuse of sensitive areas. Excessive numbers of visitors,
including mountaineers, is leading to the degradation of some mountain
environments through the overuse of sensitive areas or the lack of
adequate standards of mountaineering conduct. Such damage is occurring
to relatively small areas in many mountain ranges and is less
significant than some of the other factors, which affect mountain
environments as a whole and are mentioned above. Such overuse, is
however, seen to be highly significant where it impacts on some of the
world's most famous locations, such as the base camps around the
highest mountains, along the most popular trails used by mountaineers,
trekkers and pilgrims, or at cliffs and crags beloved by climbers,
birdwatchers and botanists. It is essential that trekking
organisations, mountaineering expeditions and climbers recognise these
concerns and adopt best practice techniques.
13. The UIAA believes that mountaineers can best meet their
environmental responsibilities, as well as helping to safeguard
mountain land and local communities, through a process of integration.
These are the key requirements:
13.1 Persuading decision makers that mountains and mountain people are
important and responsible mountaineering is an activity is deserving of
the highest levels of support.
13.2 Widening support for the concept that freedom of access, exercised
with responsibility, is an integral element of mountaineering, often
associated with strenuous physical and mental endeavour, risk and
adventure and a relative absence of rules and regulations.
13.3 Recognising that travel through beautiful places is an essential
element in many mountaineering experiences and mountaineers should
endeavour to keep those places beautiful.
13.4 Developing and promoting mountaineering techniques that have a
minimum impact on the environment, including travel and transport
arrangements which minimise pollution and the depletion of fossil fuels
and the use of recyclable materials.
13.5 Supporting arrangements, which help to protect mountain areas and
improve the well-being and prosperity of local communities, on the
assumption that such arrangements have been agreed with mountaineering
interests through a process of prior consultation and negotiation, e.g.:
13.5.1 Supporting the establishment of protected areas, such as
national parks and reserves, to safeguard the finest mountain wildlife
and scenery, so long as these are effectively managed, well integrated
with local community needs and sensitive to mountaineering requirements.
13.5.2 Supporting, where necessary, regulatory arrangements, which are
acceptable to mountaineering interests and capable of being, applied
equitably, preferably under voluntary agreement arrangements.
13.5.3 Supporting fair and equitable measures which help mountaineers
to contribute directly to the economic prosperity and environmental
well being of local communities, through the purchase of goods or
services or through reasonable taxation or fee arrangements.
13.6 Supporting educational work, which develops a greater
understanding of the character and use of mountain environments.
Encouragement will, in particular, be given to the incorporation of
aspects of environmental education into the training programmes for
mountaineering instructors and guides.
13.7 Promoting consultation arrangements between mountaineering
federations and organisations representing citizen groups, governments
and international organisations on the development of land use, energy
and transport policies which affect mountain areas.
13.8 Developing partnerships between mountaineering organisations and
other organisations with an interest in protecting the mountain
environment, supporting its wise use and maintaining greatest possible
freedom of access.
14. These key requirements define the main scope of UIAA's
environmental policy and provide a basis for member federations to
promote mountaineering activities, which take account of the main
The following documents form the base of the UIAA
environmental objectives and guidelines. All documents are present in
full text on the homepage of the UIAA (www.uiaa.ch)
• Resolution on public access to land and water, supported by
the UIAA and passed by the World Conservation Congress of the World
Conservation Union (IUCN), Montreal, Canada, 1996
(In this resolution the
IUCN recognizes the free access to nature as important for the formation of
environmental awareness. The IUCN intends a better recognition of
access to nature in its projects. Further documents on the issue:
In 1998, IUCN and UIAA discussed access to climbing crags in a
Seminar in Barcelona (Spain) and published common guidelines on
“access and conservation strategies for climbing areas”.)
• Declaration on Sports and Environment issued by the
International Olympic Committee, 1996
(The IOC introduces
environment and sustainable development as "third dimension of the
olympic movement" and forms a commission on sport and environment. In
1999 the IOC adopts an adapted agenda 21 (of Rio 1992) ...)
Most recent declaration: “2001 Nagano Declaration on Sport,
Environment and Sustainable Development”
Policy statements and reports approved by or noted at UIAA General
In the Kathmandu
declaration the UIAA formulates the importance of protecting the
environment of the worlds mountains (flora, fauna, culture). UIAA
proposes to promote education, to minimize waste and to engage in
environmental politics. The here presented UIAA environmental
objectives and guidelines are specifications of this Kathmandu
Mountain Protection Report (1992)
Matsumoto Mountain Protection report defines the
activities of the UIAA mountain protection commission relating to the
“target program to reduce trash” from the same year.
to reduce trash (1992)
The "target program for the reduction of trash"
was adopted 1992 in Geneva. Aim of the program is the sensibilisation
of all involved in expeditions and mountaineering (authorities,
agencies, guides and group members) for a minimization of the
environmental impact by unnecessary waste production, as well as for an
adequate disposal of unavoidable wastes.
touristic flights in mountain areas (1994)
The resolution, which
was adopted 1994 in Istanbul, describes the attitude of the UIAA in
relation to touristic flights in the high mountains. From ethical and
ecological reasons (e.g. “noise pollution”)
touristic flights in the mountains are to be minimized. Landing and
picking up persons for recreational or commercial purposes should be
for ski alpinism competitions (1994)
This regulation contains
environmental aspects for route planning at outdoor competitions. Newer
regulations (ICC Rules and regularization 2001) deal only with indoor
matches, since outdoor competitions are hardly organised anymore.
competition climbing (1995)
The guidelines for ski alpinism competitions
require careful treatment of the competition area by organisers, be it
on the part of the participants or on the part of the spectators.
Damage and contamination of nature due to the competitions must be
minimized. The guidelines were revised in 1998 (Berne 1998)
Minutes of Cape
Town Conference on “Access and Conservation Policy"
The symposium following the conference in Cape
Town dealt with the problems of free access and the role of
mountaineers for a sustainable use of mountain and climbing areas.
Solutions and recommendations to the UIAA member federations were
discussed. This formed the basis for the above mentioned
“IUCN resolution on public access to land and
water” of 1996
Code of Ethics (1987)
The code concretises the
Kathmandu declaration for expeditions. It gives guidelines for the
behaviour of the members, during and after an expedition, not only regarding
the environment. Most important points:
Follow the lines of the
Kathmandu declaration, respect the laws and traditions of the host country,
avoid excess equipment, no doping, objective reports, solidarity, leave the
Spring Gentian: "The UIAA recognises the
enormous value of mountain areas as reservoirs of biological