Message from Mechtild Rössler, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, for International Mountain Day; Unesco

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Kazakhstan -Western Tien-Shan

International Mountain Day, designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2003 and celebrated on 11 December, highlights the importance of mountains to life on Earth. The theme for 2017, “Mountains under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration”, draws our attention to some of the most critical challenges that mountains and people living in mountain areas are currently facing. It also reiterates roles that the World Heritage Convention is fulfilling in order to safeguard mountain protected areas, as well as to strengthen resilience of mountain peoples to overcome these challenges.

In the face of impacts of climate change, the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of World Heritage mountain sites are increasingly at risk. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 2 highlights climate change as the fastest-growing threat to natural World Heritage. At least a quarter of all natural sites are already facing the consequences of climate change.

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