On 28 November, GEO Mountains held its second General Meeting of 2022. The meeting sought to present an assessment of progress achieved during the 2020–2022 Implementation Plan period, as well as to communicate the scope and priorities of the Initiative over the 2023–2025 period, considering our recent renewed endorsement by the GEO Programme Board. Four short presentations on recent or ongoing projects which GEO Mountains is either undertaking or contributing to were also included in the agenda, as was time for discussion.

Following a welcome and introduction from GEO Mountains Co-Leads Drs. Carolina Adler and Elisa Palazzi, GEO Mountains Scientific Project Officer Dr. James Thornton summarised each objective in the 2020–2022 Implementation Plan in turn and gave an indicative assessment of progress to date, with supporting evidence or examples cited where appropriate. Importantly, those objectives for which progress thus far has remained relatively weak or only moderate will, generally speaking, be prioritized over the coming months. The next meetings of the corresponding Task Groups will be held in early 2023.

Whilst ongoing work on the maintenance and improvement of data inventories and work on Essential Mountain Variables will naturally continue, the next period will also see a slight shift of emphasis from data inventorisation to the application and integration of data to generate knowledge and decision support information. More specifically, and especially in the focal areas of the Adaptation at Altitude programme, we intend to engage strongly in relation to four specific aspects:

  1. Capacity sharing with respect to the data lifecycle;
  2. The establishment of regional networks of “Mountain Observatories”;
  3. The engagement with the staff of national and sub-national hydrometeorological and other environmental services in mountains, and;
  4. The hosting of “hackathons” for data exploitation and integration to address key scientific, policy, and practical questions.

More generally, we intend to place greater emphasis on educational activities and the policy applications of data.

Koko Alberti, Dr. Jonas Lembrechts, Dr. Ricardo Grau, and Martha Warren their shared progress on their diverse respective projects that have or are receiving support from GEO Mountains. Koko is developing a series of factsheets for selected global mountain ranges based on the Geofolio platform, which besides looking beautiful will enable various high-level comparisons to be made across the world’s mountains to be made rapidly. Ricardo helped organize a very successful training course on Andean vegetation dynamics, with more than one associated paper currently in the pipeline.

Jonas is developing v2.0 of the SoilTemp database, which will provide a more efficient way of managing, explaining, and exploiting this extremely valuable community data collation effort with the objective of improving vegetation specifies distribution models in mountains and elsewhere. Finally, Martha presented an educational course on mountain sustainability that is being developed at Sea to Sky Gondola in British Colombia, Canada. The scope of the course is very broad and varied, catering for instance to many different learning styles, age ranges, and levels of expertise or interest. We are looking forward to promoting the course with the global community via the GEO Mountains website shortly.

These projects serve as examples of (some of) the types of activities that GEO Mountains will be seeking to support in 2023, including via financial contributions. Further details of the scheme will be communicated in due course.

The meeting closed with a short question and answer session and a summary from each member of the GEO Mountains Secretariat in which it was stressed that we should strive to maintain the momentum that is now building and deliver (even) more impactful and diverse outputs going forward.

Should you have any questions or are interested to become involved in any of GEO Mountains’ activities, please do not hesitate to contact us: geomountains@mountainresearchinitiative.org

The meeting slides can be downloaded here.

Cover image by Patrick Bald.

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