The GEO Mountains General Meeting took place on 12 June at the University of Geneva, bringing together members of the network and other stakeholders. The meeting served as a platform for sharing updates, exchanging ideas, and fostering collaboration among participants involved in mountain research, policy, and practice. 

The event provided a refreshing departure from virtual formats, allowing attendees to engage more deeply with one another and explore opportunities for joint activities. In addition to the informative presentations and discussions, the meeting enabled personal connections which are crucial for developing a strong network that is capable of driving positive change, to be (re)established. The primary objective of the General Meeting was to update participants on GEO Mountains' recent, ongoing, and forthcoming activities. Attendees were encouraged to actively contribute to the various activities, with the assurance that their expertise and involvement will be greatly appreciated and fully recognised. 

Network members and others gave a series of invited presentations. Dr. Roger Sayre (USGS) presented the emerging GEO Global Ecosystems Atlas, which aims to develop a global and comprehensive digital ecosystem map comprised of multiple diverse datasets, whilst Dr. Mark Snethlage (Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment) highlighted the importance of subnational reporting on mountain biodiversity protection. 

Ms. Jessica Delves (EURAC Research / GLOMOS) presented ongoing work seeking to identify Essential Socioeconomic Variables across global mountains, and Dr. Robert Chen (CIESIN) discussed the latest human population and settlement datasets and their applications in mountain research. Lastly, Dr. Wolfgang Schöner (University of Graz) provided an update on the status of the Joint Body on Mountain Snow Cover, which aims to integrate satellite data with ground observations to develop consistent historical snow datasets.

A further important agenda item was the exploration of potentially high-impact joint projects. Participants discussed various opportunities for collaboration, including the contribution of valuable insights and data related to mountain urban areas for the future IPCC Special Report on Cities, mapping global mountain social-ecological systems using machine learning techniques to enhance understanding and inform decision-making, and quantifying the value of exchanging weather and other observations obtained at research stations for operational forecasts and early warning systems. The development of a global "State of the Mountains" report, which could provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of mountain systems worldwide and identify data/knowledge gaps, was also suggested.

The importance of future collaboration with other GEO Work Programme Activities was emphasised, and we particularly hope to strengthen ties with GEO BON, GEOGloWS, and the GEO Human Planet Initiative. The importance of engaging stakeholders, raising public awareness, collecting socioeconomic data, and considering mountains as integrated systems were all highlighted during the discussions.

Beyond these updates and project ideas, the General Meeting served as a forum for gathering suggestions and opinions regarding GEO Mountains' role, priorities, future governance structure, as well as its position within GEO and potentially beyond. The input given by participants will play a significant role in shaping the future direction and impact of GEO Mountains, ultimately ensuring its continued relevance in helping to address the numerous challenges mountain systems face.

The meeting concluded with an outlook on the future of GEO Mountains. GEO as a whole aims to evolve its emphasis towards delivering "Earth Intelligence for All", in particular with regards to major policy priorities, by fostering synergistic efforts. In this context, prospective efforts to refine the GEO Mountains’ governance structure, secure financial stability, and broaden participation were discussed.

Should you have any questions or are interested to become involved in any of GEO Mountains’ activities, please do not hesitate to contact

The meeting slides can be downloaded here, and the full meeting report here

 Cover image by GEO Mountains

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