GEO Mountains' second General Meeting of the year was held on 29 November 2023. This online meeting provided an opportunity to update network members about recent activities and developments, including the outcomes of the recent GEO Week and GEO Ministerial Meeting in Cape Town. Two invited presentations from projects which align closely with GEO Mountains' objectives were given, and time was also reserved for open discussion amongst participants. 

The primary objective of the General Meeting was to update participants on GEO Mountains' recent, ongoing, and forthcoming activities. The second half of 2023 was a busy period for the network. Following welcoming remarks from the Initiative's Co-Leads, our three recent regional workshops (in Georgia, Rwanda, and Nepal) were briefly summarised, and the availability of the associated reports communicated. The final workshop in the series will take place in Bogotá, Colombia, in February 2024; registration to participate online is still possible here.

It was reported that in June, a workshop on the Uniform High-Elevation Observing Platform (UHOP) was held in Bern, in conjunction with the MRI's Elevation Dependent Climate Change Working Group led by​ Dr. Nick Pepin (University of Portsmouth). In the same month, GEO Mountains also had the honour of being represented by Dr. Edoardo Cremonese (now at the CIMA Research Foundation) at the GEO Open Data and Knowledge Workshop. In October, Dr. Roger Sayre (USGS) presented our collaborative paper on Essential Biodiversity Variables in Mountains in Montréal, Canada, at the GEO BON Global Conference 2023. Meanwhile, the Small Grants Projects GEO Mountains is supporting in 2023 have been announced and are well underway. Finally, an initiative GEO Mountains has supported previously, SoilTemp, which is led by Dr. Jonas Lembrechts (University of Antwerp) was featured in the GEO Highlights 2023 report.

Updates shared on ongoing GEO Mountains activities included:

  • Work on the update of our General Inventory is well advanced, with release planned before end of the year;
  • Work to identify other GEO Work Programme Activities with whom GEO Mountains could seek to develop new or enhance existing collaborations is ongoing, and the results will be shared in early 2024; 
  • The Mountains Uncovered Series, which provides a multi-thematic overview of 100 selected mountain ranges, has been released and downloaded over 1,000 times; and
  • A new training resource, Zonal statistics over complex geometries using PostGIS, was developed and is available for others to use and adapt. 

Prof. Regino Zamora (University of Granada) then presented the work of the University of Granada in Sierra Nevada under the Smart Ecomountains project; a joint initiative to create a physical and a virtual research infrastructure to enable the compilation of biodiversity and other data in the region. Dr. Davnah Urbach then presented ongoing activities of the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), including the approaches being taken to develop systematic assessments of mountain biodiversity literature. 

The main announcement from the GEO events in Cape Town was the adoption of the GEO Post-2025 Strategy. This development will assist GEO Mountains in developing and further clarifying our own priorities and strategy for the coming years, ensuring alignment with GEO as a whole. TheGlobal Ecosystems Atlas and the Global Heat Resilience Service were also mentioned as two major efforts that the GEO Secretariat has been pursuing since 2022. The participants were invited to consider whether GEO Mountains could lead or contribute to a similar cross-GEO effort dealing with a key mountain topic in future. 

Dr. Carolina Adler then invited participants to help brainstorm and co-design GEO Mountains' Post-2025 Implementation Plan (by, for example, suggesting new potential GEO Mountains Task Groups), in line with the GEO Post-2025 Strategy. The meeting concluded with a period of open discussion during which participants were invited to provide relevant updates and explore collaboration possibilities. 

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 we have permission to share can be downloaded here.

Cover image by Yann Allegre.

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