800 representatives from 70 mountain countries met in Paris and Chambéry from 5 to 9 June 2000, marking the emergence of a universal mountain consciousness. This event provided the opportunity for a rapprochement never before achieved on this scale between the great mountain regions of the world and the populations living there. It allowed both sides to get to know each other better and to identify a common will to work together by building a movement that will allow this dynamic of rapprochement and exchange to be strengthened and fortified as it takes on its true dimension.
This movement in its essence will have to be fundamentally pluralist and integrate the specificities and particularities of all these regions, respect them and make of this diversity of cultures thus gathered an exceptional richness.
The strength of the movement will result from the complementarity of these different components and in particular from their different cultures and states of development, in order to create a true place of solidarity between the mountains of the world. This solidarity will be expressed in particular through decentralized cooperation actions, which this movement will facilitate.
Built from the representatives of mountain populations, this movement will have to associate all the living forces that act in one way or another for the mountain or in the field of its problems: the scientific community which has already done a lot so that the mountain can be better known and taken into account, notably in international institutions and in the declarations that have accompanied their action, as well as the non-governmental organizations that intervene in the mountain field. The representatives of the mountain regions meeting within the Forum already note that, beyond the action of the organizers, this Forum has been made possible only thanks to the close cooperation that has been established between themselves and the movements just mentioned, as well as by the assistance of many other institutions, both international and national, and in particular governments, which is a sign of the interest that it has aroused not only in a large part of the world, but also among those who play an important role in development and cooperation.
This movement, as it is thus outlined, will have to assert its autonomy with regard to political, national or international authorities or any other movement of a political nature, but also its willingness to dialogue with them and to conduct partnership actions in the service of the mountain cause.
The representatives gathered within the Forum affirmed their willingness not to make the mountain a closed world, closed in on itself and concerned only with its own problems. On the contrary, they believe that the work that has been undertaken has, in many ways, a universal value and can constitute an example of an approach to problems for many other territories. They want, in any case, to make the mountains an open space, both physically and intellectually, for all exchanges, cooperation and collaboration.
The representatives of mountain countries gathered at the Forum were informed of the conditions of the next International Year of Mountains.
They paid tribute to the remarkable work carried out by FAO in implementation of the United Nations decisions to declare 2002 as the International Year of Mountains on the proposal of the Kyrgyz Republic, which they thanked for this initiative.
They ask the governments to fully commit themselves to the realization of this international year and to go beyond the stage of sympathetic and awareness-raising events, which remain largely short-lived, and on the contrary to take advantage of this year to implement or strengthen actions for the benefit of these territories. The international year will be marked to the extent that concrete political, legal and financial provisions will remain in place.
The definition of these actions will have to be done in close consultation with the representatives of mountain regions, be they political, associative or professional, in order to benefit both from their opinion and their commitment, which is the fundamental condition for the success of this type of “operation”.
Each nation must have, according to its structures and its culture, complete freedom of action in the implementation of the actions that will be carried out and avoid placing itself in a common mold that would not correspond to the positioning of the mountain in society and in the nation.
In particular, it is up to each of these countries to define, under the conditions set out above, the modes of intervention and the events that will take place and which should be of interest to all the components of the mountain and not be focused on a few aspects of them. It is to this extent that the international year will take on its full significance.
This meeting of the mountain populations of the world, which was held for the first time in Europe, has the vocation to reach the other continents where it will have to be organized mainly by the representatives of the countries that host it with the same will of universality. Thus they decided to meet again in 2002 in Quito, Ecuador, to make the voice of mountain populations heard within the framework of the International Year of the Mountains and to discuss the means of action they wish to implement.