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Global initiatives

Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD The Convention is one of the key agreements adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and offers every nation a binding legal document to assist in the conservation and sustainable use of its biodiversity. GMBA became the official major scientific partner of the CBD for the main theme "Mountain Biodiversity" of the 7th Conference of the Parties, held in February 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

DIVERSITAS in Paris, is the international umbrella programme to coordinate a broad research effort in the biodiversity sciences at global level. It aims at integrating biodiversity science in order to produce relevant new knowledge for society.

MIREN As a result of global change, mountain areas are increasingly threatened by invasive alien species. The Mountain Invasion Research Network aims at assessing this problem. A promising new research approach is the use of altitudinal gradients in mountains in order to better understand plant invasion processes along environmental gradients. Mountain regions provide particularly useful model systems for understanding ecological and evolutionary processes associated with plant invasions. MIREN conducts screening surveys and monitoring as well as standardized comparative experiments in six core regions.

GLORIA The "Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments" in Vienna is a global network aiming to assess impacts of climate change on high mountain biota. GLORIA has established a site-based network, currently in 47 target regions and distributed over 5 continents. Monitoring is carried out with a standardized protocol targeting on vascular plants as well as on bryophytes and lichens (on an optional basis).

Mountain Research Initiative MRI The Mountain Research Initiative is a network for collaborative research on global change and mountain regions.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international non-profit organisation to provide free and universal access to data regarding the world's biodiversity. A wide range of countries and organisations participate in GBIF and have made their data available there.

CODATA the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, is an interdisciplinary Scientific Committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU). It works to improve the quality, reliability, management and accessibility of data of importance to all fields of science and technology.

Catalogue of Life The Catalogue of Life is planned to become a comprehensive catalogue of all known species of organisms on Earth by the year 2011. The eighth edition of the Annual Checklist 2008 contains 1,105,589 species. The present Catalogue is compiled with sectors provided by 52 taxonomic databases from around the world. Many of these contain taxonomic data and opinions from extensive networks of specialists, so that the complete work contains contributions from more than 3,000 specialists from throughout the taxonomic profession.

Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) is an international work program designed to meet the needs of decision makers and the public for scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and options for responding to those changes. GMBA significantly contributed to the chapter on mountains.

Mountain Forum is a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the well being of mountain people, their environments and cultures. Mountain Forum seeks to bring lessons and experiences of mountain people into policy discussions at national and international levels with the aim to improve their livelihood and promote the conservation of mountain environments and cultures.

Regional initiatives

ICIMOD (Hindu Kush Himalayas) The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development is committed to improving livelihoods of mountain people in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region. ICIMOD coordinates mountain research and development projects in the eight countries of the Hindu-Kush Himalayan Region.

Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge, China The CBIK is a NGO based in Kunming for conserving nature and culture, and promoting socially equitable and environmentally sound development in mountainous ethnic minority areas of Southwest China.

Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio) The National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) is a non-governmental organisation in Costa Rica. It gathers data on the country’s biological diversity, advocates its sustainable use and promotes awareness of the value of biodiversity.

Swiss Biodiversity Forum of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) is the competence center for biodiversity research in Switzerland. The Forum's objective is to substantially contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. To reach this objective the Biodiversity Forum advocates biodiversity research in Switzerland and makes available up-to-date knowledge on biological diversity to conservation practitioners, policy makers, teachers and the public.

Swiss Alpine Studies The Interacademic Commission for Alpine Studies (ICAS) initiates and promotes interdisciplinary and international, national and regional collaboration in the field of alpine research. The website is either in german or french.


Mountain Research and Development publishes peer-reviewed articles presenting original research on mountain environments and people, sustainable mountain development, and mountain development experiences. Coverage ranges widely, from topics in the natural sciences to anthropological, economic and sociocultural issues. Target audiences are the scientific community and policy- and decision-makers. MRD is an open access journal published by the International Mountain Society (IMS).