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High stakes

Mountains represent one quarter of the world's landscape and are home to at least one in 10 of the global population. They are the source of 60 to 80 per cent of the world's fresh water supply. Nearly half the world's biodiversity hotspots are in mountain areas, and the people who live there are rich in culture and specialist knowledge.

Yet some 80 per cent of mountain populations live below the poverty line. As roads open up previously remote areas, bringing access to markets, education and health services, they also accelerate the rate of change and leave mountain resources vulnerable to exploitation.

Published during 2002 for International Year of the Mountains, this report is driven by the voices and concerns of mountain peoples themselves. It outlines the issues and examines the ways forward.

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High stakes (367kb)