Mountain Soil: A Key Element to Facing Climate Change with Resilience

Landscape of the Central Cordillera of Panama, north of the municipality of Calobre.
Photo credit: Alberto Pascual / Fundación CoMunidad.

By: Alberto Pascual.

Panama City, Panama, June 29, 2015 –Approximately 900 million people live in mountain areas in the world and another large part of the population in cities located downstream who depend on vital services provided by mountain soils for food production, biodiversity, and adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

Within this context, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, Global Soil Partnership and the University of Turin, recently presented the new publication“Understanding Mountain Soils: A Contribution from mountain areas to the International Year of Soils 2015”.

Sustainable mountain soil management will depend largely on resilience to flooding and landslides. By highlighting the value ofsoil, different sectors from all over the world will contribute their experiences to create a broad overview of best practices, lessons learned and recommendations, aimed at all stakeholders.

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO, in the preface says: “In 2015, the year in which the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were adopted, it is our aspiration to highlight how through the provision of crucial ecosystem services, mountain soils can help to ensure sustainable development in general. "

In turn, Alberto Pascual, Advocate in Panama of the Global Campaign "Making Cities Resilient: My city is getting ready!” contributed with a case study to this publication on how family coffee farms improve mountain soil.

The experience presented by Pascual in this publication on Panama is associated with the New Ten Essentials - Adapted to the Sendai Framework 2015-2030, conservation of natural buffer zones, to enhance the protective functions provided by ecosystems.

The techniques that family farmers have implemented for shade-grown coffee have reduced soil erosion and nutrient loss, while respecting ground cover, trees and their extensive root systems that are key to agriculture conservation and improvement of soil in the mountains.

Global Campaign "Making Cities Resilient: My City is getting Ready!"

The Global Campaign "Making Cities Resilient: My City is getting Ready!", promoted by the UNDRR since 2010, aims to ensure that a greater number of local governments and other key sectors are prepared for disasters, by increasing political commitment to disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.

The campaign encompasses a growing global network of cities, provinces and municipalities, of various sizes, characteristics, risk profiles and locations, which can help and learn from each other, promote awareness, and transmit specialized knowledge and skills, as well as technical support to achieve the goal of building resilience.

Related links:
Understanding Mountain Soils: A Contribution from mountain areas to the International Year of Soils 2015
Global Campaign “Making Cities Resilient”
Fundación CoMunidad




Alberto Pascual is the Advocate in Panama of the Global Campaign “Making Cities Resilient: My City is getting Ready!”, promoted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

Professional Profile

A graduate of the Latin University of Science and Technology with a Degree in Management and of the National University of Lanus with a Masters in Sustainable Development. Director of the NGO “Fundación CoMunidad”, member of the International Centre for Sustainable Development (CIDES) and the Mountain Partnership. The lack of controlled growth keeps Panama in a situation of vulnerability to disasters, coupled with the loss of forest cover due to deforestation and the absence of land use planning, has led to the saturation of human settlements in floodplains and unstable areas for construction.

"Working jointly with local governments in Panama gives me an excellent opportunity to promote policies and integrate risk management as key to addressing sustainable development and making cities in our territory comply with proper planning, the role that these localities should play in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change are the main challenges that motivate me to participate as an advocate of the Global Campaign Making Cities Resilient.” Alberto Pascual

Read more about Alberto Pascual  (Spanish)




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