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In the epoch of Anthropocene, where humans have a significant impact on the Earth’s geology and ecology, the sustainability of our social-economic systems is the basic prerequisite for the long-term existence of mankind. Any pathway towards such sustainability necessarily calls for deep transformations of our society and will require complementary actions by governments, civil society, science, and business (Sachs et al., 2019). By and large, it remains unclear if and how respective processes of societal and institutional upheavals may be initiated and will take place. Nevertheless, sustainability has turned into a matter of individual lifestyle and individual daily choices rooted in common values in parts of the society.

Acknowledging the necessity of fundamental changes, the United Nations and its member states have been developing a framework for national action and global cooperation: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the respective 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With only 10 more years left to achieve these goals, the United Nations’ Secretary-General has raised a universal call to mobilise for a decade of global, local and people action. At the core of this call is the need to tackle growing poverty, empower women and girls, and address the climate emergency.

Within this context, the newly established Global Mountain Sustainability Forum (GMS Forum) conference series will discuss particular challenges concerning sustainability in mountain regions, which also provide invaluable ecosystem services for lowlands and their populations; these are often not appropriately taken into account in policies and decision-making processes. The GMS Forum 2020 will tackle sustainability governance issues at the crossroads between international frameworks and local contributions, focusing on the topics of tourism and natural resource management (see full conference programme here).

This conference takes place on October 5-6, 2020.