Why a Mountain NCE?
The goal of the Networks of Centres of Excellence program is to mobilize Canada’s research talent in the academic, private, public and not-for-profit sectors to generate multifaceted solutions to complex Canadian problems, challenges, or opportunities. Mountains cover 27% of our planet’s surface, criss-cross over all continents and through all of the earth’s biomes from the North to the South pole, and are home to over 1 billion people and a quarter of the world’s plants and animals. They are ‘libraries’ of the earth’s history and evolution; mountains have inspired human cultures for millenia. Mountains are, however, uniquely challenging environments for life. Natural and human-made forces can accelerate habitat and biodiversity losses, accelerate permafrost thaw, increase the contamination of water, increase the incidences of fire and other natural disasters, and increase the need for sustainable development.
Mountain communities are facing unique challenges: limited availability of housing, transportation, and communications infrastructure; limited ability to age in place due to the availability of health care services for local populations; limited access to employment and education within mountain communities; growing populations, and increased numbers of visitors and economic interests in mountain resources. There are also real concerns that Indigenous Traditional and local knowledge is being lost. The physical, cultural and socio-economic realities of mountains, however, preclude simply adopting the technologies, models, practices and policies successful in other environments; increasing the need for action.
The United Nations’ Global Action Plan formally recognized sustainable mountain development as a critical area for action in Agenda 21: Chapter 13. It includes harnessing the collaborative strengths of the international community to create a global mountain database, inform decision-making and policy/law, and develop innovative technologies and practices that support mountain people, environments and economies. There is a pressing need as a nation to focus and build capacity in Mountain research and development before the pressures on this landscape overwhelm the biodiversity and communities in mountain regions.
The Mountain Network aims to inspire the voices of mountain peoples and researchers to work together to build knowledge and enable resilience in the face of change; elevate economic opportunities; and ensure mountains remain vibrant places for life—to the benefit of generations of Canadians.
- Grow a diverse, pan-Canadian network of researchers, governments, indigenous partners, community members, businesses, students, and citizens passionate about mountains to inspire cross-disciplinary research projects and share research findings with the public, communities, educational institutions, business community, and decision-makers
- Ensure the voices of Mountain stakeholders are heard so that they may inform and participate in knowledge creation and mobilization and are inspired by the value that they contribute to and gain from the Network
- Support and facilitate exceptional research that places Canada internationally as a leader in mountain research
- Build a world-class knowledge repository that integrates the traditional and modern scientific knowledge of stakeholders, researchers, and receptors, and mobilizes it in innovative ways to benefit mountain peoples, communities and decision-makers worldwide
- Help to build capacity within Indigenous and non-Indigenous mountain communities so that they can respond to change and opportunity, as well as contribute to mountain research
- Create solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing mountain communities today including the impacts of change on infrastructure, resources, and life
- Enable evidence-based decision-making in the global mountain sphere for the well-being of mountain and downstream life