The EAC Secretariat hosted the first African Mountains Regional Forum at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha, Tanzania in October 2014.
The meeting called upon African states to develop and implement mountain-specific policies and laws and mainstream sustainable mountain development in their national development agenda. The forum that attracted over 100 participants from different African countries formally established the African Mountain Forum as the main coordinating body to promote the sustainable mountain development agenda in Africa.
Mountains are the water towers of the world, supplying half the world’s population with freshwater for drinking, domestic use, irrigation, industry and hydropower. Given the growing scarcity of water resources, experts say integrated and proper management of mountain water resources should become a global priority.
The forum concluded with the adoption of the Arusha Outcomes in which the delegates requested the African Union together with the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), Regional Economic Communities and other partners to adopt an Africa regional mountain agenda together with its governance framework for sustainable mountain development in Africa. The participants also called for inter-sectoral collaboration in the protection and management of African mountains given their critical importance as water towers, centers for economic development and a source of livelihoods for the mountain communities.