At COP28, Kyrgyzstan has raised the agenda of mountainous regions that shelter more than one billion of the global population, Edil Baisalov, Deputy Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

“I represent the mountainous countries. Mountains and glaciers are the water towers of the world. Mountains are where all the weather systems are formed,” he said on the sidelines of COP28, the UN Climate Conference successfully concluded last Wednesday at Expo City in Dubai.

The final text of the first-ever global stocktake at COP28, an assessment of progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement, included five mentions of mountains.

Mountains and climate

Baisalov said the mountain agenda he raised at COP28 is relevant to the whole world as mountains and glaciers greatly influence the environment and climate across the globe. As sources of water as well, these regions are important for all other countries. Glaciers are important to the weather systems and patterns, he added.

“Therefore, conservation of these ecosystems is crucial in achieving the global goal of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C. We need to pay attention to this agenda to at least initiate a dialogue on mountains and climate [issues].”

The deputy prime minister is advocating for sustainable development of mountainous countries and regions.

Equivalent agenda of small island states

Asked whether he expects any special financing packages for the development of those regions, he said, “No. We just want an acknowledgement that mountains are an important, separate climate zone. It has specific needs of Indigenous People and the lifestyle of mountain areas.”

Baisalov equated it to the agenda of small island nations. “We have supported them in solidarity and that process continues.”

However, he said, “our oceans receive hundreds of times more attention than the mountains glaciers. Therefore, it is high time that we launch this new dialogue.”

Mountains in COP28 document

Mountains were included in the global stocktake text of COP28, following the efforts of many Mountain Partnership government members, according to the Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The document also included an official request for dialogue on mountains and climate change at the 60th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice in June 2024.

The closing of COP28 coincided with International Mountain Day 2023, offering an opportunity to celebrate progress made and reflect on the work still to be done to ensure that mountains are not left behind in international sustainable development processes. As the lead UN agency on mountain issues, FAO hosted a high-level event in the Food and Agriculture Pavilion on the 2023 IMD theme "Restoring mountain ecosystems", which launched a joint publication on the topic develop by the MPS at FAO together with the United Nations Environment Programme.

COP with new programmes

The Kyrgyz deputy prime minister congratulated the COP28 Presidency for putting together an excellent conference and launching several new programmes such as thematic days.

The Kyrgyz Republic and the UAE enjoy brotherly ties and have a very good cooperation in many areas of the bilateral relations, he said.

“In energy sector, we admire many innovations done by the UAE. We will continue to look for Emirati leadership in advancing the interests of countries such as Kyrgyzstan,” Baisalov said.