Mountains are globally distributed environments producing significant societal benefits. The ability of mountain regions to provide goods and services to both highland and lowland residents is seriously threatened by climatic and environmental changes, large-scale political and socio-economic transformations, unsustainable management of natural resources and serious gaps in the understanding of mountain social-ecological systems. Decisions on policy and investment, from the level of local governments to international agencies, must be based on data, information and knowledge that reflect both the generalities and specificities of mountain regions. In addition, decision makers must confront the paucity of observations in high-altitude regions and the relatively poor level of understanding of mountain social-ecological systems.
The Group on Earth Observations Initiative – Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments (GEO-GNOME), aims to address the paucity of observation data and information on mountains. GEO-GNOME is working on compiling and providing data, both related to historical conditions and to future projections that support examination of the drivers, conditions and trends at a variety of different scales, from that of a single mountain range to that of the planet as a whole. GEO-GNOME will improve our understanding of mountain regions and therefore sharpen our ability to provide policy and investment relevant advice, particularly in the context of key global policy agendas and their information and knowledge needs, such as monitoring and reporting for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in-line with GEO’s strategic priority engagement and societal benefit areas. GEO-GNOME will create a capacity to combine data and information to meet these emerging policy information needs.