First 11 days of December every year are dedicated to public awareness activities on mountain environment and challenges confronting the highlands and the communities. All the activities peak up on December 11 — the International Mountain Day.Being on the front-line against the climate change impact, the matter of mountain conservation is becoming more important with every passing day. The new buzzword is resilience against climate impact. Expert organisations are talking about enhancing the climate, social and economic resilience of the communities by reducing their vulnerability and with enhanced capacity building as well. According to UN FAO, the focal organisation to mark the International Mountain Day, almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy. Yet mountains are under threat from climate change, land degradation, over exploitation and natural disasters, with potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world.Undoubtedly, mountains are early indicators of climate change and as global climate continues to warm, mountain people — some of the world’s hungriest and poorest — face even greater struggles to survive. The rising temperatures also mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people. Mountain communities, however, have a wealth of knowledge and strategies accumulated over generations, on how to adapt to climate variability. Climate change, climate variability and climate-induced disasters, combined with political, economic and social marginalisation, increase the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food shortages and extreme poverty.As the vulnerability of mountain populations grows, migration increases both abroad and to urban centres. Those who remain are often women, left to manage the farms but with little access to credit, training and land tenure rights. Out-migration from mountain areas will also result in an inestimable loss in terms of provision of ecosystem services and preservation of cultural and agro-biodiversity. Investments and policies can alleviate the harsh living conditions of mountain communities and reverse out-migration trends from mountain areas. The Rome-based UN FAO Headquarters, being the UN focal organisation on mountains and International Mountain Day, is very active on the global mountain agenda. Contrarily, the UN FAO country offices especially in South Asia are in deep slumber over their core responsibility of mountain conservation and development. South Asia to China, Myanmar, and Afghanistan, the region is surrounded by the world’s largest mountain ranges but the respective FAO offices behave dumb and deaf to the challenges facing the mountains and their communities as well as the people downstream.In 2015, global leaders from 194 United Nations member states agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals — a set of milestones and a road map for eradicating poverty and hunger and tackling climate change by 2030. A central message emerging from this agenda was the need for building resilienceFAO Pakistan especially has turned to be ‘expert’ in sleeping over the mountain agenda. This office is even incapable of handling the International Mountain Day. What to talk about aggressive awareness campaign on the mountain issues followed by integrated development interventions. The missing interventions against mountains vulnerability are aggravating the situation in the highlands of Pakistan.International Mountain Day 2017 provides an opportunity to highlight how climate, hunger and migration are affecting highlands and to ensure that sustainable mountain development is integrated into the 2030 Agenda and in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. This year, the theme is also linked to the Mountain Partnership Global Meeting that is being organised on December 11-13 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, which will focus on the challenges and opportunities in sustainable mountain development and will launch a framework for action to support concrete actions and establish policies that strengthen the resilience of mountain peoples and environments.The same sort of activities shall be conducted in all other countries where the FAO offices exist so that a strong voice should emerge to enhance the resilience of the mountains and communities. The relevant partners and organisations vigorously pursue the agenda as the UN has mandated its focal organisation FAO. While mountain are under pressure from the climate, hunger, migration — the deep silence of the partners shall end now and FAO shall take the aggressive agenda at least in South Asia especially in Pakistan.In 2015, global leaders from 194 United Nations member states agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — a set of milestones and a road map for eradicating poverty and hunger and tackling climate change by 2030. A central message emerging from this agenda is the need for resilience building. Achieving the SDG targets is particularly relevant in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), which is home to several least developed countries with shared natural resource systems. The HKH provides water, livelihoods, and ecosystem services to more than 210 million people and gives water to more than 1.3 billion people — a fifth of the world’s population living in downstream river basins. Mountain characteristics like inaccessibility, fragility, and marginality require specific solutions for resilience building that address socio-economic and environmental challenges in the mountain setting. Accordingly, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has developed a set of nine SDG-consistent mountain priorities to serve as guides for achieving the SDG targets within the HKH context.ICIMOD and its partners have been working on developing solutions for resilience building, promoting regional cooperation, and reducing data gaps for sustainable mountain development. For an effective response to the complex challenges facing the HKH, multiple actors need to come together and develop a collective vision for the region’s sustainable development.This is indeed a good sign that ICIMOD with the support of European Union is coming up as an effective player to help realise these resilience-building goals, and other actions under the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) flagship initiative, at the national, regional and the global level. But the emergence of ICIMOD as an active player in the region, the FAO Pakistan and other country offices in South Asia cannot step back or ignore their scope and mandate.To facilitate the response towards resilience challenges in the HKH, ICIMOD and partners’ international conference entitled, ‘Resilient Hindu Kush Himalaya: Developing Solutions towards a Sustainable Future for Asia’ turned out to be a new beginning towards achieving the relevant SDG-consistent mountain priorities as a framework. Let’s see how long FAO takes to shape up their mountain resilience agenda and link with other interventions in the region especially in Pakistan.The writer is an Islamabad-based policy advocacy, strategic communication and outreach expert. He can be reached at email@example.com. He tweets @EmmayeSyedPublished in Daily Times, December 5th 2017.