Mountlennium: Reaching Millennium Development Goals through Regional Mountain Governance
To what extent can regional governance architectures of mountainous areas contribute to achieving the Millenium Development Goals in terms of integration of sustainable development principles and of reduction of biodiversity loss?


The Mountlennium project analyzes regional mountain initiatives with the aim of assessing the contribution of regional governance architectures to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs – 7A : integration of sustainable development principles in national policies, and 7B : reduction of biodiversity loss). While progress towards meeting the MDGs has focused on the policies and practices of countries and intergovernmental organizations of the UN system, the originality of the project is to look at the role of the regional scale in policy diffusion. Mountain regions have been recognized as critical human-environment systems on the world’s environmental agenda.

Implementing sustainable development strategies through regional initiatives entails processes of rescaling, which impacts governance, collective action, and identity formation. In order to assess the potential of MDG diffusion through regional initiatives, the Mountlennium project focuses on five mountainous areas where regional governance initiatives have been launched : the European Alps,
the Carpathians, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The five case studies are analyzed as linked empirical domains in order to assess the institutional diffusion of a “mountain governance” model inspired by the Alpine Convention in terms of sustainable development. In turn, the five mountain governance initiatives are compared on the basis of how MDGs 7A and 7B resonate with prevailing provisions so as to ascertain regionalization`s potential for mainstreaming sustainable development principles and reducing biodiversity loss.


  • Mountains
  • Millennium Development Goals
  • Sustainable development
  • Governance
  • Region
  • Scale
  • Policy diffusion
  • Biodiversity


  • Environment
  • Geography
  • Political science


International Organisations:

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention

NGOs, States or other Institutions

  • Balkan Foundation for Sustainable Development
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Relevant Countries

  • Europe
  • Central Asia


This project, started in 2011, has been completed.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Bernard Debarbieux
Université de Genève

Gilles Rudaz
Principal Member
Université de Genève

Vlatko Andonovski
Associated Member
Univerzita sv. Cyrila a Metoda v Trnave

Harald Egerer
Associated Member
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme

Aleksey Gunya
Associated Member

Jörg Balsiger
Principal Member
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Regula Imhof
Associated Member
Alpine Convention

Daniel Maselli
Associated Member
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Yuri Sandoval

Markus Reiterer
Associated Member
Alpine Convention