03 November 23

Innovation for mountain areas

Projects from mountain areas around the world were presented and discussed at the Mountain Innovation Fair at the NOI Techpark.

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Due to their remoteness, harsh environment, exposure to natural hazards, and changing climate, it has always been vital that people living in mountain areas are able maintain their livelihoods and constantly adapt to their environments and to do so, new solutions are constantly being developed and implemented. In this way, challenging living conditions have the power to become drivers of innovation. On 24-25 October, Eurac Research hosted the Mountain Innovation Fair 2023 at the NOI Techpark, with the aim of creating an interactive workspace where people from all over the world could share the challenges and successes of innovative approaches in mountain areas. A total of 29 projects for sustainable development and adaptation from the Alpine region, the Carpathians, the Balkans, the South Caucasus and East and Southern Africa were presented. The spectrum of projects presented ranged from the promotion of women entrepreneurs in the mohair wool and beekeeping sector in the mountainous region of Lesotho to a campaign to clean up rivers and monitor water quality in the South African region of QwaQwa and the construction of the self-sufficient Müller Hut which sits at 3145 m.a.s.l in the Ridnaun Valley and uses hydrogen energy storage technology which is 100% CO2-free. At the end of the fair, the Mountain Innovation Award was presented. It went to Mantopi Martina Lebofa from Lesotho for her “Breaking down barriers by promoting women entrepreneurs in the mohair wool and beekeeping sector” project. Lebofa wants to break down barriers, especially for women and girls. In Lesotho, women and girls tend to provide for the family or work in agriculture for free. And, because they are dependent on men, child marriages are frequent. “Our project supports women as entrepreneurs in the beekeeping sector and in the production of wool products. And it is based on a local circular economy in which all sectors are involved, from farmers to industry and politics to schools. As such, it not only strengthens women and the community, but the local economy too.

The Innovation Fair was organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations University as part of the UNU-EHS Global Mountain Safeguard Research (GLOMOS) Programme with financial support from the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).

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© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
Conversazione tra Stefan Schneiderbauer e Anja Blacha durante la Mountain Innovation Fair 2023 a Bolzano.© Eurac Research - Andrea De Giovanni
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