This Special Issue of the journal Sustainability is guest edited by MRI Chair Jörg Balsiger and MRI Executive Director Carolina Adler, and invites contributions that address transboundary sustainable mountain governance.

The deadline for manuscript submissions is 31 January 2021.

Mountains cover more than a quarter of the terrestrial surface. They are home to almost one billion people and remarkable cultural diversity, provide over half of humanity’s fresh water, and harbor a quarter of all terrestrial biodiversity. Mountains are also highly vulnerable to the impact of climate and other global change, with significant consequences for human health, safety, and security. Internationally, sustainable mountain development (SMD) has been on the political agenda ever since governments adopted a dedicated chapter at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development. However, many countries had previously recognized the special role of mountains, and developed targeted policies in sectors such as forestry, agriculture, and regional development. Because most mountain ranges cross international borders, coordinating SMD internationally became a growing priority, leading to a diverse series of initiatives around the world over the past three decades.

This Special Issue of the journal Sustainability invites novel contributions that address transboundary sustainable mountain governance. Governance is broadly understood to concern how society or its constituent groups organize in order to make decisions and steer action to meet shared goals; transboundary governance denotes organizing efforts across international borders. Governance arrangements may range from formal, intergovernmental treaties to informal private sector or civil society initiatives. Sustainable development governance suggests an implicit or explicit focus on policy integration and respect of the planetary boundaries, as well as intra- and intergenerational equity.

Papers integrating any of the following dimensions that may be of interest to scholars, policymakers, and/or practitioners are welcomed:

  • Origins, design, implementation, and impact of innovative approaches, forms, or instruments of transboundary SMD governance;
  • Comparisons of transboundary SMD governance in different mountain regions, or between the governance of SMD and other domains in the same mountain range;
  • Cross-border cooperation on climate change adaptation in the context of transboundary SMD governance, addressing such aspects as river basin management, nature-based solutions, or disaster risk management;
  • Cross-border (or transboundary) cooperation and governance on monitoring and reporting on SMD (data and information);
  • Understudied aspects of transboundary SMD governance relating to specific actors (e.g., private sector, local governments), modes of interaction (e.g., science diplomacy), topics (e.g., mining, human rights), or instruments (e.g., inter-regional exchange, regional-global linkage politics)
  • Theoretical aspects of transboundary SMD governance such as multi-level governance, polycentricity, heterarchy, pluriregionality, or fragmentation.

Please reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions you may have.

Special Issue Guest Editors

Prof. Jörg Balsiger 
Department of Geography and Environment & Institute for Environmental Governance and Territorial Development, University of Geneva, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
Interests: international cooperation; regional governance; sustainable mountain development; institutional innovation

Dr. Carolina Adler
Mountain Research Initiative, Mittelstrasse 43, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Interests: global assessments; science-policy interface; sustainable mountain development

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles, and short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is CHF 1800 (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well-formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

More information.

Cover image: Günther Schneider

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