The UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation) has announced plans to establish a Mountain Worker Initiative with the aim of supporting people employed in the expedition and trekking industry, prompted by the issues of low pay and poor working conditions raised in the documentary film The Porter: The Untold Story at Everest.
The initiative seeks to 'establish, disseminate and support guidelines for ethical trekking and mountaineering practices worldwide with a focus on the lives of mountain workers.' The initiative will launch with a set of general guidelines, followed by a collaboration at Everest and throughout Nepal, where the Nepal Mountaineering Association and the Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal will draw up and adopt country-specific guidelines.
General guidelines will be detailed in the near future on this webpage, where a fundraising link is in place. The initiative's long-term aim is to help fund improvements to mountain worker's conditions in line with the guidance.
The Porter film - in which a young American tries his hand as a porter on an Everest expedition, experiencing the injustices faced by the local people - was a popular Friday Night Video on UKC. Director Nate Menninger told UKC:
'The UIAA wanted to host a specific event and to accept donations on behalf of the film to help, but no program existed. And so, over the next few months, countless people came together to create one. A long-term initiative to create a sustainable system adaptable to every country around the world. The official roll-out event is on March 19th. Our hope is to focus efforts first in Nepal and to get a program up and running that can be adapted to every other country.'