The Mountain Forum is newly formed global network in support of equitable and ecologically sustainable mountain development. Its creation and experiences during its first 18 months of operation reveal a number of insights regarding information structures, cooperation between organisations, empowerment, and pluralism. Influential factors in the development and operation of the Mountain Forum include a participant focus on vision, enlightened leadership, individual dedication, and a willingness to break out of familiar knowledge spheres and hierarchical governance structures. The early impacts of the Mountain Forum have included innovative policy development, increased visibility for mountain issues, increased visibility for organizations working in mountainous regions, and a growing sense of community among participants. The multiplicity of voices and issues that have been heard through the Mountain Forum has created a new and commonly-held awareness of the set of social and environmental issues facing mountain regions today, and a diverse array of promising mechanisms for addressing them. Major challenges still faced by implementers of the network include dealing with the lack of hierarchical structures, organising complex information flows, language and access difficulties, and the absence of certain stakeholder groups.