<p style="text-align:justify">Within the ISDEMA project, a re-assessment of the basic requirements for sustainable development in mountain regions has been discussed. The case studies from a series of different mountain ranges in Europe underpin the need to relate the various sectoral topics, such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, transport, water and energy use to innovative strategies for mountain regions. This includes a particular focus on influencing development discourse, reflecting social demand with the aim to enhance participation, and institutional development.<p style="text-align:justify">It has been realized that not only the sectoral level but also the national level has a crucial role to play. The definition of the appropriate policy framework has to be based on the specific understanding of mountain regions and their role in national development. This is a lengthy political, social and economic process that extends over decades and achieves improvements in the standard of living only step-by-step.