'The special characteristics of mountains are no longer seen simply as constraints, these ecoregions also offer very special and varied opportunities...' This summarises the approach of the participants from three mountain ecoregions (the Hindu Kush-Himalayas, Andes, and African Highlands) who met together with representatives of NGOs, INGOS, and donor agencies in Kathmandu in October 2002 to discuss their experiences in projects concerned with tools for planning and development in mountain regions using a specifically ecoregional approach. This short publication summarises the presentations and discussions at the workshop, and the recommendations that were made. The implications of working in an ecoregional context were discussed, along with the focus and aims of the ISNAR-managed Ecoregional Fund. The approaches of the projects ranged from state-of-the-art computer models (the Andean group), to one based primarily on 'joint learning' between researchers and farmers (African Highlands Initiative). The ICIMOD Ecoregional Project was concerned with developing and applying tools that can capture and integrate existing data in order to identify islands of success and niches of opportunity and provide a decision support system for planners and decision-makers. The recommendations of the conference were presented at the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit and were instrumental in having the concept of an ecoregional approach incorporated into the Bishkek Mountain Platform.