Tourism acting on climate and poverty imperatives


The tourism sector has the potential to act effectively on the evolving common agenda of climate change response and the fight against poverty. UNWTO put forward this message during the thematic debate “Addressing Climate Change: The United Nations and the World at Work”, at UN Headquarters in New York.

“This is the message that we took to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali. It fits into the road map laid out by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the broader UN System Agenda. UNWTO’s position has evolved through a comprehensive preparation which started back in 2003 with a shared vision of three Agencies – UNWTO representing tourism, the United Nations Environment Programme representing environment and the World Metereological Organization representing science that we will need to act comprehensively on this issue.

Throughout last year we brought together all the key Tourism players to draw up guidelines for a more climate conscious future and to support the MDGs”, said UNWTO’s Secretary-General, Francesco Frangialli. “The resultant “Davos Declaration Framework” gives us both principles and new directions for the task ahead.”

Throughout 2008 UNWTO will campaign for a constructive approach by the tourism industry – public, private and civil society – calling on them to work together to support the Davos Declaration Framework to help transform the sector to meet the climate and poverty imperatives. “Tourism Responding to the Challenges of Climate Change” has been designated as the theme for this year’s World Tourism Day, celebrated every September 27 around the world.

Tourism is one of the main services exports with a strong comparative advantage in the world’s poorest and emerging countries. These are markets that are growing at twice the rate of industrialized countries. At the same time our product is tied to climate and like other sectors we are green house gas contributors. Responsible growth patterns must now address economic, social, environmental and climate sustainability.

“This is the quadruple bottom line challenge which is at the heart of our campaign” according toUNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Professor Geoffrey Lipman who addressed the Assembly Session. “UNWTO will mobilize its more than 150 Member States and its Affiliate Members in the private, academic and destination communities, representing a network of thousands around the world in an effort to raise awareness of the magnitude of the challenge and contribute to the global response.”