UNWTO demonstrates its interest in tourism climate action

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UNWTO demonstrates its interest in tourism climate action
Source: Twitter @COP27P
November 17, 2022

At COP27, UNWTO brought together key industry stakeholders to share practical ideas on how to accelerate the shift towards greater sustainability and achieve Net-Zero


Since the launch of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism at COP26, more than 700 companies, destinations, civil society groups and even countries have signed up, pledging to decarbonise, regenerate and measure to halve. their carbon emissions by 2030 and reach Net-Zero by 2050 at the latest.

UNWTO Executive Director Zoritsa Urosevic said: “One year after its launch, we are proud to see how the Glasgow Declaration has inspired our industry to act. Unlocking finance and developing measurement frameworks will be critical to broadening our support and continuing to accelerate climate action for resilience.”

Ovais Sarmad, UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary, added: “The Declaration provides a framework for all tourism stakeholders to raise their climate ambitions. Further integrating tourism into NDCs will be key to mobilizing the support needed to scale up efforts.”

“A net zero emissions future for tourism depends to a large extent on the ocean and the regeneration of destinations, especially coastal ones. We have to turn tourism into a sector that responds to the climate emergency,” said Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Oceans.

Commitment from the entire sector

Participants represented the different dimensions of tourism, both at the national and subnational levels. Financial institutions and the UN, in particular the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank Group and CAF (Development Bank of Latin America) expressed their willingness to support tourist destinations in their transformation towards tourism models that are lower in carbon, sustainable and resilient. .

On November 10, the side event focused on measurement and decarbonization pathways. The Secretaries of State for Tourism and the Environment from Guanajuato, Mexico, shared about their unique collaborative approaches; the Minister of Tourism of the Canary Islands presented its climate action plan, one of the first at the destination level; Iberostar launched its decarbonization roadmap; the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance reflected on the improvements of the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative; and Intrepid Travel proposed the multiplier role tour operators can play in supporting smaller businesses to decarbonise.

“The tourism sector requires a reset. A transition to sustainable tourism models requires a collective effort, one that UNDP stands ready and willing to support,” said UNDP Under-Secretary-General and Regional Director for Arab States, Dr. Khalida Bouzar.

Financing the green transition

On the 11th, the event focused on regeneration and finances. The Minister of Tourism of the Maldives and the representatives of the Ministry of Tourism of the Bahamas reiterated the place of tourism in the protection of fragile ecosystems. At the same time, the challenges faced by the Ministries of Tourism to have an active role in climate negotiations at the national level were highlighted, as well as the need to promote the education of communities and visitors. The Foundation for Environmental Education also highlighted the importance of integrating the pathways of the Glasgow Declaration as criteria in certification systems such as Green Key. NOAH Regen presented an innovative approach to protect and regenerate blue carbon ecosystems through blended financing.

“Achieving Net Zero by 2050 remains ambitious for tourism and more funding is needed. Investing in climate action in tourism is investing in green, resilient and inclusive development,” said Mari Pangestu, Director General, Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank Group.

Tourism and Sustainability Committee

Also in Sharm El-Sheikh, UNWTO convened its Tourism and Sustainability Committee, chaired by the Croatian Ministry of Tourism, for the first time in the framework of a UNFCCC COP. This allowed Member States to discuss available guidance materials, such as the Baseline Report on Climate Action in Tourism and the Technical Report on Measuring GHG Emissions from Tourism, as well as opportunities for collaboration within the framework of the One Planet sustainable tourism program, where the UNWTO works. closely with UNEP and the governments of France and Spain as co-leaders. .

Glasgow Declaration welcomes more signatories

Recent signatories to the Glasgow Declaration include the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, the Monaco Tourism Authority and the Honduran Secretary of State for Tourism. The National Tourism Authorities of Panama, Kiribati, Micronesia and Portugal are also among our signatories. Large industry players such as Accor, Iberostar, Booking.com, Expedia, The Travel Corporation, as well as the Radisson Hotel Group, along with tour operators and accommodation companies from 130 countries, also commit to the Declaration. UNEP called on stakeholders to continue to adhere to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, which is implemented under the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme.

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