The role of tourism in implementing the Paris Agreement was on the table on the occasion of the 22ndSession of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP22). The International Symposium of the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the United Nations 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), held during COP 22, discussed how to advance Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate.
The Symposium aimed at increasing awareness on tourism and climate change-related issues and encourage the sector to engage in actions that reinforce national commitments to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
“The tourism sector is both a vector and a victim of climate change and we are fully committed to contribute to reach the objectives set by the Paris Agreement. This event was essential to advance this agenda, especially the discussion on measurement and reporting requirements as a basis for identifying and prioritizing climate action in tourism”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
“Sustainable tourism creates opportunities and assembles partners to help transform the industry towards low emissions and more efficient and less polluting operations. We must make tourism and every other industry contributor to our climate change action and a sustainable future”, said Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, in her video address to the event.
The event focused in particular in the need for partnerships with the private sector and the role of sustainable transportation to accelerate climate action in tourism.
“Climate change can only be addressed if actors from all parts of society – governments, businesses, NGOs and consumers – make a global and broad shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. Accounting for 10% of GDP, 7% of the world’s exports and one in 11 jobs, tourism is one of the main economic sectors in the world, and as such has to be at the core of this essential transition,” said Charles Arden-Clarke, Head of the 10YFP Secretariat.
The International Symposium was part of the 3-day COP22 Tourism Side Events organized by the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme and hosted by the Ministry of Tourism of Morocco. The Programme is a partnership led by UNWTO with the Governments of France, Morocco and the Republic of Korea as co-leads, with support of the 10YFP Secretariat at UN Environment, aimed at accelerating the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production. It was followed by a networking event involving financial institutions on sustainable tourism as well as by the Annual Conference on Saturday 12 November, where members of the network exchanged experiences and discussed priorities and next steps in the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme.