UN Adopts Sustainable Tourism As Tool For Poverty Reduction, Environmental Protection
THE United Nations General Assembly, rising from its 69th session, has adopted a key resolution recognizing the contribution of sustainable tourism to poverty eradication, community development and the protection of biodiversity.
Emphasizing the need to optimize the economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits stemming from sustainable tourism, particularly in developing countries, the resolution entitled “Promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection” calls upon the UN System to promote sustainable tourism as an instrument that can contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The resolution, significantly broader in scope than previous ones on the subject, builds on a 2012 UN resolution on ecotourism and draws on a report prepared by UNWTO.
The 2012 resolution stresses that poverty is a multifaceted problem that requires a multifaceted and integrated approach in addressing its economic, political, social, environmental and institutional dimensions at all levels.
It also maintains that sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, is a cross-cutting activity that can contribute to the fight against poverty, the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development.
It added that the role of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, in promoting rural development and better living conditions for sustainable rural populations.
In line with the UNWTO recommendations, the new resolution underlines the importance of appropriate national policies, guidelines and regulations for promoting sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, and encourages UN Member States and regional and international financial institutions to support sustainable tourism projects, enabling the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises, promoting cooperatives and facilitating access to inclusive financial services, including microcredit initiatives for the poor, local and indigenous communities.
The resolution was adopted by consensus and sponsored by an impressive total number of 107 Member States, including Morocco, which, as on previous occasions, was the lead sponsor and in that capacity had steered the whole negotiating process to a successful conclusion.
“UNWTO welcomes this remarkable acknowledgement of tourism’s ability to advance sustainable development across the world”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
“The wide-ranging support to this resolution mirrors the increasing awareness of the vital role tourism plays in a sustainable future for all and opens the doors for supportive national policies and international financing for sustainable tourism.”
The resolution places sustainable tourism firmly on the UN post-2015 agenda as it requests UNWTO and other United Nations agencies to develop “…recommendations on ways and means to promote sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, as a tool for fighting poverty and promoting sustainable development …” to be submitted to the seventy-first session of the UN General Assembly in 2016.