UN reaches “milestone resolution” on sustainable tourism

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The resolution is intended to support initiatives in "poor, local and indigenous communities" (photo by Craig Burrows)
The resolution is intended to support initiatives in “poor, local and indigenous communities” (photo by Craig Burrows)

The UNWTO has hailed a “milestone resolution” on sustainable tourism by the UN General Assembly.

The resolution, which was reached in New York, “recognises the contribution of sustainable tourism to poverty eradication, community development and the protection of biodiversity”. In adopting this resolution, the UN will now promote the development sustainable tourism projects globally.

“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.”

Taleb Rifai

Significantly broader in scope than previous resolutions on the subject, the latest policy encourages UN member states and regional and international financial institutions to support sustainable tourism projects. This, according to the UNWTO, will enable the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises, promote cooperatives and allow access to financial services. This will include initiatives in poor, local and indigenous communities.

The resolution was adopted by consensus, with a total of 107 member states approving the motion. These included Morocco, which led the process and steered it to this successful conclusion.

The resolution places sustainable tourism on the UN agenda. It will now request “recommendations on ways and means to promote sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, as a tool for fighting poverty and promoting sustainable development.” These suggestions will be submitted to the UN General Assembly in 2016.

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