BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Today the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) joins the world in recognizing and celebrating Earth Day.
Here at the CTO our core purpose is to lead sustainable tourism as we strive to make the Caribbean the leading sustainable tourism destination in the world. The tourism sector and the environment are inextricably linked and environmentally responsible tourism is paramount to the sector’s sustainability and overall success.
Tourism must be stewarded and balanced so that the benefits for the environment, the communities it serves, its employees and the economy, outweigh the costs.
Two years ago, we joined the rest of the environmentally-conscious world in lobbying for a new international climate change agreement backed by supportive and where necessary, punitive national initiatives that encourage more responsible environmentally friendly behavior.
At the recently concluded Conference of Parties 21 *(COP21) the Caribbean’s position was clear and we at the Caribbean Tourism Organization endorsed the call for “1.5 to stay alive”. We were thrilled with the news that an agreement had been reached.
Today, at a ceremony at the United Nations, President Barack Obama of the United States and President Xi Jinping of China will be the first to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, the first day the United Nations accord will be open for government signatures.
This new agreement offers hope. As many of CTO’s members are Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we remain optimistic that the tremendous strides made in Paris will help to ensure that this issue continues to occupy a prominent position on the global agenda.
This year’s Earth Day theme ‘Trees for the Earth’ contributes to three main positives for a better world:
• The mitigation of climate change and pollution,
• Protection of biodiversity
• Supporting community and livelihoods
The Caribbean Tourism Organization pledges to pursue additional creative solutions to the many issues that face us, to benefit our citizens and visitors for generations to come. We hope that you will join us in our pledge and be part of the commitment to be socially and environmentally responsible.
Happy Earth Day!