UN speaking as one ­- supporting the transformation to a green economy


Ahead of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark (December 2009), UNWTO has joined several UN agencies to release an Interagency Statement of the United Nations System: “Green Economy: A Transformation to Address Multiple Crises.” This statement underlines the necessity for leading economies to come together and strengthen the coordination of their respective stimulus programs to both revive economic growth and begin the transformation towards a green economy. Tourism is among the sectors singled out in the statement following UNWTO’s awareness-raising efforts regarding tourism’s potential to play an integral role in both economic recovery and the shift towards a green economy.

The joint statement highlights tourism as one of the industries in which investments for development would be most welcome. The industry’s carbon emissions, at 5 percent of the total, are significant but manageable with adaptation and new technology. Developing countries are particularly dependant on revenues from international tourism to finance their development agenda and will need special financial support to help them make the changes necessary to become climate neutral.

UNWTO secretary-general ad interim Taleb Rifai has underscored that, “Tourism can contribute through carbon-clean operations, jobs in environment management, and energy-efficient construction, whilst aiding countries to restore their damaged economies in line with the Davos Declaration Process.”

UNWTO’s action-oriented Davos Declaration Process – produced with the input from the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – is a landmark in the organization’s longstanding campaign to raise the profile of this issue and lead a concerted industry response. The declaration stresses the need for the sector to “rapidly respond to climate change, within the evolving UN framework if it is to grow in a sustainable manner.”

The current economic crisis should be viewed as an opportunity to make the changes needed to improve the industry. These changes are necessary for the industry to remain healthy and must be undertaken with the shift towards a green economy and sustainability in mind. This multi-target approach will ensure the sustainable development of our industry.

UNWTO promotes tourism and travel as a leader in the transformation towards a green economy and encouraging investment in green infrastructure – airports, high speed rail, roads, and ports.

A new climate deal is expected to be reached at the UN Climate Change Conference this December in Copenhagen. The key objective is to lower emissions to tolerable levels through use of clean energy and shared responsibility and benefits by all states.

Interagency Statement of the United Nations System: “Green Economy: A Transformation to Address Multiple Crises” http://www.unwto.org/media/news/en/pdf/InteragencyJointStatement.pdf

From Davos to Bali: A Tourism Contribution to the Challenge of Climate Change http://www.unwto.org/climate/index.php