India to head UN World Tourism Organisation


NEW DELHI (TVLW): India has been unanimously elected to head United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

India’s elevation to the chair of the Executive Council of UNWTO came at the agency’s 82nd meeting held yesterday at Cartegena de Indias, Colombia that warned against discrimination against developing countries on the issue of climate change.

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Significantly, Minister of Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni had said, during the plenary session, that tourism in developing countries should not be curtailed in the name of climate change.

The Council meets twice a year and is empowered to take all measures necessary in consultation with the Secretary General for the implementation of the decisions and the recommendations of the UN General Assembly.

India played a significant role during the debate on tourism and climate change in the general assembly session.

Countries like Brazil, Peru, China, Cuba, Chile, Mexico and Argentina expressed fears that Davos Declaration in its present form would adversely impact the scope of tourism.

The declaration seeks to reduce the “carbon footprints” of tourists, by curtailing transport activity and subsequent emissions.

Soni commended UNWTO’s efforts in sensitising member states on the challenges of climate change through expert studies and research. She urged the Secretary General to take up the crucial issue of transfer of clean technologies and financial assistance to developing countries to tackle climate change at the forthcoming Bali meeting of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change) in December
The UNWTO also adopted a resolution on climate change and tourism.

It took note of the main elements of the Davos Declaration issued on October 3 and of the conclusions reached at the London Ministerial Summit on November 23.

It emphasised that the recommendations emanating from these fora should not discriminate against developing countries by creating obstacles to their economic development and in particular of those nations located far way from tourist generating markets.

The UNWTO also underscored the urgent need for the tourism sector to adapt to climate change conditions and to mitigate greenhouse emissions in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities included in the UNFCCC.