The role of tourism in implementing the Paris Agreement was on the table during the recent 22nd session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP22), looking at ways to advance Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate.
The goal of the meeting was aimed at increasing awareness on tourism and climate change-related issues and encourage the sector to engage in actions that reinforce national commitments to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai observed that: “The tourism sector is both a vector and a victim of climate change and we are fully committed to contribute to reach the objectives set by the Paris Agreement. This event was essential to advance this agenda, especially the discussion on measurement and reporting requirements as a basis for identifying and prioritizing climate action in tourism.”
Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC executive secretary, said that: “Sustainable tourism creates opportunities and assembles partners to help transform the industry towards low emissions and more efficient and less polluting operations. We must make tourism and every other industry contributor to our climate change action and a sustainable future,”
The event focused in particular in the need for partnerships with the private sector and the role of sustainable transportation to accelerate climate action in tourism.
As Charles Arden-Clarke, head of the 10YFP Secretariat, sees it: “Climate change can only be addressed if actors from all parts of society – governments, businesses, NGOs and consumers – make a global and broad shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. Accounting for 10% of GDP, 7% of the world’s exports and one in 11 jobs, tourism is one of the main economic sectors in the world, and as such has to be at the core of this essential transition.”