Tourism was urged to discuss ‘how’ it can get involved with governments to contribute to meeting the Paris Agreement and reducing emissions by Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC executive secretary. Her video address, was at the UN’s COP22 side event ‘Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate, a symposium 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.
“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”, said Espinosa.
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. The ICRT presented a ‘real world’ example of how tourism can engage with visitors to reduce consumption and emission.
“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,” said Charles Arden-Clarke, Head of the 10YFP Secretariat.
The International Symposium was part of the 3-day COP22 Tourism Side Events and is part of the partnership programme led by UNWTO aimed at accelerating the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production. The ICRT is a 10 YFP partner and has developed a collaborative knowledge sharing initiative for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development to demonstrate how tourist accommodation can play a more assertive role in reducing consumption and emissions.