The international conference on climate change and tourism, "urges action by the entire tourism sector - to face climate change as one of the greatest challenges to sustainable development and to the Millennium Development Goals in the 21st Century."
The Davos Declaration presented at the closing of the three-day Conference underscores that "the tourism sector must rapidly respond to climate change, within the evolving UN framework if it is to grow in a sustainable manner".
The Conference was organized by UNWTO together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Swiss Government.
UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman said that "We know that the solutions for climate change and for poverty are interrelated.
Here at Davos, the tourism sector committed itself to take a long-term strategic position on these issues, starting now, and to do this as a contribution to the UN Secretary-General's global roadmap for the Climate Change Conference in Bali, at the end of this year.
We leave Davos more optimistic about our future on the common agreement to build upon quadruple bottom line sustainability of economic, social, environmental and climate responsiveness."This will require action for the tourism sector to:
- mitigate its Greenhouse Gas GHG emissions, derived especially from transport and accommodation activities;
- adapt tourism businesses and destinations to changing climate conditions;
- apply existing and new technology to improve energy efficiency; and
- secure financial resources to help poor regions and countries.
Stefanos Fotiou, head of UNEP's Tourism Unit, stressed how the Conference proved
"that the tourism industry is challenged by climate change and at the same time is not an insignificant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The Conference has also demonstrated that, through a more intelligent and better managed development trajectory, tourism can assist in combating poverty in developing countries, in reducing its own carbon footprint and make a contribution to the conservation of natural and nature-based resources. In short, tourism has a potentially very important and positive role to play in the key sustainability challenges of our age."
The Davos Conference called on UNWTO, in collaboration with UNEP and WMO, to strengthen this process, and to convene a Third Conference on Climate Change and Tourism, at an appropriate time in the future, to review progress, to maintain response levels and to identify further needs and actions.
Jeremiah Lengoasa, Assistant Secretary-General of WMO said that "While climate is, in fact, a valuable and essential resource for tourism, there can be no complacency with respect to the power of climate hazards and climate change to affect the infrastructure, the people, the financial networks and the ecosystems that are vital to the success of tourism at all levels.
WMO urges governments and the industry to strengthen climate-tourism partnerships and effectively use climate information and prediction services provided by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, and to incorporate climate factors in tourism policies, development and management plans, so as to ensure a sustainable future for the sector".
The Davos Declaration and results of the Conference will provide the basis for the UNWTO Minister's Summit on Tourism and Climate Change, scheduled at the World Travel Market, London, UK, 13 November 2007. It will be submitted for adoption at the UNWTO General Assembly in Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia, 23-29 November 2007, and also will be presented at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007.