WTTC and UN Climate Change in new partnership to tackle global warming
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Change) have agreed a common agenda for climate action in tourism.
Agreed at the WTTC Global Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina last week, the partnership backs goals set by the Paris Agreement to maintain temperature levels at 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and the economic importance of tourism to the world’s economy (10% of GDP and one in 10 jobs), the Common Agenda sets out a framework for the two organisations to recognise and address the linkages between tourism and climate change.
Announcing the agreement, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change advised “this is the first time the tourism sector has actively engaged on a global level with the UN Climate agenda.
“We recognise that tourism has a huge role to play in addressing climate change.
While climate change itself poses significant risks to some tourism destinations, in many of the most high-risk areas, tourism can provide opportunities for communities to build resilience to its impacts.
At the same time, as a fast-growing sector, tourism has a responsibility to ensure this growth is sustainable and sits within the parameters set by the Paris Agreement.
“I call on players across the sector to join us in the move towards a climate neutral world.
I am delighted that WTTC is committed to working with us in this ambition.”
WTTC President and Chief Executive Gloria Guevara added “sustainable growth is one of WTTC’s strategic priorities and climate action is a pillar within that.
This is a huge opportunity for our sector to really engage in a meaningful way with the global climate agenda.
We are already seeing how climate change is impacting our sector with extreme weather events, rising sea levels and destruction of biodiversity.
“There are many different initiatives from across the WTTC Membership and beyond to reduce the impact of tourism on climate change and through this new Common Agenda with UN Climate Change we will have a platform to communicate actions and integrate them into the broader initiatives which UN Climate Change is leading, with a particular focus on the upcoming COP24 in Poland.”
Given the importance of tourism to the world economy and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the growing imperative to address climate change in a meaningful way, WTTC and UN Climate Change will work together towards a carbon neutral world with the aim of:
1. Communicating the nature and importance of the interlinkages between tourism and climate change.
2. Raising awareness of the positive contribution tourism can make to building climate resilience.
3. Reducing the contribution of tourism to climate change and supporting quantitative targets and reductions.
WTTC has been actively engaged in climate change conversations since 2009 when the Council set out a comprehensive framework for the sector and set an aspirational target of reducing total carbon emissions by no less than 50% by 2035 with an interim target of 30% by 2020 with a follow up report issued in 2015.
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