While the capital of India remains choked with smog and rising air pollution, the 22nd session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP22) discussed the role of tourism in accord to the Paris Agreement to fight the global challenge of climate change.
The International Symposium of the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the United Nations 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), held during COP22, discussed how to advance Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate. The Symposium aimed at increasing awareness on tourism and climate change-related issues and encouraged the sector to engage in actions that reinforce national commitments to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
“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”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
India’s accord to climate change
India after much reluctance signed the Paris Agreement along with more than 170 countries on Friday. Indian Union Minister of State and Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javedkar signed the accord on climate change at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The biggest challenge for India being a part of this fight against climate change is that the burden of the cost of alternate energy sources directly affects the poor. Although the country looks to quadruple the renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022, the primary challenge to supply electricity to every household still remain.
— Shailendra S Bisht (@ilashamr) November 15, 2016
Arriving at Marrakech to attend the COP22, the Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave cleared India’s intentions to see a broad outline for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. India even in the sectors such as tourism is aiming at a low carbon model. The minister said that it is to seen during the summit which all nations including developed and developing countries need to follow and asserted that unless all the countries do this, talks will not yield results. He also referred to the example of Delhi where he said despite pollution levels being high, people continue to burst crackers.
Sustainable practices discussed
The International Symposium was part of the 3-day COP22 Tourism Side Events organized by the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme and hosted by the Ministry of Tourism of Morocco. The Programme is a partnership led by UNWTO with the Governments of France, Morocco and the Republic of Korea as co-leads, with support of the 10YFP Secretariat at UN Environment, aimed at accelerating the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production.
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.
“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 Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, in her video address to the event.
“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 pc of GDP, 7 pc 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.
— India@COP22 (@India4Climate) November 14, 2016