Bangkok/Madrid: The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have joined forces to publish a series of bi-monthly reports highlighting the linkage between the global travel industry and the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Sustainable Development Goals are to be the focus of a special three-day special UN summit beginning on Friday, Sept 25 at the UN headquarters in New York. More than 150 world leaders are expected to formally adopt an ambitious new agenda that will serve as the launchpad for action by the international community and by national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being for all over the next 15 years.
Agreed by the 193 Member States of the UN, the new framework Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, consists of a Declaration, 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, a section on means of implementation and renewed global partnership, and a framework for review and follow-up.
Mrs Amina J. Mohammed, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, said: “It’s universal so it applies to everyone. We will no longer have a North-South conversation about what the North is doing for the South, but what we are doing for each other. Clearly anything that happens anywhere in this world has that fallout in many other places – from the global financial crisis to conflict and migration, we feel it everywhere – to natural disasters and climate change.”
The joint UNWTO/PATA research report, entitled “Global Trends Shaping Tourism in Asia and the Pacific,” is designed to help the travel & tourism industry become a part of that process and mainstream the SDGs into its plans and actions.
The electronic bimonthly report will be based on materials drawn from the many meetings, reports and media conferences held regularly by UN agencies in Bangkok (ESCAP, WHO, UNICEF, ILO, UNESCO, etc.) as well as other Asia-based groups such as the ADB, GMS, APEC and the like. It will be distributed free of charge. The Bangkok-based Executive Editor of Travel Impact Newswire, Mr Imtiaz Muqbil, has been commissioned to research and compile the reports.
The inaugural report was released at the PATA Travel Mart in Bangalore and the UNWTO annual general meeting in Medellin, Colombia, earlier this month.
The report says in the introduction, “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals must now become the over-arching agenda of global tourism.
“A quick look at the full list of SDGs shows that the tourism sector is perhaps better placed than any other industry to contribute to the cause across-the-board. From protecting the very environment on which it survives to conserving cultural heritage, from providing for a better distribution of wealth to creating jobs for women, travel & tourism does it all.
“The tourism sector must now mainstream these agenda items into its plans, policies and conference programmes. Universities and educational institutions, the travel media and NGOs must all now get involved in imbuing the SDGs into industry consciousness.
“Every year, reports should be produced showing how public and private tourism stakeholders are helping to meet the SDGs. Targets should be balanced to incorporate both the traditional parameters of success (visitor arrivals, expenditure, length of stay, etc.), as well as the 17-point agenda of the SDGs.
“The entire UN system is ready and willing to forge what will be a unique partnership with the tourism sector to shape ‘The Future We Want’ – and successfully achieve it.”
The joint report falls within the scope of the joint PATA/UNWTO strategic partnership signed in April 2013. Research and participation in joint events is a cornerstone of the partnership. They hold the annual UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook which started in Guillin, China, in 2006.
The UN summit on the SDGs starting in New York on Friday will be preceded by an address to the General Assembly by Pope Francis. Performances are also expected by international pop stars and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Shakira and Angélique Kidjo. Malala Yousafzai will then share a message alongside 193 young people representatives from all UN Member States.
Once the goals are adopted, every goal will be read out by a group of different people – female presidents, young children, celebrities and other individuals.
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