International Coalition of Tourism Partners says it`s time to reconvene the Tourism Climate Summit
To paraphrase President Clinton,
“It`s the climate stupid.“
Someone famously said that the Declaration of Independence, the Lord`s Prayer and the Gettysburg Address were all written on one page of paper, but the EU Regulation on harmonization of lawn mower noise took 66 pages.
I am reminded of that, by the continuing debate on Climate Change, where detailed high level Report after Report can be largely summarized in a few simple dot points:
- The Climate is changing, the science is overwhelming and if the whole world doesn`t take responsive action, the impacts will be increasingly devastating. We`ve known this for years but if we want the ultimate proof, extreme weather - unpredicted storms, floods, fires and droughts, as well as deadly smog -is hammering the message home 24/7 on our mobile devices and TV screens.
- Government action has been steadily increasing and it will now escalate rapidly - just check out the new commitments by world leaders in the build up to the 2015 Paris Climate Summit and the new UN Sustainable Development Goals; with the US and China aligned and rapidly moving closer to the tough EU Climate response programs.
- This will mean big financing shifts, tough new laws and some very bold green growth choices, but they all boil down to one simple issue - change or be changed. Five years from now this landscape will look completely different - tougher carbon targets, spreading regulation, impact assessment, taxes, incentives, CSR and consumerism and above all exponentially engaging technology - all pushing the low carbon, green growth envelope.
- We are all in this together - as a society we are not doing enough to respond and Travel and Tourism is regrettably behind the curve. Our institutional focus on economic growth with inadequate assessment of impacts, our fragmented SME dependent supply chain, with so much product geared to weather and so much focus in areas at risk - particularly around water.
- Our sector is simply an integral part of the bigger picture. There are lots of low carbon initiatives spreading and moving into the mainstream - some global, many local, with cities, cars and planes as key drivers. But to maintain any control over our future we need to go further, faster, smarter.
- 5 years ago in preparation for the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit - seen then as a defining global response - we stepped up to the plate with the UNWTO, WMO, UNEP led Davos Tourism Climate Summit. Its Declaration was a coherent framework for climate-proofing the Sector. Sadly the follow up has been less coherent - with little tracking, funding & direction for change.
Now we need to up our game, reconvene the Tourism Climate Summit, rapidly update the plan to reflect the evolving realities and commit to find strategies, actions and above all funding mechanisms to lead our sector firmly into the mainstream - linking industry aspirational goals and early stage programs, with overall global green growth and carbon reduction programs.
We should do this rapidly to link to the 2015 Climate and Sustainability Summitry. And like the last time, it must be multi-stakeholder, with objective analysis and open to the need for radical change: only this time it must have a properly funded, legacy tracking and implementing mechanism.
ICTP will advocate for such a shift in policy thinking and action - as a small first step we are increasing our own focus on Climate Proofing of the sector - linking up with Totem Tourism for its strong research base, supporting a University based Green Growth and Travelism Institute for their training systems; upgrading our www.greengrowth2050.com learning site. We will launch the first Climate, Sustainable Mobility and Biodiversity Summer School at Hasselt University in Belgium in August of this year, together with the Director of Belgium`s National Park Ignace Schops. Watch this space.
The International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) is a grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth. ICTP engages communities and their stakeholders to share quality and green opportunities including tools and resources, access to funding, education, and marketing support.
ICTP advocates sustainable aviation growth, streamlined travel formalities, fair coherent taxation, and investments for jobs. ICTP supports the UN Millennium Development Goals, the UN World Tourism Organization`s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, and a range of programs that underpin them. For more information on ICTP go to www.ictp.travel
PHOTO: ICTP President Geoffrey Lipman
MEDIA CONTACTS: International Coalition of Tourism Partners, Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, Chairman, Phone: +1-808-566-9900, firstname.lastname@example.org ; Geoffrey Lipman, President, email@example.com ; Marie-Julie Chaput, Membership Liaison, firstname.lastname@example.org