UN recognises ecotourism for sustainable development
Published on 18 January, 2013
A recent resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations has recognised ecotourism's role in sustainable development, including protecting the environment in all countries as well as contributing to the fight against poverty in many developing economies.
That's according to Steve Noakes, Senior Lecturer in Tourism at CQUniversity.
Mr Noakes said that, just before Christmas, the UN General Assembly which represents all 193 member states adopted a landmark resolution entitled: ‘Promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environment protection'.
"The resolution calls on UN Member States to adopt policies that promote ecotourism highlighting its positive impact on income generation, job creation and education, and thus on the fight against poverty and hunger," he said.
Mr Noakes represents CQUniversity's Affiliate membership of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and has been a senior consultant on sustainable tourism to the United Nations Environment Program and UN agencies such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
"Importantly, the UN resolution recognises that ecotourism creates significant opportunities for the conservation, protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and of natural areas by encouraging local and indigenous communities in host countries and tourists alike to preserve and respect the natural and cultural heritage," he said.
CQUni's Steve Noakes within leading ecotourism researchers: Prof Dave Weaver (Griffith University, Queensland) and Prof David Simmons (Lincoln University, Christchurch, NZ) at Lamington National Park, Queensland.
The new UN resolution drew on an ecotourism report from the UNWTO which highlighted the need for national tourism plans to account for market demand and local competitive advantages and to promote investment in ecotourism, including creating small and medium-sized enterprises, promoting cooperatives and facilitating access to finance through inclusive financial services such as microcredit initiatives for the poor, local and indigenous communities, in areas of ecotourism potential and rural areas.
"These types of General Assembly resolutions enable ecotourism to remain on the agenda of contributing to the UN Millennium Development Goals, particularly those relating to poverty reduction, gender equity and sustainable development," Mr Noakes said.
"Tourism as a factor of development for developing and developed countries alike is a central theme of courses within the new Tourism degree offered at CQUniversity's Noosa campus and also available via Distance Education."