A new report from the IUCN looks at conservation prospects, threats, protection and management of natural World Heritage sites. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 2 summarises the key trends in the state of conservation of natural World Heritage sites, the threats and pressures they are facing, and the effectiveness of their protection and management. The top three current threats are all areas in which CABI works, with invasive species, climate change and tourism impacts, in that order, being assessed as the most significant threats to natural World Heritage.
This week, a number of CABI staff attended the World Travel Market, the annual gathering of the travel industry in London. Among a packed Responsible Tourism programme at the event on Tuesday 7 November was a panel session looking at what the priorities for Responsible Tourism should be for the next five years. Fifteen years on from the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism, new challenges have arisen, and issues such as climate change have become more urgent. So what should policy makers, tourism companies and destinations be focussing on? A poll leading up to the WTM on the Responsible Tourism blog had put carbon emissions as the most pressing priority, followed by water and then waste. But did the panel agree?
Last month the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) reported that an international measure that aims to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species had come into force (see the full article on the IISD website).
The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) addresses aquatic invasive species by requiring ships to implement a ballast water management plan, among other actions.
At the second Greater Mekong Subregion Agriculture Ministers Meeting, which opened yesterday in Siem Reap province in Cambodia, ministers from the six GMS countries – Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – are discussing the most important issues in agricultural sectors of the sub-region. The main topics in the meeting focus on increasing productivity in the agriculture sectors of the sub-region countries and also potential markets for agricultural products, and included in this is developing agrotourism. Linkages between agriculture and tourism can be beneficial to both industries, and tourism is also seen as a way of boosting rural employment and economies. CABI, which is involved in both agricultural and tourism development, is represented at the event by Dr Qiaoqiao Zhang, Memberships Director & Secretary to CABI Executive Council.
Planeta.com, a website promoting “conscious travel”, has designated the 7-13 August as Indigenous Peoples Week, when it aims to promote news, social media and storytelling about indigenous peoples and tourism. Like many themes in tourism, this is one where there is both a positive and a negative side. Where tourism development is led and managed by indigenous people, it can not only be a source of income, but help to maintain traditions, culture and crafts. But all too often tourism has instead exploited vulnerable populations, with the most extreme cases being the ‘human safaris’ where tourists are taken to places such as India’s Andaman Islands to view and photograph tribal populations as if they were animals in a zoo. Indigenous peoples in the worst examples can suffer from diseases newly introduced by visitors, or be vulnerable to both financial and sexual exploitation. Indigenous peoples with little economic or political power can also be displaced from their traditional territories to make way for tourist development, or prohibited from using natural resources in areas designated for conservation and ecotourism.
People who are aware of CABI through our work in agriculture, the environment, plant protection, or invasive species management, are sometimes surprised to find that we are also engaged in tourism, primarily through publishing books and database products. With tourism in overcrowded Western cities such as Barcelona and Venice increasingly seen as a problem rather than an asset, where does tourism fit in with sustainable development and improving livelihoods? A clue is given by 2017 having been designated the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations, and the inclusion of tourism in Goals 8, 12 and 14 of the SDGs. And a report published this week by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlights how flourishing tourism in Africa is putting millions of people to work and adding billions of dollars to national economies.
The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. This year, to coincide with the observance of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, sustainable tourism has been chosen as the theme for Biodiversity Day. The theme reflects both the value of biodiversity for tourism, and the role of well-managed tourism in helping to protect wildlife and biodiversity values.
According to the Convention for Biological Diversity: “Biodiversity, at the level of species and ecosystems, provides an important foundation for many aspects of tourism. Recognition of the great importance to tourism economies of attractive landscapes and a rich biodiversity underpins the political and economic case for biodiversity conservation. Many issues addressed under the Convention on Biological Diversity directly affect the tourism sector. A well-managed tourist sector can contribute significantly to reducing threats to, and maintain or increase, key wildlife populations and biodiversity values through tourism revenue.”