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COP28: Tourism delivers on Glasgow declaration’s climate action commitment

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Tourism Climate Action Initiatives

Introduced at COP25 in Glasgow (2021), the Glasgow Declaration marked a pivotal moment in climate commitment, with endorsers pledging to achieve Net-Zero by 2050 at the latest. Beyond this overarching goal, the signatories vowed to formulate and implement dedicated Climate Action plans aligned with the Declaration’s Five Pathways: Measure, Decarbonize, Regenerate, Collaborate, and Finance. This commitment extended globally, with notable progress highlighted in Dubai.

In the inaugural Glasgow Declaration Implementation Report (2023), UNWTO showcased collective advancements. Out of the 420 signatories submitting reports, 261 also presented detailed Climate Action Plans. Impressively, 70% of these plans incorporated measures to quantify CO2 emissions from some or all of their operations. However, the imperative for consensus on measurement methodologies and boundaries is increasingly emphasized.

A notable platform for sharing diverse approaches to decarbonization emerged at the exhibition booth “Transforming the way we Travel” in the Blue Zone on December 10-11. Participants included the Canary Islands, Bucuti & Tara Resort, Lamington Group, Ponant Cruises, Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative, Guava Amenities, and Winnow. The array of decarbonization strategies within these Climate Action Plans offers a rich database of actions applicable to various stakeholders, underscoring the value of collective efforts to address climate change effectively.

Acknowledging the tourism sector’s proactive stance, the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism earned a place in the Global Climate Action Platform of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

UNWTO’s Executive Director, Zoritsa Urosevic, emphasized the sector’s responsibility to act at all levels, urging Member States to endorse the Glasgow Declaration for an expedited transition in line with the Paris Agreement commitments.

Concrete Climate Action Showcase

A dedicated COP28 side event, inaugurated by UNWTO’s General Assembly President, Aziz Abdukhakimov, highlighted the tourism sector’s tangible climate action. This included initiatives such as emissions measurement, decarbonization strategies, regenerative approaches for destinations, and innovative finance. Key participants encompassed the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Iberostar Group, Radisson Hotel Group, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, and NOAH ReGen.

During this event, UNWTO released Policy Guidance for National Tourism Authorities, open for public consultation. Developed as part of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme, the guidance involved the nomination of Climate Action Focal Points in 57 Ministries of Tourism, aimed at enhancing Member States’ capacity for climate action.

Growing Global Impact

By November 2023, the Glasgow Declaration garnered support from 857 signatories across every continent and over 90 countries. Each signatory committed to endorsing the global goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, which includes halving emissions by 2030 and achieving Net Zero by 2050, with an obligation to publish and annually report on their Climate Action Plans. The Declaration’s growing size and impact underscore its significance as a catalyst for meaningful climate action in the tourism sector.

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