BU academic at United Nations expert meeting

Dr Maharaj Vijay Reddy from the School of Tourism was one of very few speakers invited to an Expert Group Meeting on ‘Sustainable Tourism: Ecotourism, Poverty Reduction and Environmental Protection’, at the United Nations Secretariat, New York (29-30 October 2013).

This expert group meeting was organised by the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development.

Vijay’s presentation was on the topic of planning for sustainable tourism, and highlighted six emerging global challenges in sustainable tourism.

The UN General Assembly, at its 67th session (2012-2013), adopted a resolution on the promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environmental protection, which further elaborated on the close linkages and potential for ecotourism to contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

In this regard, the United Nations invited the UN system and other relevant international organizations, the public sector, private companies and other stakeholders to create capacity for well managed ecotourism with minimal negative environmental and cultural impacts, through dissemination of good practice, tools and guidelines.

The conclusions and recommendations emanating from this meeting will be of value to UN member states aiming to develop eco-tourism potentials, including, among others, Small Island Developing States as well as other countries with coastal, mountainous or forest, lake or desert tourism resources.

Vijay commented that: “The meeting was a big success and it concluded well.

“The participants of this expert group meeting delivered many cutting-edge presentations addressing the global challenges and the opportunities that sustainable tourism offers.

“The key areas we discussed at the UN include: the need for global engagement, the situation of Small Island Developing States and LDCs, developing the market for sustainable tourism services, assessing socio-economic benefits, employment generation and poverty reduction from sustainable tourism and initiatives related to Green Economy transition”.

The organisations represented include the World Bank (IBRD, IFC), UNWTO, UNEP, the European Commission, UNESCO, the World Trade Organisation and representatives from China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Isl. Rep of Iran, Madagascar, Morocco, Samoa (Pacific Islands), Rep. of Korea, Thailand, or Southern Europe and the Caribbean region.

The experts attended the UN NY expert group meeting aim to continue working together to advance sustainable tourism goals.