Special Correspondent

Issue to be taken up at UNWTO assembly

India aware of challenge faced from climate change

Tourism plays an important role in the economy

NEW DELHI: India has said that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (WTO) should not become an instrument to maintain economic status quo and encourage the use of environmental conditionalities as barriers to international tourism, particularly in developing countries.

Multilateral instrument

“The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has one of the largest number of state parties of any multilateral instrument. It is, therefore, appropriate that matters relating to climate change are addressed in the UNFCCC,” Union Tourism Secretary Sheelbhadra Banerjee told the Ministerial Summit on Tourism and Climate Change held at London last week.

At the UNWTO, we need to try and take stock of the situation as it affects our sector and see what can be done to adapt to the inevitability of further global warming, especially as far as developing countries are concerned.

India’s objection to the UNWTO declaration to this effect made at Davos has been put on record and would be taken up for adoption at the UNWTO general assembly in Cartegena de Indias, Columbia, later this week and would be presented at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali in December.

Mr. Banerjee said India was acutely aware of the considerable challenge faced from climate change.

High level emissions

“We, like other developing countries, bear an inordinate share of the burden of climate change even though this is due to high level emissions of developing countries. In such circumstances, we must significantly shore up our abilities to cope with and adapt to climate change. To be able to do so, we need development, which is also the best form of adaptation,” he said.

Mr. Banerjee said tourism played an extremely important role in the economy of the country and it would like to see this sector deliver on its full potential in assisting with accelerated economic growth and development.

“We are very conscious of the need to promote sustainable development of tourism. Our efforts are aimed at making India an ecologically and socially sensitive tourism destination.”

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