Opening Ceremony at the 30th Joint CAP-CSA Meeting and Regional Seminar on Tourism, Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development in Fiji

18/06/2018
Nadi, Fiji
 
 
Minister Sayed-Kaiyum, Mr. Attorney-General,
 
Thank you for welcoming us to Fiji today.
 
Fiji is a growing economy and one of the most advanced in the Pacific, with tourism its leading economic activity.
Tourism reaches into different sections of the economy, boosts trade and provides a wide range of opportunities.
 
We are grateful to your government for recognizing this and making tourism a pillar of your National Development Plan.
 
Minister Koya,
 
Tourism in Fiji has steadily increased for years, with arrivals almost doubling between 2005 and 2017.
 
You recognize that innovative policies are the key to sustaining growth in tourism and using it as a tool to create a sustainable economy.
 
I commend you for your approach to tourism and thank you for your collaboration.
 
Minister Yahya (of Indonesia),
 
Thank you for your support and leadership as Chair of the UNWTO Commission meeting.
 
Indonesia is one of the biggest tourism economies in South East Asia.
It has long played a key role in tourism development in the region.
 
I look forward to our further collaboration over the next days and over the long term.
 
Honourable Ministers, Ambassadors and Heads of Delegation
Representatives of tourism and regional authorities
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
I thank you for joining us at this seminar. We are here to discuss the key issues of climate change and biodiversity in the context of tourism.
 
Fiji has been at the forefront of the international climate change discussion.
Last year, Fiji became the first Small Island Developing State to head the United Nations climate change conference.
This is the world meeting for sustainability and climate resilience.
 
Fiji is also one of the most vulnerable states currently impacted by climate change and biodiversity loss. 
Fiji knows that this is a threat not just to the country, but to the region.
 
Tourism is here to help you.
 
Asia and the Pacific saw 324 million tourist arrivals in 2017.
For years, this has been the fastest-growing tourism region in the world.
But we must not just grow more; we must also grow better!
 
Like almost any human activity, tourism has an impact on natural resources.
But at the same time, it has great socio-economic relevance.
It has the potential to make a meaningful difference to protection of natural resources and against climate change. 
I mean both in terms of raising awareness and taking real action.
 
The new UNWTO vision has advancing sustainability through tourism as a key priority.
We know that we need evidence to take action.
 
We are working on ways to measure tourism’s impact on sustainability.
This includes a strong ‘Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism’ in social, economic and environmental terms.
It includes an International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories.
We currently have 22 of these, including 15 in Asia and the Pacific.
And it includes a web platform which monitors how policies, business operations and investments are contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.
 
Two of the Goals are specifically about taking action to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.
UNWTO is doing exactly that.
We are building the foundations for the next level of climate-friendly initiatives.
Soon we will present an up-to-date estimate of global CO2 emissions from tourism, including from transport.
This evidence will help us to take action and raise awareness.
 
People need to know they can and should take more sustainable and environmentally friendly actions.
For example, Indonesia has encouraged its people to develop tourism products that preserve their local traditions and identity.
 
Minister, your policies have also given destinations the incentive to take action and become sustainable tourism observatories.
 
The priorities of UNWTO are shaped by listening and responding to your needs.
Let us use this meeting to strengthen our partnerships and make a difference in the climate action efforts.
 
I thank you and extend my best wishes for a successful seminar.