strategy is required to reduce greenhouse gasemissions from within the sector. THE GREEN ECONOMY MUST TAKE OFFIn 2009, recognising that the transition to a lower-carbon economy is an important element of theeconomic recovery and future growth, twenty-oneUnited Nations agencies, including UNWTO, joined inan appeal towards a new production and consumptionmodel. Green Economy: A Transformation to AddressMultiple Crises is a call on the internationalcommunity to transform the challenges of our timesinto an opportunity for a sustainable future by usheringin a global Green Economy. "Let this economicrecovery be the turning point for an ambitious andeffective international response to the multiple crisesfacing humanity," it states. Time is not on our side. The numerous global crises weface, climate change, economic volatility and povertyrequire assertive action without delay. Recognising thecrisis as opportunity and decoupling economic growthfrom environmental degradation are among thechallenges going forward. Right now, we have theopportunity to make the changes necessary in the waywe operate so we can emerge from current challengesstronger and more environmentally responsible.Through innovation, new technologies andcollaboration between all stakeholders, the tourismsector is committed to significantly reducing itsenvironmental footprint and building a globalsustainable market-place. It is also time to push for the recognition of tourism asa key strategic element in the development of asustainable global economy. Environmentallyresponsible tourism is one of the new growth poles ofthe Green Economy; able to provide sustainableinfrastructure, business opportunities, jobs andincome while mitigating and adapting to climatechange and arresting biodiversity decline. It can be aclear and relevant example that economic growth doesnot have to come at the expense of environmentaldecline. The global economic crisis provided anopportunity - to align the short-term response actionswith long-term development strategies and climatechange imperatives - through the transition to theGreen Economy. Tourism is a key component of thisglobal strategic goal. UNWTO ROADMAP FOR RECOVERY:THE ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICALCHALLENGESIn response to the global economic crisis, UNWTOelaborated a Roadmap for Recovery, a set of policyrecommendations in which the Green Economyrepresents the strategic response to economic102TOURISM" "THE NUMEROUSGLOBAL CRISESWE FACE, CLIMATE CHANGE,ECONOMICVOLATILITY ANDPOVERTY REQUIREASSERTIVE ACTIONWITHOUT DELAYMain photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten
TOURISM103Above: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonvisits Kyon Da Village in MyanmarLeft: Environmentallyresponsible tourism is oneof the new growth poles ofthe Green EconomyRight: Dr Taleb Rifai iseager to promote the eco-tourism messageissues. With hundreds of millions of people travellingthe world each year, the tourism industry can raiseawareness through leading the change in products andservices, thereby stimulating the reorientation inproduction and consumption patterns so desperatelyneeded. Ultimately, it will be the choices and actionsof billions of individuals that steer the world along amore climate-friendly path. GLOBAL ACTION FOR GLOBALCHALLENGESThe Green Economy represents a multidimensional,multi-stakeholder shift in our global economic andsocial framework. We need a new mindset; we need tocome together with a common vision and sharedtransformational goals. In Italy last year, G8 leaders agreed to an aggregategoal of reducing their own emissions by 80 per cent ormore by 2050. As we approach COP 16 in Mexico,Canada's G8 Summit is an opportunity for makingprogress on this critical and urgent issue, namely inregards to the financial support for developingcountries as they reduce their own emissions andadapt to the consequences of climate change. In Copenhagen, developed countries agreed to provideup to US$30 billion from 2010 to 2012 in "new andadditional" financing, and also to jointly mobilizeUS$100 billion annually by 2020 from a variety ofsources. Finding ways to provide this financing iscritical to building trust at global climate talks. As theUN specialised agency for the promotion ofsustainable tourism development, UNWTO iscommitted to demonstrating tourism's contribution to the green transformation and its role in facing the climate change challenge and the povertyimperatives. nrecession, poverty and climate change. Aside fromcalling for the strengthening of the resilience of thetourism industry and stimulating its sustainablegrowth, the Roadmap specifically highlights thecontribution of tourism to a low carbon, resourceeffective economic regime. The sheer economic dimension and profound socialimpact of tourism make it a natural lead change agentin the transition to the Green Economy. Providingmillions of jobs worldwide and generating as much asUS$3 billion in services exports per day, the industry iswell-placed to encourage investment and humanresource development in sustainable tourisminitiatives. In the green transformation, new skills will be needed,new green jobs will emerge and tourism can beinstrumental in providing employment in sustainableactivities. Tourism can also be at the forefront ofreconfiguring businesses and infrastructure to deliverfairer and greener returns on investments. Tourismtransport, infrastructure and buildings are primarygreen policy targets. This green investment will go along way towards maximising tourism's contribution toeconomic recovery, decent job creation and reducingthe threats of climate change. Particular attention must be paid to how thedevelopment of green jobs and green tourisminfrastructure investment can be extended todeveloping countries in an affordable and viable way. Itis essential that substantial financial support and lowcost-technology transfers are provided to thesecountries to maximise their involvement in the GreenEconomy Initiative. Perhaps tourism's biggest contribution to the GreenEconomy is its ability to promote a green tourismculture and raise public awareness of environmentalBIOGRAPHYDr Taleb Rifai was elected Secretary-General of theUNWTO on May 12, 2009. Prior to that, he was DeputySecretary-General of the UNWTO and, from 1999 to2003, the Jordanian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.His other posts included that of the Director of Jordan'sEconomic Mission to Washington, the Director-Generalof the Jordanian Investment Promotion Corporation andthe Chairman of the Jordan Tourism Board. Dr Rifai alsoserved as the Minister of Planning and InternationalCooperation from 1995 to 1997, when he was activelyinvolved in policy making and developing investmentstrategies. Dr Rifai was responsible for founding Jordan's firstArchaeological Park in the ancient city of Petra, incollaboration with UNESCO and the World Bank, andother projects in Jerash, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum.