s defined in the UNWTO Davos Processon Tourism and Climate Change, thetourism sector has an important role toplay in a long-term cooperative action tocombat climate change. Not least because of its globaleconomic and social value, its contribution tosustainable development and its strong relationshipwith climate. The Copenhagen Accord struck at the 2009 Climate Change Conference (COP15), with plans to cap temperature rise, reduce emissions and raise finance, marked a valuable first step towards tackling climate change in the 21st century.While falling short of an ambitious and legally bindingglobal climate agreement, the outcome wasencouraging, particularly if one considers the many players around the negotiating table, withdiffering concerns and objectives. Indeed, as thelargest gathering of heads of state and government in the history of the UN, the conference marked aturning point in how the world confronts climatechange, an issue with profound implications for allpeople. At COP16, this political and civil momentummust not be lost. Too often, however, decisions on climate change are taken in isolation from the broader tourismframework, a consequence, no doubt, of a limitedunderstanding and recognition of tourism's far-reaching potential. Measures directed towards air transport, for example, singled out for separate mitigation treatment under the UnitedNations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), can have detrimental knock-on effects on many countries, particularlydeveloping countries dependent on tourism for incomeand employment. A heightened awareness of tourism's provencontribution to global challenges may assist delegatesto strike a balance between climate change action andsocio-economic development.TOURISM FOR DEVELOPMENT Tourism represents today an estimated five per cent ofSTRIKING A BALANCE AT COP16: TOURISM ANDCLIMATE CHANGE074TOURISMADR TALEB RIFAI, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS WORLD TOURISM ORGANISATION (UNWTO)Above:In 2009, emergingeconomies received 410 million internationaltourist arrivalsAbove right:Tourism hasan interest and aresponsibility to reduceglobal emissions
the world's GDP and 6-7 per cent of total employment.Tourism has become a key component of global trade,currently generating close to US$3 billion a day inoverall export incomes; accounting for as much as 30per cent of the world's exports of commercial services;and carrying 880 million people across internationalborders in 2009 - spending US$852 billion in the process. Understanding these figures is critical when facing today's major global challenge of a fragile, uneven and jobless recovery and working towards sustained and balanced future growthand development. For many developing countries, tourism is one of their main sustainable income sources, creating mush needed employment and opportunities for development, especially in rural areas. Indeed, in 2009, emerging economies received 410 million international tourist arrivals, a 47 per cent share of the world's total, and US$306 billion in international tourism receipts, 36 per cent of the total. AIR TRANSPORT AND TOURISM Tourism is estimated to be responsible for about fiveper cent of global carbon emissions. Of this, 40 percent comes from air passenger transport, the major,and a growing, contributor to global Greenhouse Gases(GHGs) generated by visitors. In 2009, 51 per cent ofthe 880 million international tourists worldwide arrivedat their destinations by air. In many destinations,particularly those in small islands developing states, inCentral and West Africa or in Central and SouthAmerica, the proportion was much higher.Tourism has an interest and a responsibility to reduce global emissions, advancing adaptation andmitigation strategies in all tourism industries from airtransport to accommodation and other tourismactivities. Yet, mitigation measures, namely thoseaimed at air transport, cannot be taken in isolation,without consideration of the broader tourismframework and its massive contribution to social and economic development and poverty eradication; considered the first and overridingpriorities of developing countries by the CopenhagenAccord. Measures to reduce global greenhouseemissions from air transport cannot afford to ignorethis reality.Despite emitting the least greenhouse gases,developing countries are also the regions most at riskfrom climate change, threatening their economicgrowth and long-term prosperity, and would be doublyaffected if deprived of their income from tourism. Consistent with its commitment to the UN MillenniumDevelopment Goals, and to poverty alleviation inparticular, UNWTO believes that differing treatment isTOURISM075?