Tourism at COP28 – Delivering on the Climate Action Commitments of the Glasgow Declaration

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UNWTO has brought together sector leaders at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) to showcase the progress made in implementing the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action on Tourism. In time for the world’s most important climate conference, the Declaration has been officially included in the Global Climate Action Portal of UNFCCC.

Climate Action Plans for Tourism

The Glasgow Declaration was launched at COP25 in Glasgow (2021), with signatories committing to achieving Net-Zero by 2050 at the latest. Signatories also commit to delivering dedicated Climate Action plans around the Declarations Five Pathways (Measure, Decarbonize, Regenerate, Collaborate and Finance).

In Dubai:

UNWTO outlined the collective progress with the first Glasgow Declaration Implementation Report (2023). Of the 420 signatories who have submitted reports, 261 also submitted a Climate Action Plan.

70% of signatories who submitted plans are also showcasing how they are measuring the CO2 emissions related to some or all of their operations. However, the need for consensus around measurement methodologies and boundaries is of growing importance.

A range of signatories will present at the exhibition booth “Transforming the way we Travel” (Blue Zone, 10-11 December). Among them are the Canary Islands, Bucuti & Tara Resort, Lamington Group, Ponant Cruises, Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative, Guava Amenities, Winnow.

The diversity of decarbonization approaches reported within Climate Action Plans provides an extensive database of actions applicable to different stakeholders. Analysis of the Plans confirms the added value of working collectively on effectively addressing the challenge of climate change.

In recognition of the efforts of the tourism sector to accelerate climate action, the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism has been included by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as one of the initiatives in the Global Climate Action Platform.

UNWTO Executive Director Zoritsa Urosevic, highlighted the importance for the tourism sector to take action at all levels encouraging Member States to sign the Glasgow Declaration in order to accelerate the transition towards the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

Concrete Climate Action for the Sector

A tourism-focused official COP28 side event, opened by the President of UNWTO’s General Assembly, Aziz Abdukhakimov, Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change, Republic of Uzbekistan, showcased the sector’s capacity to enact concrete climate action. This includes through the measurement of emissions, decarbonization strategies, regenerative approaches for destinations and innovative finance. Participants included the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Iberostar Group, Radisson Hotel Group, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and NOAH ReGen

During the side-event, UNWTO released for a public consultation the Policy Guidance to support climate action by National Tourism Authorities, developed as part of the deliverables of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme. The process involved the nomination of Climate Action Focal Points in 57 Ministries of Tourism, to support Member States with capacity building on climate action.

The Glasgow Declaration: Growing in Size and Impact

As of November 2023, the number of signatories has grown to 857, coming from every continent (and from over 90 countries). Each of them has made the commitment to support the global goals set by the Paris Agreement (of halving emissions by 2030 and reaching Net Zero by 2050 at the latest) by publishing a Climate Action Plan and reporting on its implementation publicly on an annual basis.

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