UNWTO Regional Seminar on Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Tourism Development

As this year marks the first anniversary of the celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, one of the main objectives of the UNWTO Regional Seminar on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism Development is to commemorate the International Year while continuing to advance the contribution of tourism to the new 2030 Development Agenda. Moreover, climate change and biodiversity constitute 2 important pillars of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 13 for example is an urgent call to the international community for action to curb climate change and its impact on tourism destinations. It also highlights the lead role tourism can play to mitigate the effect of the climate change phenomenon on potentially vulnerable tourist areas, their competitiveness and their sustainability. Halting the loss of biodiversity is a very important plea embedded in Goal 15, and tourism’s vital role in this goes beyond the conservation and preservation of biodiversity to encompass terrestrial ecosystems, efforts towards reducing waste and consumption, conserving flora and wildlife as well as awareness-raising activities.

Conference Documents:


Opening Ceremony of the 30th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia and the UNWTO Regional Seminar on Tourism, Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development

High-Level Dialogue: “How to Address the Issue of Climate Change in Tourism Development”   

The High-Level Dialogue will address the policy and governance frameworks necessary to support sustainable development of tourism considering the onslaught of climate change, looking at steps that can be taken by both the public and the private sector during the planning, development and operational phases of tourism initiatives. It will look at the roles and responsibilities of both the public sector and the private sector, and explore how different governance instruments can be used to ensure that tourism makes an optimal contribution to all aspects of sustainability.

Introduction by Mr. Xu Jing, Director of the Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO

Moderator: Ms. Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing TripAdvisor

  • Hon. Mr. Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources of Fiji
  • Hon. Emil Tammur, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture for Papua New Guinea
  • Mr. Zhu Shanzhong, Executive Director, UNWTO
  • Hon. Mr. McKenzie Kiritome, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade,Tourism and Labor for Tuvalu
  • Hon. Ms. Nia Niscaya, Deputy Minister for Tourism Marketing of Indonesia
  • Mr. Upali Ratnayake, Director General, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
  • Ms. Adela Issachar Aru, CEO Vanuatu Tourism Office
  • Mr. Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA
  • Mr. Chris Cocker, CEO of SPTO

Technical session   

Panel 1  

Addressing Sustainability through Tourism Policy and Global Partnership Within the scope of Climate Change and Biodiversity

Key Note Presentation of Ms. Serena Heckler, Programme Specialist Natural Sciences, UNESCO Office for the Pacific States: Sustainable Tourism in UNESCO designated sites in the Pacific: towards ecological, economic and climate resilience

Presentation by Mr. Shaheen Ali, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Fiji on Fiji’s Policy and Regulatory Framework focused on Sustainable Development

Moderator: Dr. Ronda Green, Chairman of Wildlife Tourism Australia and Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University

  • Hon. Mr. Shaheen Ali, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Fiji on Fiji’s Policy and Regulatory Framework focused on Sustainable Development
  • Hon. Mr. Nikhil Ranjan Roy, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and CEO of the Bangladesh Tourism Board
  • Ms. SooYeon Jin, Forestry Food Security Officer, FAO
  • Ms. Serena Heckler, Programme Specialist Natural Sciences, UNESCO Office for the Pacific States

Panel 2   

Financing Sustainable Tourism Development Initiatives Tackling Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

Key Note Presentation of Mr. Autif Sayyed, Green Building Specialist for Asia and the Pacific: Is There a Business Case for Sustainable Tourism?

Moderator: Dr. Thomas Bauer, Head of School of Tourism and Hospitality Management of the University of South Pacific