“Tourism United for Climate Action” – UNWTO side event at COP28

一    Radhika Arapally
|    December 14, 2023

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“Tourism United for Climate Action”

UNWTO side event

For COP28 UAE, there was no thematic day for tourism. However, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) acknowledged the commendable efforts of the tourism sector by officially including the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism within the Global Climate Action Platform. 

During a dedicated COP28 side event focused on tourism, key industry players,  showcased tangible climate action initiatives and efforts related to decarbonization. The event also marked the public consultation release of the Policy Guidance by UNWTO to support climate action by National Tourism Authorities.

Industr leaders on the panel:

  • Mr. Crispin D’Auvergne, Programme Director, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States
  • Ms. Gloria Fluxà, Vice-Chairman & Chief Sustainability Officer, Iberostar Group and Vice-Chair of World Travel and Tourism Council
  • Ms. Inge Huijbrechts, Global Senior Vice President Sustainability, Security and Corporate Communications, Radisson Hotel Group
  • Mr. Glenn Mandziuk, CEO, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance
  • Mr. Frederic Degret, CEO, NOAH ReGen

Stressing the significance of collective action at all levels within the tourism sector, UNWTO Executive Director Zoritsa Urosevic urged Member States to endorse the Glasgow Declaration, fostering an expedited transition toward the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The impact and growth of the Glasgow Declaration, launched in November 2021, are noteworthy. With 857 signatories from every continent and over 90 countries as of November 2023, each commitment aligns with global goals, including halving emissions by 2030 and achieving Net Zero by 2050. Signatories pledge to publish a comprehensive Climate Action Plan annually.

Sustainability Hospitality Alliance’s CEO, Glenn Mandziuk, underscored the organization’s dedication to the Glasgow Declaration during the UNWTO side event. Introducing three transformative tools—Net Positive Hospitality Simulation, Academy, and digital Pathway—Glenn aims to drive the tourism sector toward a sustainable and responsible future.

In addressing current challenges within the industry, Glenn emphasized the evolving expectations of communities, the increasing willingness of consumers to pay for sustainability, and the changing priorities of the employees of the future. Global leaders, including Gloria Fluxà Thienemann (Iberostar Group) and Inge Huijbrechts, MBA (Radisson Hotel Group), echoed these sentiments while sharing updates on decarbonization and their broader environmental sustainability progress. Their insights offer hope for the future, emphasizing the collaborative efforts needed to overcome shared challenges. Inge shared prioritise for Raddsion Hotel Group as Green Buildings, Green Energy and Green Operations.

Delving into the implementation of the Glasgow Declaration at COP28 in Dubai, UNWTO highlighted collective progress through the inaugural Glasgow Declaration Implementation Report (2023). Out of 420 signatories, 261 submitted detailed Climate Action Plans, with 70% showcasing efforts to measure CO2 emissions related to their operations. The industry leaders showcased their initiatives in the exhibition booth “Transforming the way we Travel which highlighted diverse decarbonization approaches and fostering a comprehensive database of actionable measures for various stakeholders.

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