More Countries Advancing SDG 12 through Tourism Policies, UNWTO Finds
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The ‘Baseline Report on the Integration of Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns into Tourism Policies’ is the first-ever global assessment of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) factors within national tourism policies.

The report aims to inspire tourism policymakers and stakeholders to advance implementation of the SDGs, particularly SDG 12.

It was prepared by the World Tourism Organization in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme and with support from the Government of France.

5 June 2019: Countries are increasingly integrating sustainability into their tourism policies, according to a report that provides the first-ever global assessment of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) factors within national tourism policies. SDG target 12.b calls for developing and implementing tools to monitor sustainable development impacts of tourism.

The ‘Baseline Report on the Integration of Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns into Tourism Policies,’ prepared by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and with support from the Government of France, analyzed 101 national tourism policies that refer to sustainability as part of their objectives or vision. Policymakers and stakeholders can use the report to compare and benchmark their own policies against the report’s findings.

The authors report that the tourism sector is expected to grow by an average of 3.3% a year until 2030, when 1.8 billion international tourists are anticipated. The tourism supply chain connects a range of stakeholders, and can lead to positive multiplier effects, the report notes.

The report outlines connections between national tourism policies and various targets of SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production). For example:

  • Tourism policies that address SCP impact areas would directly contribute to achieving SDG target 12.1 (implement the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on SCP) and mainstreaming SCP into national policies;
  • Tourism policies can contribute to SDG target 12.3 (halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses), given the relevance of gastronomy and food to tourism; and
  • Tourism policies can encourage more sustainability reporting by tourism businesses to advance SDG target 12.6 (encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle), and increase information availability on tourism’s impacts.

The report recommends strategic approaches with potential to accelerate the integration of SCP into tourism policies and its implementation on the ground. It calls for using the SDGs as a guiding framework and prioritizing SDG 12 for multiplier effects.

Pointing to SDG 12’s connections to other SDGs, the report highlights that SCP is no longer considered in isolation from growth and is, for example, included under SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth through target 8.4 on improving resource efficiency in SCP.

The authors also recommend: outlining SCP policy instruments to pave the way towards implementation; supporting the regular and timely measurement of SCP for effective implementation; incorporating geospatial data to visualize interactions with the environment; and embracing other innovative approaches, particularly circularity. [UNWTO Press Release] [Publication: Baseline Report on the Integration of Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns into Tourism Policies] [Report Landing Page] [Sustainable Development in Tourism Homepage]

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