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Recommendations of the World Ecotourism Summit

Kia ora!

Attached is the outcome (recommendations) of the World Ecotourism Summit held last week in Quebec.

Enterprise Russell is working with a keen group of Bay of Islands people to stage a conference in the Bay of Islands later this year: 29 and 31 October 2002: Ecotourism: A Sustainable approach for Tourism in the Tai Tokerau region

We believe those coming to our conference will be better informed, committed and able to address these items afterwards, as we are attracting speakers who are knowledgeable and already addressing these factors.

You may know of other people who would like to be kept informed of this conference as it develops. Please ask them to contact me, or for any further information, my email address is er@ernz.org

Thanks, Jacqui Knight

Enterprise Russell Charitable Trust
Our website: http://ernz.org
Promoting the Russell district as a place providing quality
of life and employment opportunities for those living here.

******

Québec City, Canada, 22 May 2002

Annex I – Recommendations of the World Ecotourism Summit, Quebec City,
May 19 to 22, 2002.

The participants to the World Ecotourism Summit, having met in Quebec City, from 19 to 22 May 2002, propose the following recommendations:

A. To Governments

1. formulate national, regional and local ecotourism policies and development strategies that are consistent with the overall objectives of sustainable development, and to do so through a wide consultation process with those who are likely to become involved in, affect, or be affected by ecotourism activities. Furthermore, the principles that apply to ecotourism should be broadened out to cover the entire tourism sector;
2. In conjunction with local communities, the private sector, NGOs and all ecotourism stakeholders, guarantee the protection of nature, local cultures and specially traditional knowledge and genetic resources;
3. ensure the involvement, appropriate participation and necessary coordination of all the relevant public institutions at the national, provincial and local level, (including the establishment of inter-ministerial working groups as appropriate) at different stages in the ecotourism process, while at the same time opening and facilitating the participation of other stakeholders in ecotourism-related decisions. Furthermore, adequate budgetary mechanisms and appropriate legislative frameworks be set up to allow implementation of the objectives and goals set up by these multistakeholder bodies;
4. include in the above framework the necessary regulatory and monitoring mechanisms at the national, regional and local levels, including objective sustainability indicators jointly agreed with all stakeholders and environmental impact assessment studies, to prevent or minimize the occurrence of negative impacts upon communities or the natural environment. Monitoring results should be made available to the general public, since this information will allow tourists to choose an operator who adopts ecotourism principles over one who does not;
5. develop the local and municipal capacity to implement growth management tools such as zoning, and participatory land-use planning not only in protected areas but in buffer zones and other ecotourism development zones;
6. use internationally approved and reviewed guidelines to develop certification schemes, ecolabels and other voluntary initiatives geared towards sustainability in ecotourism, encouraging private operators to join such schemes and promoting their recognition by consumers. However, certification systems should reflect regional and sub-regional criteria and build capacity and provide financial support to make these schemes accessible to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). A regulatory framework is needed for such schemes to fulfill their mission;
7. ensure the provision of technical, financial and human resources development support to micro, small and medium-sized firms, which are the core of ecotourism, with a view to enable them to start, grow and develop their businesses in a sustainable manner. Similarly, that appropriate infrastructure is established in areas with ecotourism potential to stimulate the emergence of local enterprises.
8. define appropriate policies, management plans, and interpretation programs for visitors, and to earmark adequate sources of funding for protected natural areas to manage rapidly growing visitor numbers and protect vulnerable ecosystems, and effectively prevent the use of conservation hotspots. Such plans should include clear norms, direct and indirect management strategies, and regulations with the funds to ensure monitoring of social and environmental impacts for all ecotourism businesses operating in the area, as well as for tourists wishing to visit them;
9. include micro, small and medium-sized ecotourism companies, as well as community-based and NGO-based ecotourism operations in the overall promotional strategies and programmes carried out by the National Tourism Administration, both in the international and domestic markets;
10. develop regional networks and cooperation for promotion and marketing of ecotourism products at the international and national levels;
11. provide incentives to tourism operators (such as marketing and promotion advantages) for them to adopt ecotourism principles and make their operations more environmentally, socially and culturally responsible;
12. ensure that basic environmental and health standards are defined for all ecotourism development even in the most rural areas and in national and regional parks, that can play a pilot role. This should include aspects such as site selection, planning, design, the treatment of solid waste, sewage, and the protection of watersheds, etc., and ensure also that ecotourism development strategies are not undertaken by governments without investment in sustainable infrastructure and the reinforcement of local/municipal capabilities to regulate and monitor such aspects;
13. invest, or support institutions that invest in research programmes on ecotourism and sustainable tourism. To institute baseline studies and surveys that record plant and animal life, with special attention to endangered species, as part of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for any proposed ecotourism development;
14. support the further development of the international principles, guidelines and codes of ethics for sustainable tourism (e.g. such as those proposed by the Convention on Biological Diversity, UNEP, WTO) for the enhancement of international and national legal frameworks, policies and master plans to implement the concept of sustainable development into tourism;
15. consider as one option the reallocation of tenure and management of public lands, from extractive or intensive productive sectors to tourism combined with conservation, wherever this is likely to improve the net social, economic and environmental benefit for the community concerned;
16. promote and develop educational programmes addressed to children and young people to enhance awareness about nature conservation and sustainable use, local and indigenous cultures and their relationship with ecotourism;
17. promote collaboration between outbound tour operators and incoming operators and other service providers and NGOs at the destination to further educate tourists and influence their behaviour at destinations, especially those in developing countries.

B. The private sector

18. conceive, develop and conduct their businesses minimizing negative effects on, and positively contributing to, the conservation of sensitive ecosystems and the environment in general, and directly benefiting local communities;

19. bear in mind that for ecotourism businesses to be sustainable, they need to be profitable for all stakeholders involved, including the projects’ owners, investors, managers and employees, as well as the communities and the conservation organizations of natural areas where it takes place;
20. adopt a reliable certification or other systems of voluntary regulation, such as ecolabels, in order to demonstrate to their potential clients their adherence to sustainability principles and the soundness of the products and services they offer;
21. cooperate with governmental and non-governmental organizations in charge of protected natural areas and conservation of biodiversity, ensuring that ecotourism operations are practiced according to the management plans and other regulations prevailing in those areas, so as to minimize any negative impacts upon them while enhancing the quality of the tourism experience and contribute financially to the conservation of natural resources;
22. make increasing use of local materials and products, as well as local logistical and human resource inputs in their operations, in order to maintain the overall authenticity of the ecotourism product and increase the proportion of financial and other benefits that remain at the destination. To achieve this, private operators should invest in the training of the local workforce;
23. ensure that the supply chain used in building up an ecotourism operation is thoroughly sustainable and consistent with the level of sustainability aimed at in the final product or service to be offered to the customer;
24. work actively with indigenous leadership to ensure that indigenous cultures and communities are depicted accurately and with respect, and that their staff and guests are well and accurately informed regarding local indigenous sites, customs and history;
25. promote among their clients, the tourists, a more ethical behavior vis-à-vis the ecotourism destinations visited, providing environmental education to travelers, professionals and fostering inter-cultural understanding, as well as encouraging voluntary contributions to support local community or conservation initiatives;
26. diversify their offer by developing a wide range of tourist activities at a given destination and extending their operation to different destinations in order to spread the potential benefits of ecotourism and to avoid overcrowding some selected ecotourism sites, thus threatening their long-term sustainability. In this regard, private operators are urged to respect, and contribute to, established visitor impact management systems of ecotourism destinations;
27. create and develop funding mechanisms for the operation of business associations or cooperatives that can assist with ecotourism training, marketing, product development, research and financing;
28. In relation to the above points, formulate and implement company policies for sustainable tourism with a view to applying them in each part of the ecotourism operation.

C. Non-Governmental Organizations, community-based associations, academic and research institutions.

29. provide technical, financial, educational, capacity building and other support to ecotourism destinations, host community organizations, small businesses and the corresponding local authorities in order to ensure that appropriate policies, development and management guidelines, and monitoring mechanisms are being applied towards sustainability;
30. monitor and conduct research on the actual impacts of ecotourism activities upon ecosystems, biodiversity, local indigenous cultures and the socio-economic fabric of the ecotourism destinations;
31. cooperate with public and private organizations ensuring that the data and information generated through research is channeled to support decision-making processes in ecotourism development and management;
32. cooperate with research institutions to develop the most adequate and practical solutions to ecotourism development issues.

D. Inter-governmental organizations, international financial institutions and development assistance agencies

33. develop and assist in the implementation of national and local policy and planning guidelines and evaluation frameworks for ecotourism and its relationships with biodiversity conservation, socio-economic development, respect of human rights, poverty alleviation, nature conservation and other objectives of sustainable development, and to intensify the transfer of such know-how to all countries. Special attention should be paid to countries in a developing stage or least developed status, to small island developing states and to countries with mountain areas, regarding that 2002 is also designated as the International Year of Mountains by the UN;
34. build capacity for regional, national and local organizations for the formulation and application of ecotourism policies and plans, based on international guidelines;
35. develop international standards and financial mechanisms for ecotourism certification systems that takes into account needs of small and medium enterprises and facilitates their access to those procedures;
36. incorporate multistakeholder dialogue processes into policies, guidelines and projects at the global, regional and national levels for the exchange of experiences between countries and sectors involved in ecotourism;
37. strengthen their efforts in identifying the factors that determine the success or failure of ecotourism ventures throughout the world, in order to transfer such experiences and best practices to other nations, by means of publications, field missions, training seminars and technical assistance projects; UNEP and WTO should continue this international dialogue after the Summit on sustainable ecotourism issues, for example by conducting periodical evaluations of ecotourism development through international and regional forums.
38. adapt as necessary their financial facilities and lending conditions and procedures to suit the needs of micro-, small- and medium-sized ecotourism firms that are the core of this industry, as a condition to ensure its long term economic sustainability;
39. develop the internal human resource capacity to support sustainable tourism and ecotourism as a development sub-sector in itself and to ensure that internal expertise, research, and documentation are in place to oversee the use of ecotourism as a sustainable development tool.

E. Local Communities and Municipal Organizations

40. As part of a community vision for development, that may include ecotourism, define and implement a strategy for improving collective benefits for the community through ecotourism development including human, physical, financial, and social capital development, and improved access to technical information;
41. strengthen, nurture and encourage the community’s ability to maintain and use traditional skills that are relevant to ecotourism, particularly home-based arts and crafts, agricultural produce, traditional housing and landscaping that use local natural resources in a sustainable manner.

ENDS

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