DD: What was the moment of inspiration that led to the creation of the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation?
The thrilling journey of the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation started in 2002, when the UNWTO launched its ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism for Poverty Elimination) Initiative at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.
As a response to the adoption of the UN Millennium Development goals in 2000, the ST-EP initiative was aimed to enhance UNWTO’s work to encourage sustainable tourism – social, economic and ecological – with activities that specifically alleviate poverty, deliver development and create jobs for people living on less than a dollar a day.
At that time, I was representing the Republic of Korea as Chairperson of the Visit Korea Year, and I immediately encouraged our government to join this sustainable tourism venture. In particular, the Korean government expressed its willingness to play an active role in the creation of the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation, in order to bolster efforts to increase political will and funding opportunities to support the ST-EP projects.
As a result, an agreement was signed in 2004 between the Korean Government and the UNWTO to establish and host the ST-EP Foundation in Seoul.
The constitution of the ST-EP Foundation was unanimously approved by the 16th UNWTO General Assembly in December 2005, in Dakar, Senegal.
Three months later, the ST-EP Foundation’s Board of Directors convened its first meeting in Berlin, Germany, and voted the funding of the 6 first ST-EP projects supported by the Foundation.
DD: Were sustainability, capacity-building and knowledge-transfer programs established in the organization from the beginning?
Yes, those programs have been established and implemented from the beginning, based on the main mandate of the ST-EP Foundation, which is to promote poverty elimination through sustainable tourism development programmes and projects that can be carried out while preserving culture and the natural environment, thus contributing to the UN Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs), and then UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
The ST-EP Foundation have implemented various capacity building and knowledge transfer programs that have benefitted over hundred tourism professionals and government officials from African, ASEAN and Latin/Central American countries. Meanwhile, the ST-EP Foundation has promoted the transfer of the Saemaul Movement experience, the Korean sustainable development model, while contributing to its globalization in Africa.
DD: Ultimately, how are your organization and its commitment to reduction of extreme poverty and inequalities good for the environment?
We should remind here that ‘ST-EP’ stands for ‘Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty’, which means that the economic, social and environmental dimensions are equally important.
Most ST-EP projects therefore integrate an environmental component, and are often designed as a means to create economic incentives to protect the environment and to consider natural resources as a tourism asset. For example, the ST-EP Foundation has supported the construction of an eco-lodge in Madagascar to promote the preservation of a forest area as a tourism destination. The Foundation has also supported the development of ecotourism in a network of protected areas and national parks in 10 countries of West Africa.
Finally, it is worthwhile to remind here the 7 ST-EP mechanisms through which tourism can contribute to the social, cultural and environmental pillars of sustainable development. Cross-cutting aspects such as gender equality, social empowerment, the protection of biodiversity and conservation of heritage are as well addressed in ST-EP activities.
Employment of the poor in tourism enterprises
Supply of goods and services to tourism enterprises by the poor or by enterprises employing the poor
Direct sales of goods and services to visitors by the poor (informal economy)
Establishment and running of small, micro or community-based tourism enterprises or joint ventures by the poor (formal economy)
Redistribution of proceeds from tax or charge on tourists or tourism enterprises
Voluntary giving and support by tourists or tourism enterprises
Investment in infrastructure stimulated by tourism also benefiting the poor in the locality, directly or through support to other sectors
<출처> Daily Development : http://www.dailydevelopment.org/blog/over-decade-putting-sustainable-tourism-initiatives-action <저작권자 © STEPE NEWS 무단전재 및 재배포금지>