Travel & Tourism at COP15Report from the UN Convention on Biological Diversity  

The historic plan for nature was finalised in Montreal during the early hours of 19th December 2022 to cheers from delegates and impassioned speeches by world leaders. Hailed by Canada’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change as a historic moment, as Paris did for climate, the Convention’s outcomes were presented as the “last chance” to put nature on a path to recovery.  

This was the largest ever delegation of Travel & Tourism at a meeting of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity and WTTC was invited to open proceedings at the Business & Biodiversity Forum. It became a momentous occasion, with the WTTC, UNWTO and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance agreeing to unite to deliver a Nature Positive Tourism future.  

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said at the press conference: “Travel and nature are intrinsically linked. Wildlife tourism creates over $340BN USD each year and supports more than 21 million jobs around the world. Today’s collaboration between WTTC, UNWTO and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, spearheading the sector’s vision to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030, shows our commitment to preserving the planet for future generations.” 

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the agreed plan for nature, sets out ambitious yet achievable plans to increase protected areas to 30% of the planet, safeguarding vital ecosystems from rainforests to wetlands, and to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. It includes four goals and 23 targets ranging from the sustainable use of natural resources and the reduction of pollution and carbon emissions to the restoration of degraded habitats. It is also the first time that the roles, rights and responsibilities of Indigenous Peoples and communities were recognised. 

Business and its roles and responsibilities were also recognised in the Framework, with Targets 14, 15 & 16 setting out the obligations for business:  

Target 14 (Mainstreaming

Ensure the full integration of biodiversity and its multiple values into policies, regulations, planning and development processes, poverty eradication strategies, strategic environmental assessments, environmental impact assessments and, as appropriate, national accounting, within and across all levels of government and across all sectors, in particular those with significant impacts on biodiversity, progressively aligning all relevant public and private activities, fiscal and financial flows with the goals and targets of this framework.  

Target 15 (Assess & Reduce Impacts

Take legal, administrative or policy measures to encourage and enable business, and in particular to ensure that large and transnational companies and financial institutions: 

(a) Regularly monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, including with requirements for all large as well as transnational companies and financial institutions along their operations, supply and value chains and portfolios; 

(b) Provide information needed to consumers to promote sustainable consumption patterns; 

(c) Report on compliance with access and benefit-sharing regulations and measures, as applicable; in order to progressively reduce negative impacts on biodiversity, increase positive impacts, reduce biodiversity-related risks to business and financial institutions, and promote actions to ensure sustainable patterns of production. 

Target 16 (Sustainable Use

Ensure that people are encouraged and enabled to make sustainable consumption choices including by establishing supportive policy, legislative or regulatory frameworks, improving education and access to relevant and accurate information and alternatives, and by 2030, reduce the global footprint of consumption in an equitable manner, including through halving global food waste, significantly reducing overconsumption and substantially reducing waste generation, in order for all people to live well in harmony with Mother Earth. 

Travel & Tourism’s efforts to engage Parties and delegates at COP15 culminated in a statement to the High-Level Segment of proceedings, delivered by UNWTO and addressing Ministers of State: “Together, the Travel & Tourism Alliance will support and inspire governments, business, and society to implement the Global Biodiversity Framework … help transform humanity’s relationship with the natural world, and through investment in global destinations, help support national biodiversity strategies and efforts to achieve the 30×30 Targets, and so allow these destinations to become true ’Guardians of Nature’.” 

At a time when Earth is experiencing the sharpest decline in biodiversity and habitat loss in human history, actions will, of course, be more important than words. The ability of the Nature Positive Tourism partnership to deliver on the Global Biodiversity Framework will be a testament to its success. Work has begun with the development of an implementation plan and by defining key outputs for 2023, and if your business has not already done so, please support our future Vision for a Nature Positive Tourism future. 

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