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New guidance on tourism concessions for protected areas released

The Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Thursday, September 14, 2017 released a new publication titled “Guidelines for tourism partnerships and concessions for protected areas: generating sustainable revenues for conservation and development”.

cristiana pasca palmer

Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

Designed to support protected area authorities and the private sector in their development and use of tourism partnerships and concessioning to contribute financially and technically to biodiversity conservation, the guidelines are geared towards protected area authorities, ministries of environment and tourism, policy experts and interested enterprises. The aim is to enhance the level of financial resources available for conservation management obtained from tourism concessions and partnerships.

The tourism sector is recognised as being the largest global market-based contributor to the financing of protected area systems in many countries. In 2014, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD noted that, under appropriate safeguards, tourism can contribute to protected areas through partnerships and concessions. However, most countries currently underuse tourism as a means to contribute towards the financial sustainability of protected areas. The new guidelines aim to assist countries in addressing this gap.

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Dr. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, CBD Executive Secretary, said: “This ground-breaking publication supports a decision by Parties to the Convention to build the capacity of national and subnational park and protected area agencies to engage in partnerships with the tourism sector to complement public budgetary allocations towards achieving the Global Biodiversity Target 11.” The Global Biodiversity Targets, also known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, are a set of 20 time-bound, measurable targets to be met by the year 2020.

Prepared in the framework of an agreement between the CBD Secretariat and the IUCN and released at the 22nd Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly (UNWTO) in Chengdu, China, the publication includes information on the fundamentals of tourism, different tourism partnerships, financing concessions, a step-by-step guide to concession processes, integrating sustainability, contract management and concession capacity requirements.

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The guidelines were developed as part of a project called “Tourism partnerships and concessions in protected areas: Cooperating for success”, executed on behalf of the CBD Secretariat by the Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS Group) of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Government representatives from the ministries of tourism and environment, protected area agencies, and tourism boards in Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe contributed to the guidelines. Representatives of the CBD, International Finance Corporation, UNWTO and members of the TAPAS Group also provided input.

Dr. Anna Spenceley, Chair of the TAPAS Group, said: “Our collaborative guideline development process has resulted in an informative tool that builds on previous experience and guidance, and is practical and easy-to-use, which is relevant for protected area managers. We are proud to contribute this advice in the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.”

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Funding for the project was provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and by the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Bio-Bridge Initiative. The publication also serves as a contribution to the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns (10YFP).

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