UN Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro
Tourism ministers and top United Nations officials have stressed the importance of tourism in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and contributing to a more sustainable future. Around 70 ministers gathered at the UN general assembly this week to plot ways in which global tourism growth can be harnessed in support of social and economic development.
Speaking at the Ministerial Roundtable, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro said that by improving basic infrastructure and services, tourism can contribute to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, the first of the eight MDGs. She also said that “community-oriented tourism can promote women’s social and economic mobility”.
In parallel to the MDGs, the Roundtable was also an opportunity to assess tourism’s sustainability credentials ahead of the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). It was agreed that tourism should be on the agenda at Rio+20, as well as future G20 talks, and ministers agreed to work closely together to advance this objective.
“As the international community prepares to meet in Rio in June 2012 we have a unique opportunity to place tourism as part of the debate,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. He highlighted how tourism, identified by the UN as one of ten key sectors for a green economy, could deliver on the summit objective of building a safer, more equitable, greener and more prosperous world for all.