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Ban Ki-moon welcomes decision by tourism meeting to focus on climate change

Ban Ki-moon welcomes decision by tourism meeting to focus on climate change

As preparations build for next month’s landmark conference on climate change in Bali, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the decision by the World Tourism Organization’s General Assembly to focus on the issue.

In a video message to the Assembly’s meeting in Cartagena, Mr. Ban pointed out that tourism is becoming increasingly important to the world economy and global community. “It is more and more connected with issues at the top of the United Nations agenda, from terrorism and conflict to natural disasters, epidemics, poverty and climate change.”

He commended the Assembly for the themes it has chosen to discuss during its session, including adapting to the impact of climate change, and limiting tourism’s own contribution to greenhouse-gas emissions. “I particularly welcome this focus as we prepare for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali next month.”

Delegates at the Bali conference are expected to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding pact limiting greenhouse gas emissions which is set to expire in 2012.

Mr. Ban also welcomed the Assembly’s decision to discuss risk prevention and crisis management, including preparing for the possibility of a flu pandemic, and sustainable tourism as a tool for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of eight antipoverty targets adopted by a 2000 UN summit.