UNWTO, partners support the creation of UN fund for the climate neutrality of tourism

    15 Nov 2021

    Within the framework of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP26, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Panama, and the business group NOAH agreed to work together to implement the United Nations Fund for Climate Neutrality of Tourism. The Fund represents an innovative financing instrument promoted by UNWTO to respond to threats posed by the climate emergency, WAM states.

    In recognition of the existential threat posed by the climate emergency, UNWTO, the government of Panama, and NOAH (Network of Ocean Ambassadors Headquarters) will support the creation of a Capital Fund that will make possible the UN Fund for the Climate Neutrality of Tourism and the creation of a Smart Carbon Exchange Market (MIIC). Led by NOAH together with UNWTO, this market aims to promote the exchange of carbon credits in the most efficient way.

    With this agreement, Panama ratifies its climate leadership and its efforts to conserve and regenerate nature and, at the same time, unleash economic growth through tourism that benefits local communities. Panama is one of only three carbon-negative countries globally – that is, it absorbs more greenhouse gases than it emits.

    The Minister of Tourism of Panama, Iván Eskildsen, highlighted “the role of UNWTO in bringing together a leader in climate response like Panama, firmly committed to tourism as a pillar for the future of people and the planet, and NOAH that will contribute technological and financial solutions to mobilize the necessary resources for a sustainable future for the benefit of all.”

    “These projects reflect UNWTO’s commitment to transform the tourism sector to accelerate the decarbonization of the sector,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. He stressed that this is an example of success based on cooperation between “the UN system, international organizations, UNWTO Member States and the private sector in general.”

    With Panama serving as a pilot country for these initiatives, NOAH will prepare a study in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment to estimate the “blue carbon” reserves in mangroves and seagrasses in protected areas of the country, as well as the reserves of carbon in wetlands.

    For his part, the founder of NOAH, Frederic Degret, confirmed that “to articulate this great project, Panama will host the international headquarters of an Intelligent Carbon Exchange Market, as we have agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNWTO and NOAH.”


    The Glasgow Declaration: A Commitment to a Decade of Climate Action in Tourism

    The Glasgow Declaration aims to act as a catalyst for increased urgency about the need to accelerate climate action in tourism and to secure strong actions and commitment.

    The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism signatories are committing to act now and accelerate climate action to cut global tourism emissions by at least a half over the next decade and reach Net-Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050. Their actions are aligned with five pathways defined in the Declaration: measure, decarbonize, regenerate, collaborate, finance.

    • The Declaration unites those leading tourism’s transformation around a common set of pathways for climate action, by:
    • defining a clear and consistent sector-wide message and approach to climate action in the coming decade, aligned with the broader scientific framework and urgency to act now. 
    • outlining the pathways and specific actions that will accelerate tourism’s ability to transform tourism and achieve net-zero as soon as possible. 
    • encouraging signatories across all tourism sectors to demonstrate their public support for scaling up the sector’s response to the climate emergency.

    Learn how to become a signatory.

    Learn more about the launch of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism: Side-event at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference.

    Learn more about the Glasgow Declaration from two information sessions held on 21 September 2021.

    Learn more about the Glasgow Declaration.

    Frequently Asked Questions.


    We use nature for free. How can tourist thank the wildlife for the experience? Read our author’s column here!

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