Regenerative Travel Advocates for Climate Solutions at COP28 Dubai

Written byAmanda Ho | Regenerative Travel
Date

COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, now underway through December 12, 2023, in Dubai, UAE, is a critical global summit under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It brings together nearly every nation to confront the escalating climate crisis. The conference’s primary objectives include implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement, with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, thereby limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This goal aligns with the broader ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. COP28 is anticipated to attract over 70,000 delegates, encompassing a diverse group ranging from state representatives to business leaders, climate scientists, and Indigenous Peoples.

A significant aspect of COP28 is the first-ever global stocktake, a comprehensive assessment of collective progress towards the Paris Agreement goals. This stocktake is crucial in determining if current efforts are sufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and will inform government decisions on climate action plans due by 2025​​.

COP28 UAE at Expo City Dubai

The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, a key initiative introduced at COP26, will be prominently featured at COP28. This declaration is a vital mechanism for increasing urgency in accelerating climate action within the tourism sector. It aims to support global efforts to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve Net Zero emissions before 2050. Signatories of the Glasgow Declaration commit to implementing comprehensive climate action plans that align with its five pathways: Measure, Decarbonize, Regenerate, Collaborate, and Finance. These plans include reporting on progress and actions taken, and promoting collaboration and sharing of best practices to facilitate rapid achievement of targets​​​​.

Tourism, a sector responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions and one of the fastest-growing emission sources, initially seemed underrepresented in COP28 discussions. However, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently announced its side event titled “Tourism United for Climate Action – Delivering on the Commitments of the Glasgow Declaration” at COP28 taking place on December 5th. This event will showcase the tourism sector’s capacity for concrete climate action, focusing on measuring tourism emissions, implementing decarbonization strategies, applying regenerative approaches to destinations, and exploring innovative finance solutions.

Bucuti and Tara Resort in Aruba

In addition, the Glasgow Declaration signatories have an opportunity to present their work at COP28, emphasizing solutions to the five pathways of the Glasgow Declaration: Measure, Decarbonize, Regenerate, Collaborate, and Finance including Bucuti and Tara Resort, our founding Regenerative Hotel™ in Aruba. A symbol of regenerative hospitality and the first CarbonNeutral®-certified resort in the Caribbean, founded by Ewald Biemans, the resort has become a case study in environmental responsibility. It has implemented energy-saving measures like solar panels and innovative water-saving projects, utilizing rainwater and greywater for irrigation. These efforts are not only environmentally sound but also economically beneficial, given Aruba’s high costs for energy and water.

Nicole Robinson, serving as the Chief Marketing Officer at andBeyond and a member of the Advisory Board for Regenerative Travel, will speak in the Green Zone, joined by Juliet Kinsman, a prominent advocate for sustainable tourism with Extreme Hangout on December 7th. Their discussion will focus on the crucial role of fostering community engagement in tourism, emphasizing the preservation of culture and the environment, and the benefits it brings to local communities.

Sherif El-Ghamrawy, the founder of Basata Ecolodge, Egypt’s first ecolodge, will represent the Sustainable Tourism Organization (STO) of Egypt at COP28 on December 6th. El-Ghamrawy’s sessions will focus on sustainable tourism, showcasing the achievements of Basata Ecolodge. Established in 1986, Basata embodies a philosophy of minimal environmental impact and support for local communities. His talks will explore how such innovative models align with the goals of Egypt’s STO, emphasizing sustainable and community-centric tourism practices.

Basata Eco-Lodge in Egypt

Despite these strides, the tourism industry’s full engagement in global climate discussions is essential. Sustainable travel practices and responsible tourism can significantly influence global efforts to combat climate change, underscoring the need for tourism’s active participation in events like COP28. This involvement is crucial not only for environmental preservation but also for the economic survival of many countries heavily reliant on tourism.

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