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Transforming Tourism for a resilient and sustainable post COVID world - Event Summary

The webinar was organized by UNEP on 9 November 2020 in collaboration with OECD and UNECE as a side event of the 26th meeting of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP).

Background of the event


The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest, very powerful wake-up call about the links between environment, economy and human wellbeing. The tourism sector is one of those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.  How to rebuild tourism so that it supports the shift towards more resilient and sustainable communities?


With this question in mind, UNEP brought together more than 350 participants from the wider European region and other parts of the world to discuss how to build back greener by applying principles of circularity, digitalization, innovation and cooperation. Tourism experts, representatives of  European governments, tourism institutions and international organisations, NGOs,  as well as academia shared their ideas and experiences on opportunities and challenges for a more sustainable tourism industry in a post-COVID scenario. The event provided an overview of the  impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector and examples of aligning recovery plans and investments with a transition that meets the objectives of health and safety, sustainability, climate action and biodiversity protection. The speakers highlighted the importance of policy coherence and public-private partnerships, as well as innovation through digital transformation. Many solutions are available and can be efficiently used through close collaboration and coordination among destinations, businesses, the local communities, visitors, policy makers, as well as investors.  



       Next steps

The 56 member countries of the CEP collaborate towards the organization of the next ‘Environment for Europe’ ministerial conference, to be held in Nicosia, Cyprus, on 5-7 October in 2022. The conference will focus on two topics: Sustainable infrastructure and Sustainable tourism. In the lead-up to the conference, UNEP, UNECE, OECD and other partners will facilitate countries’ policy dialogue towards commitments and actions on sustainable infrastructure and sustainable tourism. Both topics are essential to sustainable consumption and production. As the custodian agency of the SDG 12 on ‘Ensuring sustainable consumption, and production patterns’, UNEP develops, promotes and scales up policies and practices that boost the efficient use of natural resources while producing less waste and addressing the challenges of climate change and biodiversity. In a world that still continues to use natural resources unsustainably, the current COVID-19 crisis offers an opportunity to develop tourism policies and practices that promote resource efficiency, sustainable production and consumption patterns, sustainable infrastructure, and creating green and decent jobs.  



Documents and resources available


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Published on November 17, 2020

SDG 12 Targets

Event start date
08:00 am

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