Tourism an essential development pillar says UN Deputy Secretary-General

By ZBC Reporter
UNITED Nations(UN) Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, has stressed the significant role tourism can play in the realisation of sustainable development on the continent and called for concerted effect in addressing threats posed by climate change to wildlife and tourism.
The UN boss who is in the country for the sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development Goals being held in Victoria Falls from 24 to 28 February had a chance to visit one of Africa’s biggest wildlife reserves which is home to the big five, the Hwange National Park.
She highlighted that the wildlife and tourism sector presents huge opportunities for economic transformation in most African economies but expressed concern on the negative impacts being posed by climate change to the sector.
“Tourism is a huge opportunity and adds value to any economy but it has to be managed sustainably and today it is being compounded by climate change so there are different elements to it that have to be thought through,” she said.
Zimparks principal ecologist Hilary Madhiri told the UN Deputy Chief Secretary and her team that drought and water shortage as a result of climate change remains one of the major challenges threatening the game reserve ecosystem and biodiversity.
“Drought related mortalities are far more than other deaths hence we need climate change intervention strategies,” Madhiri said.
Globally tourism is increasingly recognised as a powerful tool for development, having the potential to address a wide range of global challenges including poverty, employment, climate change and environmental degradation. The United Nations World Tourism Organization UNWTO has also identified tourism as an essential development pillar.