I had heard of Pokemon before I arrived here but never of Poken. Every booth and side event hall in the Blue zone is equipped with a small table-top tile and every delegate is given a hand shaped USB key which, on touching the tile, lights green indicating that it has downloaded all the information that has been uploaded onto that tile. You then put the USB key into your laptop and hey presto you have all the details of the organisation (or the side event) and the e-business card of the person at the booth; all designed to save paper and so the planet! Trump that!!
I had arranged a meeting for all the participants in the side event – 12 30 at the booth. Happily everyone turned up and we agreed the batting order for presentations. At 2.45 we reconvened in the Bering Hall, set up the film and slide presentations and began at 3. There were around 80 – 100 people there hearing from the excellent array of speakers. I introduced the topic but unfortunately I had eaten something the night before which had seriously disagreed with me so my opening remarks were briefer than I would have liked!
After the first event we quickly made our way to the British Embassy Pavilion, which, as it was in a different zone (Green as opposed to Blue) meant going through security again, a rather arduous process.
We lost one of our speakers, Espen Ronneberg from SPREP, as he had another engagement but nevertheless the Embassy was delighted with the event, the number of people we drew and the number of questions at the end.
A networking party at the UNESCO pavilion followed, where I met Cathy Childs from the Cayman Islands NT who has joined the delegation until the end of next week. Some Ecuadorians in traditional costume and Queen Quet, Head of State of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, who was present at the Pocantico Call to Action meeting were also there. It wasn’t long before the singing started from both of the indigenous cultures –very intangible and a memorable end to a memorable day!
Today, Friday, has been spent away from the Conference Centre at the 10 Year Framework Programme for Sustainable Tourism Annual Symposium. Titled ‘Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate’ it was billed as a COP 22 side event. INTO has been a partner since its formation in Costa Rica in 2011. Adam Markham, Union of Concerned Scientists, gave one of the many addresses during the day but the only one directly concerned with cultural heritage, in particular the effect of climate change on World Heritage Sites. However others talked about the need to engage more with NGOs, public/private partnerships, and talked about a bottom-up approach in obtaining best practice examples of sustainable tourism.
This gave me the opportunity to introduce INTO, to suggest that they should not look upon hotels as the final destination but the cultural and natural sites that often were the reason for the hotels being there in the first place and which also needed investment. I stated that we had many examples among the membership of best practice, mentioning, in the process, the work the NT EWNI has done on retrofitting its houses and the two leaflets, Shifting Shores and Forecast Changeable.
I spoke afterwards to one of the Executive Directors of UNWTO and have arranged to have a follow- up meeting with him in Madrid in mid-December. I also spoke to the PR representative from Michelin and am going to meet him in Paris next time I am there. He had earlier given a presentation about the work the company does on sustainable tourism both with regard to restaurants and visits to properties.
It was good to meet up with Javier Losada, Tesouros de Galicia, also a partner of the 10YFP. They are hoping to put in a bid to host the next symposium. A ‘cocktail dinatoire’ at the end of the day was very welcome and gave the opportunity for yet more networking! environment-Minister-e1478969368491.jpg”> Mauritania out in force with their Environment Minister[/caption]
Tomorrow is the Annual Meeting of the 10YFP which I shall also be attending and at which Javier will be presenting – a welcome day off on Sunday and then the full delegation for Monday with Chloe Hampson and Geoff Read arriving.
Oliver Maurice 12 November 2016