Tourism, Press Freedom & other topics – PGA Spokesperson's Briefing

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04-May-2022 00:05:18
Briefing by Paulina Kubiak, Spokesperson for the President of the 76th Session of the General Assembly.

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The General Assembly today met for the High-level thematic debate on tourism.

The President of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, convened the debate entitled "Putting sustainable and resilient tourism at the heard of an inclusive recovery."

This is the first time that a thematic debate of the General Assembly has been convened on the topic of tourism.

One of the goals of this event is to create renewed political momentum and commitment from the international community, the private sector and relevant stakeholders to support a rebound of the tourism sector globally in a manner that is responsible, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and boosts resilience.

In 2019, prior to the pandemic, tourism contributed $3.5 trillion to global GDP. The drop during the COVID pandemic is estimated to have cost up to 120 million jobs.

Aside from the economic benefits, tourism is a communal, human experience, President Shahid said in his opening remarks. There is an opportunity now, as it rebounds, to reboot tourism.

According to the UN Environment's Green Economy Report, in a 'business-as-usual' scenario, by 2050, tourism is expected to generate an increase of 154% in energy consumption, 131% in greenhouse gas emissions, 152% in water consumption, and 251% in solid waste disposal.

President Shahid said now is the time to transform the sector. Especially for tourism-dependent countries across Africa, and in Small Island Developing States, Landlocked Developing Countries, Least Developed Countries, as well as many middle-income countries.

At the opening, President Shahid spoke alongside Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Mr. Faisal Naseem, Vice President of the Republic of Maldives; and Zurab Pololikashvili, the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization.

Today's high-level debated includes a multi-stakeholder Fireside Chat on the topic: Prospects for a sustainable, resilient recovery of tourism, moderated by CNNI's Richard Quest.

There are also three multi-stakeholder roundtables: 1) For People: Leaving no one behind through inclusive tourism; 2) For Planet: Accelerating a climate-friendly transformation; 3) For Prosperity: Re-invigorating investments in sustainable tourism.

This high-level thematic debate is held in close collaboration with UN World Tourism Organization (WTO), the UN Development Progamme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Related to the debate, President Shahid is meeting with a number of Government officials from the tourism sector.

Those include the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, Mr. Sandiaga Uno.

I already mentioned the Vice-President of the Maldives, Mr. Faisal Naseem. He is leading a delegation from the Maldives that is here in New York for the coming week. That delegation includes the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Abdulla Mausoom.

President Shahid is also meeting today with the Minister of Tourism of Italy, Massimo Garavaglia.

The President's door is always open. He is eager to inject new voiced into UN discussions. As such, he is also meeting today with Mr. Mohamed Ali Janah, who is the President of the International Federation of Asian and Western Pacific Contractors' Associations.

The President will meet with Ambassador José Blanco, the Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic, and some guests from the DR.

And the President will also have a bilateral today with the Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, Mr. Edmund Bartlett.


Turning to the topic of press freedom. Yesterday was the official Day. Today is the UNHQ New York observance.

The event is organized by UNESCO and the Department of Global Communications. It is entitled "Journalism Under Digital Siege." The President took part virtually. He reiterated the message that he delivered on the Day. Which is that the freedom of the press is paramount, and that journalists must be allowed to do their job safely.


Tomorrow is the informal interactive dialogue with the candidate for the Presidency of the 77th session of the General Assembly, Mr. Csaba Kőrösi of Hungary.

Ahead of that session, President Shahid will meet today with Mr. Kőrösi, in a bilateral meeting.

Tomorrow's dialogue will be held in the Trusteeship starting at 10AM Eastern. It will be in-person, with civil society submitting questions virtually and in-person.

The dialogue is being held in accordance with resolution 71/323.
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