UN backs sustainable tourism in south Lebanon
(Joint Press Release UN ESCWA and UNIFIL, 29 March 2012)
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and the Union of Tyre Region Municipalities held today a workshop in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre to raise awareness about responsible eco-tourism in the framework of green economy and sustainable development.
Participants included representatives from different municipalities and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in southern Lebanon.
In their welcome address, UNIFIL Deputy Director of Political and Civil Affairs Francesco Manca and ESCWA representative Reem Nejdawi underlined the UN system's support to national and sub-national activities towards a more sustainable rural and regional development, especially in areas beyond cities, such as south Lebanon.
Participants discussed challenges facing the development of responsible eco-tourism in south Lebanon; how to overcome these challenges and what the south can do on its own to promote and encourage sustainable development of tourism.
The workshop also looked into next steps towards sustainable development of tourism in south Lebanon, including options for a regional action plan, a mapping exercise of potential facilities and gaps related to responsible eco-tourism and the accessibility of funds to promote and develop responsible eco-tourism projects and concepts.
ESCWA has been involved in a number of activities at the regional and national level promoting Green Economy and Sustainable Development approaches to socio-economic development in ESCWA member countries. For some countries, like Lebanon, tourism is an important economic sector and in the context of responsible eco-tourism can contribute to economic opportunities in rural areas while ensuring community participation, social inclusion and environmental protection.
UNIFIL actively cooperates with local municipalities and NGOs and has supported a number of small-scale projects in south Lebanon. These projects contribute to an improved environment. With its small-scale projects, including Quick Impact Projects (QIPs), UNIFIL supported local initiatives by municipalities and NGOs, contributing to the well-being of many people in the south.