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Using This Manual
Using Guidelines in Planning & Project Assessment
Tourism, sustainability and biodiversity
Participation and Consultations of Stakeholders
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This User’s Manual on the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD ) Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development is a revised version of a draft prepared pursuant to a meeting of experts to develop a Users’ Manual on the Guidelines on Biological Diversity and Tourism, which met in Nassau, Bahamas from 24 to 28 January 2005. The Manual incorporates comments submitted to the CBD ’s Executive Secretary by the Governments of Austria, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom, by the UN World Tourism Organisation and by Ecological Tourism in Europe.
Cases studies included in the manual comprise those submitted to the CBD on pilot schemes to implement the Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, as well as from additional examples provided by members of the Bahamas Meeting of Experts.
Edited and revised by Richard Tapper.
Editorial services provided by Eplerwood International.
Project management by Oliver Hillel, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the CBD .
Participants in the Meeting of Experts:
Andy Blackmore (Head of Integrated Environmental Management, Ezemvelo Kwa-Zulu Natal Wildlife, South Africa)
Jens Brüggemann (Assistant Director, Nationalparkamt Müritz, Germany)
Dr. Donald Cooper (Undersecretary, The Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission (BEST)
Paola Deda (Programme Officer, Secretariat of the CBD ) Dr. Richard Kenchington (Director, RAC Marine Pty Ltd., Australia)
Roberto Mourão (Director, Instituto EcoBrasil, Brazil)
Scott Agustín Muller (Director, Conservation and Development Strategy Associates (CODESTA), Republic of Panamá)
Dr. Richard Tapper (Director, Environment Business & Development Group, and Visiting Fellow, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom)
Rosemary Taufatofua (University of Queensland, Australia)
The CBD Secretariat’s work on tourism and biodiversity has benefited consistently from the support of the German government, particularly through the Federal Ministry of the Environment. In particular, the Meeting of Experts and preparation of this manual have been made possible through the generous support of the Government of Germany.
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Often described as the world’s biggest industry, tourism generated over US$ 575 billion in revenues in 2006 according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Contributing to the protection of one of our key assets—biodiversity—is a critical responsibility of all business sectors, and indeed of all of us. However, there is a fundamental link between the tourism sector’s continued, long-term success and the protection of its main attraction—nature itself. This is the reason for the ongoing work under the Convention on Biological Diversity to implement the Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, adopted in 2004, at the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, in Kuala Lumpur, through decision VII/14. Our work on tourism is aligned with the new and enhanced phase of implementation of the Convention, and it is only fitting that much of our work on tourism was made possible through the kind support of the Government of Germany, our host for the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2008.
The User’s Manual is a tool for Parties and other stakeholders to apply the Guidelines, and to make tourism more biodiversity-friendly, considering the three objectives of the Convention—the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of biological resources. More than a toolbox, it should also be a guide that can bring about a novel paradigm in the tourism sector; that of the emergence of new consumption patterns driven by respect for life on Earth.
The suggestions contained in this User’s Manual were enhanced through an extensive and broad consultation process with experts in government, the private sector and civil society, from 2001 to today. They offer a practical tool with technical guidance for engaging policy makers, local and national government decision makers and managers, the private sector, indigenous and local communities, non-governmental organizations or other organizations.
Although the primary focus of the Guidelines and this manual is tourism development and conduct of tourism activities in vulnerable ecosystems and habitats, all of its topics are equally applicable to any tourism activities and development that may have an impact on biodiversity in other geographical locations and tourist destinations. The Guidelines are consistent with, and contribute to the implementation of international instruments designed to promote sustainability in various areas of tourism, including the 2002 Quebec Declaration on Ecotourism, the 2002 UNEP Principles for Implementation of Sustainable tourism, the 1999 Global Code of Ethics for Tourism adopted by the World Tourism Organization, the 1997 Manila Declaration on the Social Impact of Tourism, and the 1997 Berlin Declaration on Biodiversity and Tourism. The Guidelines also take into consideration the provisions of the Convention such as the ecosystem approach and the Akwé: Kon Voluntary Guidelines concerning developments that affect indigenous and local communities.
The powerful forces that shape the essence of tourism, including the human urge to see and experience the natural world, must continue to be harnessed to support the achievement of the goals of the Convention. It is my hope that this manual will help all planners and managers involved in tourism to become partners in the challenge of implementing the convention for life on Earth.
Convention on Biological Diversity
Tourism is like fire: you can cook your food with it, but if you are not careful, it could also burn your house down! Or to put it another way: tourism offers opportunities for economic, social and ecological development, but only if the risks involved are not overlooked.
These risks include the immense volumes of traffic and waste and the huge land and resource consumption connected to travel. Sensitive ecosystems, especially those in coastal and mountain regions, are also the areas that are particularly interesting for tourism. For example, an estimated 71 percent of the dune landscapes that existed in the Mediterranean region in 1990 have now disappeared. At Germany’s coasts of the North and Baltic Seas, this figure is around 15 to 20 percent.
This is why Germany, from a very early stage, advocated the establishment of regulations for sustainable tourism development in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD ). The first step in this direction was taken in 1997 with the Berlin Conference on Biological Diversity and Tourism. In 2001, guidelines on sustainable tourism development were elaborated and unanimously agreed on at an international workshop. These guidelines were submitted to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) for discussion, and then adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in 2004.
The devastating impacts of the tsunami in several countries in south-eastern Asia led the German Government, together with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), to create a consulting unit for tsunami-affected regions. This unit provides support for the sustainable reconstruction of the tourism infrastructure. The CBD guidelines on biological diversity and tourism development and their practical implementation form the basis of this work. The UNWTO unit is headed by Mrs. Sigrid Hockamp-Mack, who has played a crucial role in structuring the process for elaborating and adopting the CBD guidelines since 2001.
Rehabilitating the tourism infrastructure in the regions affected by the tsunami offers the unique opportunity to interconnect ecological, economic and social goals. This manual from the CBD Secretariat on the practical application of the CBD guidelines on biodiversity and tourism development will hopefully contribute to these guidelines being applied worldwide.
Director-General, Nature Conservation
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
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BEST Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission
BPoA Barbados Plan of Action
CBD Convention on Biodiversity
CSD Commission on Sustainable Development
CELB Centre for Environmental Leadership in Business
COP Conference of the Parties
CSO Civil Society Organizations
DEAT Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
COP-MOP Conference of the Parties to the CBD , serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol
DTIE UNEP Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics
EIA Environmental impact assessment
EMP Environmental Management or Monitoring Plan
FEEE Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe
GCET Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
ICLEI International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives
IUCN World Conservation Union
LAC Limits of Acceptable Change
MAB UNESCO Programme on Man and the Biosphere
MCSD Mediterranean Commission of Sustainable development
MSP Multi-stakeholder Process
NBSAP National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan
NGO Non-Governmental Organization
PAN Protected area Network
PAVIM Protected Areas Visitor Impact Management
PIC Prior Informed Consent
PLA Protected Landscape Area
PRA Participative Rural Appraisal
ROS Recreation Opportunity Spectrum
SCBD Secretariat for the Convention on Biodiversity
SEA Strategic Environmental Assessment
SIA Strategic Impact Assessment
SIDS Small Island Developing States
TOI Tour Operators Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development
TOMM Tourism Optimization Management Model
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
VERP Visitor Experience and Resource Protection
VIM Visitor Impact Management Model
WTTC World Travel and Tourism Council
UNWTO United Nations World Tourism Organization
Using this Manual
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The Guidelines are designed to complement other sets of Guidelines and approaches that have been adopted by the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The most important of these are:
• The ecosystem approach;
• The Akwe: Kon voluntary guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities;
• The voluntary guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into environmental impact assessment legislation and/or process, and the draft guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into strategic environmental assessment.
The Guidelines provide a framework addressing what the proponent of a new tourism investment or activity should do to seek approval, how the authorities should manage the approval process, and how to sustain the transition to sustainable tourism through education and capacity building.
The basic steps of the Guidelines that make up the policy, planning and management process for integrated management of tourism and biodiversity form a simple cycle of four stages:
1. Planning stage
Vision and Goals; Objectives
2. Assessment and Decision-Making
Impact assessment; Impact management and mitigation; Decision-making; Notification process
3. Implementation stage
4. Adaptive Management stage
Monitoring; Adaptive Management
Supporting elements for all four stages: Participation—Baseline Information—Legislation and control measures
The Adaptive Management stage feeds back into the planning stage, and is used to adjust objectives in order to remain on target for achievement of the overall vision and goals established through the planning process. Notifications of specific project proposals are fed into the assessment and decision making stage, where they are considered within the context of the overall vision and goals.
The manual has been broken into three sections to facilitate its use. The first section is for managers including policy makers, decision makers with responsibilities covering tourism and/or biodiversity, whether in national or local government, the private sector, indigenous and local communities, nongovernmental organizations and other organizations. Case studies, examples and additional resources are included to assist users with implementation and to show how the steps of the Guidelines have been applied in the past.
The second section is a Technical Users Reference List which provides an alphabetized glossary of important terms enhanced by practical outlines of key steps for the implementation of important techniques such as “Limits of Acceptable Change”. Terms that appear in this section will be in this style in the main text as a signal to the reader that further explanation can be found in the reference list.
The third section is a set of checklists for managers and technical personnel to review as they proceed through each phase of a tourism project to ensure that they are appropriately designing their project according to Guidelines. Users may wish to adapt the checklists provided to their specific circumstances.
Figure 1: The planning cycle for integrated tourism and biodiversity planning
Using the Guidelines in planning & project assesment
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The steps of the Guidelines provide a framework for the strategic planning and assessment of proposals for the integrated management of biodiversity and tourism (Figure 2), either on their own, or if a strategic or community plan is prepared, within the context of that plan. The Guidelines can be applied at any scale, from individual sites, in order to assist in the development and implementation of local management and action plans, to national or regional levels where they can support strategic development or planning activities.
The processes of planning and impact assessment are iterative, and there should be a high level of interaction between the various steps in these processes. New information on impacts can be integrated into the decision making process at any time, not just during the impact assessment phase. Experience gained with particular projects may lead to the conclusion that changes to legislation or regulations are required in order to make the integrated management of biodiversity and tourism feasible.
If no prior strategic plan is available, case-by-case consideration of broad environmental and socio-economic information will be necessary to understand the likely impacts of tourism development in order to design an impact management system. This case by case approach requires a higher level of expertise and leaves tourism developers without clear criteria for their proposals.
If a strategic plan exists, the broader environmental and socio-economic context information will be available. If the strategy has identified areas suitable for particular types of tourism and the conditions for development and implementation, consideration of individual proposals can immediately focus on where the proposal conforms to the strategic plan, when development planning needs to be adapted to the site, and when the strategic plan may have to be adapted in order to respond to the proposal.
Every proposal or notification of intention for a tourism project or activity must be accompanied by documents and information that enable assessors to evaluate and report on the likely environmental, social and economic costs, benefits and impacts of the project. Analysis of the proposal not only includes individual impacts, but incremental impacts over time. Planners will have to review how the proposal affects existing uses of the site, particularly traditional users. In every case there must be a plan in place to limit impacts.
figure 2: strategic development plans, community development plans, policy development
Tourism, sustainability and biodiversity
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The quality of environmental surroundings is important for all forms of tourism. Tourists demand places that are unpolluted and free from waste. Many tourists also appreciate the wildlife and flora around them even if this is not the main reason for their visit to a particular area. In a recent survey of high-volume tourism companies, many reported that large numbers of their clients take excursions to see wildlife at some point during their holidays. Biodiversity is a main component of specialist holidays, whether based on scuba diving around coral reefs or on wildlife watching.
Because of the importance of environmental quality and biodiversity for tourism, the tourism industry has a long-term interest in environmental protection and conservation. However, the high rates of growth of tourism over the past two decades have seen the expansion of tourism into new destinations and regions in ways that have taken inadequate account of environmental protection, social impacts, or biodiversity conservation. The forecasted expansion of tourism for at least two more decades indicates that more attention must be paid to the planning of tourism using tools that can limit its impacts over the long term. The expansion of tourism is not only based on physical infrastructure; there is also an expansion in the range of tourism experiences available to tourists. Increasingly, tourists are not just interested in conventional ‘sea and sun’ holidays, or winter sports, but in an ever-widening range of tourism offerings, all of which impact the natural environment and communities.
Recognising the problems—as well as the potential—of tourism, a growing number of governments, destinations and tourism companies are promoting and supporting sustainable tourism activities. However, their efforts can quickly be undermined by unsustainable tourism development. Efforts to develop sustainable tourism now urgently rely on moving beyond policy statements—to the implementation of the planning and management systems recommended in this document.
Sustainable tourism should: contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and cultural diversity; contribute to the well being of local communities and indigenous people; include an interpretation/learning experience; involve responsible action on the part of tourists and tourism industries; be appropriate in scale; require the lowest possible consumption of non-renewable resources; respect physical and social carrying capacities; involve minimal repatriation of earned revenue; be locally owned and operated (through local participation, ownership and business opportunities, particularly for rural people). This embraces two, interrelated, elements of the sustainability of tourism:
• Ensuring that the conditions are right for tourism to continue as an activity in the future;
• the ability of society and the environment to absorb and benefit from tourism in a sustainable way.
Sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and various niche tourism segments.
Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
Thus, sustainable tourism should:
• Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity;
• Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserving their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contributing to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance;
• Ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.
Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and it requires constant monitoring of impacts, introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary.
Sustainable tourism should also maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience to the tourists, raising their awareness about sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices amongst them.
Tourism can support sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in several ways :
• the promotion of the economic value of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use through stimulation of tourism—particularly where it creates local employment and uses local products and services—may help to reduce the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources;
• promotion of conservation by raising awareness amongst visitors, and by raising the profile of biodiversity conservation at national and local levels;
• additional funds for conservation generated from tourism.
However, tourism can grow rapidly, and the unmanaged growth of tourism can place unsustainable pressures that damages or destroys biological diversity and ecosystem processes, as well as cultural heritage— the net result being the loss of various environmental services and a consequent damage or distortion to social cohesion and to the economy of an affected area. The large market for tourism, and the services and supplies required to meet the operational requirements of the tourism sector, place major pressures on local environments and communities.
It is also important to bear in mind that tourism can also add to the costs of managing biodiversity, since investment is necessary to manage and maintain tourism facilities in order to prevent damage to sensitive areas, while the presence of visitors can present serious problems for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Therefore tourism must be managed with care. It is important to assess and balance the costs and the benefits of tourism in relation to impacts on biodiversity, and it is equally important to find ways for local people and communities to benefit from tourism linked to conservation, as this helps to demonstrate the added value of resources conserved.
Achieving tourism that helps to protect biodiversity and conserve the environment requires joint action with appropriate inputs from Governments, site managers, indigenous and local communities and other stakeholders.
Because tourism to protected areas is already very established and growing phenomenon worldwide, it is important to have appropriate plans in place depending on the level of use either already transpiring or anticipated. If tourism is already well established in an area the key management options are to find ways:
• to minimise the damage caused by existing tourism to sensitive sites;
• to direct new tourism (and if possible to redirect existing tourism) to less sensitive sites.
If tourism is managed in ways that are compatible with biodiversity conservation, it can help to generate funds and support for conservation. However, the available evidence shows that:
• for only a few sites, revenues raised from tourism can provide a major portion of site management costs;
• for most sites, tourism is unlikely to provide a major source of revenue for site management, and will not necessarily provide sufficient revenue to cover costs incurred by a site in connection with its management of tourism and tourism-related impacts.
In order to evaluate the potential for tourism to generate fees for management of a protected area, it is important to evaluate the existence of a realistic actual / potential demand from tourists for visiting the site and the potential for tourism to be operated at the site as a viable business (whether it is run directly by the site, or by tourism enterprises as concessionaires, permit holders, etc.).
Applying the CBD Ecosystem Approach to the management of tourism and biodiversity
The Guidelines apply the Ecosystem Approach developed by the CBD . The Ecosystem Approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. It is based on the application of appropriate scientific methodologies focused on levels of biological organization, which encompass the essential processes, functions and interactions among organisms and their environment. It recognizes that humans, with their cultural diversity, are an integral component of many ecosystems. Application of the Ecosystem Approach will help reach a balance between the three objectives of the Convention: conservation; sustainable use; and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
The Guidelines emphasise the importance of participation of all stakeholders in integrated tourism and biodiversity management, in order to develop plans and projects that achieve a balance between tourism and the benefits, especially economic benefits and biodiversity conservation. Tourism can take place in ways that are compatible with conservation. In many cases an appropriate balance and synergies between tourism and biodiversity conservation is not achieved due to market distortions and a failure to value the environmental and biodiversity assets that are so important for tourism. Tourism depends to a large degree on environmental and social quality—few people want to spend their holidays in areas that are polluted, environmentally damaged, or which suffer from major social problems—but the value of environmental and social assets is not always recognised in tourism planning.
At the same time, tourism has expanded rapidly for the past two decades, and all predictions suggest that this rapid expansion is set to continue for many years to come. This means that biodiversity conservation and sustainable use cannot ignore tourism, and will have to find ways to integrate tourism into biodiversity management.
Tourism presents serious challenges for the effective management and conservation of biodiversity. In order to meet this challenge, it is vital that the benefits of tourism are shared fairly with those affected by it, and particularly indigenous and local communities who may experience disproportionate adverse effects, while receiving few of its benefits. Equally, some of the revenues from tourism need to support biodiversity and environmental assets underpinning the attraction of destinations for tourists.
Tourism can also be subject to large variations from year to year, as tourist preferences change. This can lead to considerable uncertainties in planning tourism activities from year to year. At the same time, natural variations in biodiversity and the environment can also lead to uncertainties in the interactions between biodiversity and tourism, and the impact this may have on conservation. Adaptive Management practices are therefore particularly necessary for and suited to the management of tourism and biodiversity. In addition, tourism involves a wide range of public and private sector stakeholders and therefore a high degree of intersectoral cooperation is essential to manage tourism in a way that maintains a balance between its development and the safeguarding biodiversity.
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Intersectoral Coordination for Integrated Management
An integrated approach to the management of tourism and biodiversity requires coordination between government departments and agencies concerned with the management of biological diversity and tourism, as well as with agencies responsible for broader national economic development. Tourism and biodiversity are both affected by factors that cut across many different areas of government; several different government departments and agencies are therefore often involved in aspects of policy and management of tourism, while others are for biodiversity. This means that an integrated approach to the management of tourism and biodiversity requires a high degree of intersectoral and interdepartmental coordination at all levels of government, from the national to the local level. Results from the UN World Tourism Organization Ecotourism Summit indicated that one of the major barriers to planning tourism with respect for the conservation of biodiversity was the lack of governmental coordination, particularly between the Ministries of Environment and Tourism.
Successful coordination between government departments and agencies can result in effective planning and policy development. For example, Chile’s National Action Plan is based on an integrated approach, and has been developed with the private sector in a bottom-up manner. Another example is found in the Seychelles, where there are not only various topical themes within the National Environmental Management Plan (including tourism and aesthetics), but where there are significant cross-cutting themes (education, awareness and advocacy; partnerships, public consultation and civil society participation; training and capacity-building; management; science, research and technology; monitoring and assessment; vulnerability and global climate change).
Management of tourism typically involves a national institutional framework that provides for a combination of duties and responsibilities to various levels of government, industry and civil society. There are two key aspects of government responsibility. The first concerns policy which, in the context of the guidelines, includes forward and strategic planning to identify areas for potential tourism development and standards or conditions for the range and location of types of development and infrastructure be allowed. The second concerns the implementation of policy through ongoing regulation and overview of practice, implementation and management of activities conducted within the policy.
In most countries, measures relevant to the management of tourism and biological diversity are likely to be contained in many pieces of legislation and to be overseen or undertaken by agencies at several different levels of government, from national to local. In addition to tourism and environment, heritage and biological diversity, relevant government functions, laws and regulations are likely to include: land use planning, standards and controls for building and infrastructure development, transport, public health and safety, commerce, regional development, finance, indigenous rights, agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
The establishment of effective coordination on tourism and biodiversity across government requires raising awareness to improve the understanding, among government officials involved in tourism and biodiversity issues, of the roles that the different government departments and agencies need to play in order to promote sustainable development through tourism activities and development, and to ensure tourism is balanced with biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Frequently, different government departments and agencies have overlapping responsibilities, or a lack of clarity of their respective roles,or both. It will be helpful to establish clear working relationships between the various government departments and agencies involved in, or having effects on, aspects of tourism and biodiversity management. The aim should be to find ways to operate together more effectively.
In particular, within government it will be valuable to establish inter- and intra-departmental and inter-organizational structures and processes, if they do not already exist, to guide policy development and implementation for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity. These arrangements help to improve coordination and to clarify responsibilities and operational practices.
It will also be important to review national biodiversity strategies and action plans, as well as tourism plans, to check their compatibility and coherence, and to identify potential or actual areas where policies and strategies for tourism and biodiversity may conflict. As an early step toward the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity, policies and strategies for tourism and biodiversity will need to be revised to ensure that they are compatible with each other.
At subnational and local levels, government authorities—for example, organisations managing protected areas—have a special role in the management of tourism and biodiversity, and will need support, training and resources from government, in order to perform this role effectively.
Government institutions also have a key role in establishing and facilitating ongoing and effective dialogue with stakeholders at all levels, such as through a participatory planning process. This role includes information-sharing and acting to build consensus in relation to tourism and biological diversity.
The management and control of the ranges of activities that comprise both tourism and biodiversity conservation and use, usually cover a broad range of responsibilities involving several government agencies and a broad range of non-government stakeholders, each with different interests (some of which are conflicting). Because of this, the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity can only be achieved if all stakeholders work together, fulfilling their different roles, but working toward common goals. Effective, integrated management of tourism and biodiversity is therefore a shared responsibility of all stakeholders.
Often, communications and links between many of these organizations need to be strengthened. Some of them may also be competing with each other. However they will all need to provide input to develop an integrated approach to tourism and biodiversity management, and to support its implementation. Therefore, building trust and mechanisms strengthening cooperation among them is vital. The steps of the Guidelines and the participatory planning process in the Technical Users Reference List provide a coordinating framework through which these different organizations can be brought together in a consensus- based process.
National and local planning systems will have central roles in the implementation of these aspects of the Guidelines. In this context, it is important to note that the establishment of clear visions and policies for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity, also plays a vital role in setting out the basis on which proposals for tourism developments are to be considered by national and local planning systems.
They also form the basis of national strategies or master plans for the sustainable development of tourism in relation to biodiversity. When considering proposals for tourism developments, national and local planning systems will need to check that these proposals match up with the established vision and policies for the management of tourism and biodiversity in the relevant region.
This can also make it possible for potential developers to check if their concepts and proposals are consistent with the specific regional visions and policies that have been established for the management of tourism and biodiversity, as well as helping to ensure greater transparency in decision-making.
A shared vision, reached through open dialogue and public participation, is important for the effective management of tourism and biodiversity. These shared visions and goals should be negotiated with all relevant stakeholders, in harmony with national legislation and policy frameworks. Skilled independent facilitators can help stakeholders in articulating the particular visions and goals held by each one. From this work, a consensus should be achieved on a shared vision and goals. Governments and local authorities need to create the enabling environment within which such a process can take place.
Tourism is primarily an activity carried out by private sector enterprises, and it is their actions, together with those of tourists, that are responsible for most impacts, positive and negative. A primary function of government in fostering more sustainable tourism is therefore to create an environment that enables or influences the private sector to operate more sustainably, and influences patterns of visitor flows and behaviour so as to maximize the benefits and minimize the negative impacts of tourism.
In many countries, many of the objectives and actions that governments are pursuing can be said to be in line with sustainability, and there is considerable recent interest in relating tourism policies to wider sustainable development or poverty reduction strategies. Governmental coordination with the private sector and the increasing importance of public-private strategies should be considered as a highly important route to coordinating governmental planning efforts with the private sector.
The results of this coordination are well illustrated by Ghana’s Integrated Tourism Development Programme. Together with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ghana Tourist Board, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ghana Tourism Federation (including hotel, restaurant and car rental associations) developed a 15 year National and Regional Tourism Development Plan to consolidate the gains achieved in Ghana’s tourism sector.
The draft plans were discussed at seminars organised at various levels with the key stakeholders and allow them to provide input for the final documents. The role of the public sector was limited to the provision of infrastructure while the private sector was given the responsibility for developing accommodation, restaurants, car rental businesses, as well as tour and travel operations.
Ghana has become the first country in Africa to have both National and Regional Plans to guide the country’s tourism development. Results of the implementation include a considerable increase in infrastructure, superstructure capacity, visitor facilities and services. Direct employment has grown in travel and tourism, as well as in sectors indirectly linked to tourism. This coordinated effort has brought awareness and understanding to all key players of the role that tourism can play to boost foreign exchange, conserve natural resources, and stimulate employment and income generation.
As these new integrated multisectoral tourism development strategies begin to be implemented, it remains highly important that a systematic effort be made to link sustainability to policies and tools.
Chilean tourism policy leaders have sought to analyze the ecotourism business sector in terms of its competitive elements, while looking at what government can do to support private business in prioritized zones. This approach appears to be successfully integrating tourism policy development into local development planning at the municipal level, while maintaining a focus on the productive partnership between the private sector and government. Chile has also systematically reviewed legislation needed to monitor environmental impacts of tourism, not only within municipalities but across municipal boundaries. This policy framework for action appears realistic and on target. Some key points that were discovered in this process for governmental policy leaders are as follows:
• Tourism must be seen as part of an integrated local development plan which includes agriculture, and industry.
• The agenda setting process can be used as a means to coordinate action with local municipalities to rationalize tourism planning policies at the local level.
• New legislation was required to evaluate the environmental impact of tourism projects in rural areas that have been targeted for ecotourism development.
• The new system of environmental impact analysis looked at impacts on ecosystems that cross municipal boundaries, and a new form of “supramunicipal” review and cooperation was established for wetlands, watersheds, etc.
• Implementation is linked to planning for municipal functions, such as Communal Development, Regulatory Planning, and Local Ordinances.
• Policy has established a system of monitoring indicators for the development of tourism within national territory which is being linked to the national tourism development.
Participation and consultation of stakeholders
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The participation of stakeholders involved in, or who may be affected by, tourism is essential for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity. This participation and involvement of must always include indigenous and local communities that may be affected by or involved in tourism. The participation and consultation of stakeholders applies to all aspects of planning and management associated with tourism and biodiversity, including the preparation of strategic development plans, community development plans, and the assessment and decision-making regarding specific proposals for tourism activities and development. The representation of minorities, disadvantaged, marginalized and vulnerable sectors needs to be ensured in the participation processes, and should reflect the demographics of each of these groups, with particular reference to:
• geographic representation;
• urban as well as rural communities;
• gender balance.
The elements of participation include information provision, consultation, collaboration in decisionmaking, and, in some cases, the delegation of decision-making from a designated authority to a properly constituted group of stakeholder representatives. Explicitly reaching an agreement at the start of any planning and decision-making process, on how stakeholders will participate, and/or have opportunities to participate, should help to reduce the problem of mismatched expectations between stakeholders.
Tourism development and biodiversity conservation both involve a wide range of stakeholders. Therefore stakeholders with different interests, different ways of perceiving problems and opportunities, and from a variety of groups, will need to participate in integrated management of tourism and biodiversity. These processes of participation and consultation involving several or more stakeholders are sometimes termed ‘multi-stakeholder processes’.
Potential stakeholders include, but are not limited to:
• Municipal authorities
• Regional authorities
• Various levels of government responsible for tourism and its key assets
• Other ministries and agencies in areas affecting tourism
• Tour operators and travel agents
• Accommodation, restaurants and attractions, and their associates
• Transportation and other service providers
• Guides, interpreters and outfitters
• Suppliers to the industry
• Tourism and trade organizations
• Business development organizations
• Environmental groups
• Conservation groups
• Other interest groups (hunters, fishers and sports/adventure associations)
• Indigenous and local communities
• Local community groups
• Native and cultural groups
• Traditional leaders
• Organizations representing tourists in the region and point(s) of origin
• International tourism organizations
The advantages of involving a range of stakeholders in participation and consultation are that this enables stakeholders to communicate directly, and through this, to better understand areas of agreement and disagreement they may have with each other. Direct communication between stakeholders also helps introduce accountability—enabling each stakeholder to be held to account—and creates possibilities for networking and partnerships. Above all, as Principle 1 of the Ecosystem Approach states, “The objectives of management of land, water and living resources are a matter of societal choice.” Properly-run stakeholder participation and consultation provide a mechanism for determining consensus for such societal choices.
The Participatory Planning Process and Technical Support Team
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The Guidelines on Biological Diversity and Tourism emphasise the importance of involving stakeholders, authorities and interested and affected parties in integrated planning and management of tourism and biodiversity. Each section of the Guidelines can be linked to participation and consultation of the relevant stakeholders. The following are key roles and tasks of the process in several steps of Guidelines:
Table 1: participatory planning process and the guidelines
• Review all aspects of the baseline information (considering credibility, reliability, and all sources of knowledge and relevant information obtained);
• Identify gaps that need to be filled by further research and information-gathering.
Vision and Goals
• Discuss, prepare and agree on an overall vision for sustainable management of biodiversity and tourism (eg. through local level meetings and workshops).
• Establish objectives based on the vision and goals.
• Identify indigenous and local community members, experts, organizations, and relevant stakeholders;
• Establish the terms of reference for the conduct of the impact assessments, subject to national legislation.
• Enable stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process.
• Enable stakeholders to express their wishes and concerns to those managing tourism facilities and activities from the early development stage, throughout the operational stages, and during any decommissioning or closing stages. This can occur given that clear and adequate information regarding implementation is provided for review by the stakeholders, in forms that are accessible and comprehensible to them.
Monitoring and reporting
• Enable stakeholders to participate effectively in monitoring, evaluation of monitoring information, where necessary adjustment of management measures to avoid or minimise adverse impacts that may be detected.
• Assist in the management and create dialogue on maintenance of the balance between tourism and biodiversity
This manual brings together all the elements of stakeholder participation and consultation that form part of the Guidelines on Biological Diversity and Tourism, along with further complementary elements from the Akwe: Kon Guidelines. Together these form the participatory planning process for ensuring effective involvement of all stakeholders, authorities and interested and affected parties, including indigenous and local communities.
The participatory planning process is designed to ensure that all relevant stakeholders who are involved in or may be affected by tourism activities and developments, are identified; and that they are fully consulted on and enabled to participate effectively in decisions related to the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity.
The following section includes a discussion of how participation and consultation should be conducted, with special reference to indigenous and local communities, how protocols and legal protection for access to communities and respect for their traditional knowledge must be designed; and how the Guidelines provide a framework for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity, via the participatory review of information and impact assessments and regular input into decision-making procedures via the Adaptive Management process.
In some cases, mechanisms for stakeholder participation and consultation may already have been established for biodiversity management, tourism management, or for wider planning and management of natural resources and sustainable development. There may also be legal requirements for public consultation in environmental impact assessment or planning legislation, and specification on how this is to be conducted. Where these mechanisms are available, they can also be used as the basis for the participatory planning processes and relevant legal requirements can be incorporated.
There are three main elements to the participatory planning process:
• Identification, consultation and participation of all relevant stakeholders;
• Establishment of a committee representative of all the relevant stakeholder groups;
• Capacity building and support to enable stakeholders to participate effectively (see section 19 on Education, Capacity building and Awareness-Raising).
The review process will generally involve five stages:
1. Preparation by the Technical Support Team of a written summary based on their work—(See section on Technical Support Team);
2. A breakdown of the methodology to be used to gather and interpret the information used for this work;
3. Invitation to each of the stakeholder groups to make their initial comments on this summary, and to submit comments and/or any further relevant information. For indigenous and local communities, it will generally be more appropriate to use participative rural appraisal (PRA) methods that incorporate presentations of the information collected and associated participatory analysis;
4. Consideration of responses from stakeholders, and further development or revision of the report as appropriate;
5. A workshop to bring together all the different stakeholders so that they can exchange views and be accountable to each other.
Technical Support Team
Much of the technical work involved in gathering and synthesizing Baseline Information, the review of legislation and control measures, supporting planning processes, and impact assessment, is likely to be carried out by a small team of individuals with a diverse set of skills and specializations. These skills and specializations should cover biodiversity, cultural, legal, social and economic related disciplines. The team will also be involved in organizing the participation of stakeholders through consultations and workshops. This team should ideally include members with expertise in different areas (see Technical Support Team Checklist), and should particularly include people with expertise tourism and biodiversity issues, as well as in traditional knowledge and innovation systems.
The operation of the Technical Support Team should be kept flexible so that additional expertise can be brought in when appropriate. For example, the team could provide advice on the commissioning of additional studies from suitably qualified experts if these are found to be necessary at certain stages. It is important to note that the members of the Technical Support Team are accountable at each stage to the representative committee who should set the team’s terms of reference and review the team’s work and the information that it presents to the committee.
At each stage, once the necessary information has been assembled and analysed, the Technical Support Team should prepare a report on it. This report should then be reviewed by all stakeholders who should assess it to be certain it reflects the viewpoints of all involved. Frequently, conflicting viewpoints will have to be conveyed and it is important that the technical team does not screen out these inconsistencies too early.
The Technical Support Team will also need to synthesise the information that has been gathered by preparing a short overview report that draws on the different sources of information to describe the ways in which tourism and biodiversity are affecting, or in the case of proposed developments, might affect different ecosystems. (at national level), or in different parts of a site (at site level). This overview will need to describe both the current relationships between tourism and biodiversity, and the ways they may develop based on current trends and best practices. The overview will also need to take into account the effects of other major factors that may impact both tourism and biodiversity, such as economic development, tourism market trends, and the activities of certain other sectors (such as agriculture, etc.) Stakeholder workshops can also include sessions to discuss and review the overview reports prepared by the Technical Support Team.
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Several planning methods and approaches are available to assist with the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity,10 the main ones being:
• Recreational Opportunity Spectrum (ROS);
• Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC);
• Visitor Impact Management Model (VIM);
• Tourism Optimization Management Model (TOMM);
• Protected area Visitor Impact Management (PAVIM);
• Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP).
These methodologies, or variants thereof, are used in conjunction with stakeholder participation and consultation organised through the participatory planning process, to develop the vision and goals for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity (See section 10 on Vision, Goals and Objectives) leading to the following outputs:
• Vision, goals and objectives for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity, establishing an agreed plan that will be the foundation for impact assessments, impact management and mitigation, decision-making, implementation, monitoring and adaptive management;
• Screening criteria / Thresholds of Potential Concern / Operating Principles, which will be applied in impact assessment, impact management and mitigation, in development of monitoring indicators, and in adaptive management.
The ROS, LAC and VIM planning methodologies operate by identifying limits to address the requirements and objectives for resource protection and conservation, and resource use. They are able to incorporate social as well as environmental factors. The methodologies recognize that achieving a balance between conservation and use of any resource is a matter of judgment, and that different groups will tend to make different judgments.
The TOMM methodology was adapted from LAC in order to put more emphasis on sustainable outcomes from the community perspective and sets acceptable ranges rather than limits, with a focus on desired outcomes from the communities’ viewpoint.
PAVIM was developed for destinations that have less staffing and financial resources. PAVIM also incorporates impact problem analyses, the flexibility of multiple strategy selection and public involvement. It recognises management constraints and is quicker, easier and more cost-effective to implement. VERP was created to deal with carrying capacity in terms of the quality of the resources along with the quality of visitors experience. It addresses desired future resource and social conditions by defining what levels of use are appropriate, where, when and why. It is seen as a component of LAC. Further definitions of these planning methodologies can be found in the Technical Users Reference List.
Ideally, all stakeholders should be involved through appropriate stakeholder participation processes, in the development of integrated tourism and biodiversity plans using these methodologies, so that these plans are developed by incorporating a full range of perspectives on conservation and use. This will also help maximize the subsequent support of different stakeholder groups for the implementation of the plan.
Specific proposals for tourism development and activities should include plans that also outline feasible alternative sites and options. Based on this, it may be possible to improve things by relocating certain resource uses away from sensitive areas, to areas where they would have an acceptable or lesser impact.
Different types of tourism and recreational activities also require different types of tourism and land management (and may have differing impacts on biodiversity) in order to meet the requirements of different types of tourists. The market for tourism is made up of a number of different segments, each of which has different requirements. Highvolume or mass tourism to destinations in coastal areas, mountain regions or urban and cultural centers is based around high densities of tourists and tourism facilities, including hotels, recreational attractions, bars, restaurants, and transport provision, supported by infrastructure for water and energy supplies, sanitation and waste management.
Other types of tourism, such as luxury tourism or adventure tourism, are based on lower densities of tourists and require different types of facilities. In addition, some types of recreational activity may be incompatible with each other, and therefore need to be located in separate areas.
By understanding the characteristics and requirements of different types of tourism, it becomes possible to match these requirements with objectives for the management and conservation of biodiversity throughout different ecosystems, or at site-level, within different parts of a site. For example, mass tourism activities will need to be confined to the least sensitive areas for conservation and resource management. However, some types of low density and impact tourism activities may be compatible with some areas that contain more sensitive ecosystems and habitats.
In establishing an integrated approach to the impact management of tourism and biodiversity, it is therefore important to distinguish between the different types of tourism that may take place within a country or region, or at a specific site, and to identify the types of resource access and impacts that are associated with each type. These can then be matched to resource management and conservation objectives associated with different ecosystems, or different parts of a site. Closer links between the tourism sector and those responsible for biodiversity conservation and environmental protection can help manage tourism better, and build a greater understanding of conservation priorities among tourism companies.
The concept of carrying capacity was adapted from range management and was applied to recreation management in the early 1960s. Regarding tourism, carrying capacity is defined as the amount of visitor-related use an area can support while offering a sustained quality of recreation, based on ecological, social, physical and managerial attributes and conditions. The focus is on determining the level of use beyond which impacts exceed acceptable levels specified by evaluative standards. Tourism carrying capacity was later expanded to include development issues and economic and socio-cultural effects on host cultures.11
In practice, carrying capacity has proven to be a methodology that cannot be applied accurately to tourism scenarios. While perceived to be scientific, several criteria of carrying capacity are subjective. The concept that tourism impacts can be measured to reach fixed impact thresholds which can be evaluated as ‘in excess” of a measurable carrying capacity has proven to be erroneous.12 In reality, tourism impacts can rarely be put into the context of fixed biological parameters. Conditions change from site to site, impacts are highly variable depending on the volume of tourism from year to year and there is no straightforward correlation between the many variables that cause tourism impacts and resource degradation over a period of time. Rather than seeking to measure and remeasure impacts according to the variabilities of tourism flows, monitoring is more productive if it seeks to maintain an acceptable balance from the point of view of the stakeholders between all uses including tourism, environment and society, as all the methodologies referenced here have embodied in their approaches.
Using maps and zoning in the planning process
In many cases, planning and planning methodologies are likely to be applied to relatively large areas within which there can be considerable variations in environmental, socio-economic, cultural factors, in levels of tourism, and in biodiversity and ecosystems. Within large regions, it will be imperative to map and zone regions according to their biological type, sensitivity and type of tourism use that will be allowed. Mapping areas for tourism and zoning them for appropriate tourism use is one of the most powerful tools to protect biodiversity. Zoning can also be used to separate incompatible uses away from each other.
The basis for defining and identifying zones for tourism planning is to map available Baseline Information. In the early stages, very basic mapping, even using sketch maps, can be extremely useful. At later stages, more detailed mapping may be needed, and it may also be necessary to adjust the definitions of zones and their boundaries as more information becomes available, to ultimately reflect the vision and goals that are created by stakeholders for the area concerned.
One simple and useful approach, which can be used with sketch maps as well as with more detailed maps, is ‘sieve mapping’. This involves the preparation of a series of maps that contain different information about the same area. These maps are then overlaid to prepare a composite map that shows the overall features of the area. This can rapidly show the main issues and potential areas of conflict between different uses of an area. Zones can then be defined initially in order to minimize potential conflicts in future management, and to enable discussion about how best to resolve remaining conflicts. Different map overlays can be prepared to show different types of information—such as map overlays showing main types of biodiversity/habitats, indigenous and local communities, land uses, tourism, etc. (see Figure 3). Alternatively, map overlays can be used to show how different stakeholder groups use and/or perceive different parts of the area concerned.
Information from mapping, and the map overlays, can be used as inputs to dialogue with stakeholders through the Participative Planning Process, and can help to focus discussions more clearly.
figure 3: using map overlays for integrated tourism and biodiversity planning
Developing screening criteria for Impact assessments13
Both the ROS and the LAC approaches can be used to define criteria for impact assessment, decision making and adaptive management that can then be applied to specific tourism proposals, activities and development. In particular they help to define screening criteria and to scope the issues to be included in impact assessments for particular types of developments and activities.
The process of developing a strategy and action plan can generate valuable information such as conservation priorities and targets which can guide further development of impact assessment screening criteria.
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Baseline Information is assembled to describe the existing environmental, social and economic conditions at and surrounding an area where some action or project is planned. This information provides a standard relating to a specific time or defined area of land or water, against which future measurements can be compared so that trends or changes can be assessed. It is also vital to have information about an area’s ‘tourism assets’ —including accommodation, attractions, activities and other facilities available for tourism—as this is needed to understand the actual tourism in an area, and its potential for development or change, from a realistic tourism perspective.
The Baseline Information collected for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity should provide an overview of the interactions between tourism and biodiversity at a selected level as well as information about a number of key questions.
The focus of the Baseline Information stage is therefore on:
• the collection of information that already exists (secondary information)—generally in some documentary form—so that it is assembled systematically;
• the analysis of this information in order to assess a) its credibility, reliability and adequacy, b) the need and priorities for further information collection.
The main requirements for Baseline Information cover information relating to six categories14:
• Environment and biodiversity;
• Economic and social conditions;
• Cultural aspects (including historical and archaeological sites);
• Indigenous and local communities;
• Other sectors that have an effect on biodiversity and tourism potential (eg. agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining and resource extraction).
Since the guidelines provide a framework for integrating and harmonising existing tourism plans and biodiversity management plans, it is desirable to include any national biodiversity strategies and national tourism plans in the Baseline Information collected, and to assess the ways in which these plans may complement and/or conflict with each other.
Maps, diagrams and other visual tools are important for gathering, analysing and communicating information from different sources. Maps are also an important tool for conservation management and planning. The Baseline Information should be put onto maps so that the geographical relationships between tourism and biodiversity, and those other main factors that affect them, can be assessed. These maps should include social and cultural information, as well as economic and environmental information.
When available, a computerized geographical information system (GIS) will provide a useful tool for information collation and comparative analysis.
At site level, the information required will be at the level of different zones that are identifiable within the site, covering, for example, different habitats, cultural features, types of land use and conservation management, tourism access, and administrative boundaries—even if these areas have not been surveyed in detail, sketch maps can be used to identify them and to assign data to each zone.
A scoping exercise should be conducted prior to data collection in order to determine the information to be collected, and the sources from which that information can be obtained. Scoping is important to ensure that the collection of Baseline Information gathers the right information at the right level of detail from reliable sources.
Scoping involves identifying and defining the issues to be investigated, and then prioritizing those of greatest significance (eg. in relation to scale of impacts, scale of risk). Then it must be decided, based on these issues:
• what information is needed;
• what part of this information is already available;
• what further information therefore needs to be collected to fill gaps between the information needed and the information available.
In deciding what information is needed, it is important to ensure that:
• information on the cumulative effects—actual and anticipated—of tourism development, tourism projects and other activities is included;
• information is gathered over a suitable geographical area to enable cumulative impacts and indirect impacts that may arise from areas adjacent to the main area of interest, to be properly assessed; • information is reliable and comes from reliable sources.
By scoping the need for Baseline Information, its collection can be tailored to the specific information requirements of different situations. For example, the information to be collected at the national level for tourism volume will relate to the basic gathering of existing statistics of incoming tourism numbers nationally, while at the local level it will be very important to look at baseline tourism flows to the particular site—research that often is not available and must be collected via original research. Likewise, baseline numbers for the impacts of tourism on infrastructure such as roads may be accessible via national or regional research on tourism numbers using regional transportation corridors, while site assessments must perform a careful and most likely original survey review of present tourism traffic on local corridors, such as trails into protected areas. Once information needs are clearly defined through a scoping exercise, it is likely that in many cases, all or most of the information required may already be available and accessible; or if not, it may well be possible to find cost-effective means to obtain it—for example, by cooperating with various agencies and other organizations. This approach has been used in the Tayrona National Park, Colombia, where Fisheries Department patrols provide the park administration with details of any damage to trees on the coastline, illegal boat mooring on coral reefs, etc.
It is important to assess the reliability of the information that is assembled. This can be done by obtaining independent confirmation of the information by:
• cross-checking information from different sources—if there are inconsistencies, try to find out why this is the case;
• ensuring the participation of a range of indigenous and community groups, independent nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders;
• using a workshop that brings together all the relevant stakeholders to review the information that has been assembled—a workshop format enables the stakeholders to interact with and be accountable to each other during the workshop;
• peer reviewing assembled information and the overview synthesis developed from it;
• using a multidisciplinary team in data collection and analysis.
Sources of Baseline Information
Relevant information for the collection of Baseline Information will be held by a range of different organizations in different sectors, including:
• national government departments and agencies;
• local government;
• private sector businesses;
• indigenous and local communities;
• minority groups.
Information about specific sites designated as Biosphere reserves, World heritage sites or Ramsar sites, is available on the Internet, and may provide useful Baseline Information, particularly at national level.
Baseline Information should take into consideration all sources of knowledge, including traditional knowledge, and quantitative and qualitative data and information.
Well-informed individuals are also excellent sources of information, particularly at site level, and various methods, including questionnaires, interviews and qualitative methods, can be used to collect information that they are able to provide. Some examples of information that will be relevant during the collection of baseline data are listed in the checklists under Baseline Information.
Information requirements and collection in the tourism sector
The tourism industry—both through tourism industry associations and through individual companies— needs to assemble Baseline Information as a starting point for playing its role in an integrated approach to the management of tourism and biodiversity. The types of information that are available to the tourism industry are mainly on:
• the different products that are provided by the industry;
• the destinations visited and numbers of tourists;
• market trends;
• visitor satisfaction.
In addition, local representatives and managers of tourism companies can provide valuable feedback that can help to assess problems with tour management—for example, overcrowding or poor waste management— where these occur. The tourism industry therefore has a considerable amount of information that it can use to plan and manage the products that it offers to tourists, to set standards for tour management in relation to biodiversity conservation and environmental protection, and to make alterations to tour management in order to reduce any negative impacts that may arise: for example, the Tour Operators’ Initiative for Sustainable tourism Development (TOI) has prepared a practical guide to good practice on ‘Managing environmental impacts in the marine recreation sector.’15
As well as using the Baseline Information that it collects, the tourism industry can also play a valuable role by sharing this information with those responsible for managing biodiversity conservation and environmental protection, and by participating in the development of plans for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity.
In relation to proposals for tourism development and activities that are proposed by tourism developers, a developer should generally be expected to provide the relevant Baseline Information in relation to a specific proposal (for example, as part of a notification, and also in impact assessment), and to pay for the costs of collection of relevant Baseline Information. It will be necessary for the authority receiving this information to be aware of possible bias in information provided by developers, and to assess whether or not the information provided is biased or unbiased, and comprehensive, reliable and relevant. There are responsibilities on both the proposer and the regulatory authority to ensure that the Baseline Information gathered is complete in relation to the key issues identified during the scoping exercise, and others that may have been identified during assessment of the information collected.
Baseline Information—Case Studies
Stiavnica Hills Protected landscape Area, Slovak Republic
A review of Baseline Information in the Stiavnica Hills, a Protected landscape Area (PLA) in the Slovak Republic that is popular with domestic tourists, found that the several institutions which are responsible for the management of biodiversity and nature protection, have little knowledge about existing information sources and documents held by other departments or institutions, and that communications channels were poor. Furthermore, their priorities for information collection did not specifically include the interactions between conservation objectives and tourism or other economic activities. Because of this it was difficult to develop a comprehensive regional management strategy that integrated tourism issues into biodiversity conservation and environmental protection plans. Good information was available about ecosystems, flora and fauna for the Stiavnica Hills PLA, but information about visitor numbers, their interest and activities, the main places visited within the PLA, was more limited—often based on personal observations and small surveys—and needed to be updated with more comprehensive research. No indicators were available that could be used to assess the effects of tourism on the flora and fauna in different areas of the PLA, or to take impact management to counteract any damage to biodiversity that might be resulting from tourism.16
Tayrona National Park, Colombia—Baseline Information
The Tayrona National Park, located in the Atlantic coast of North Colombia, covers an area of 15,000 hectares, of which 3000 hectares are in marine areas. Although the Tayrona National Park does not contain indigenous reservations, it is part of the ancestral territory of the indigenous groups who live in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. In 1982, UNESCO declared the combined area of Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta and the Tayrona National Park as a Biosphere Reserve, demonstrating the importance of the region in relation to conservation and regional development. Due to its easy access, its location and the beauty of its landscape with a system of bays or protected creeks and large beaches, the Tayrona National Park is one of the most visited areas of the National Park System, and attracts both national and international visitors. A review of Baseline Information undertaken in the Tayrona National Park, Colombia, found that:17
• Scientific information has been accumulated that can help to determine appropriate levels of tourism within the different zones that have been established within the park for management purposes. The particular types of tourism that are most suitable within each zone have been identified, as well as zones which should be free from tourism. However the park does not have sufficient detailed information for the assessment of ecological and socio-cultural impacts;
• The Tayrona National Park management has good information about marine and coastal ecosystems, taxonomic lists on endemic, exclusive, migrating and endangered species for the park as a whole. This information has already been used for zoning the park, and for the classification of the coastal ecotourism sites. It could also be applied to develop management criteria for avoidance or prevention of damage that can result from tourism, and for education and publishing purposes to raise the awareness of tourists about the sensitivity and ecological importance of the places they visit;
• A wide range of policies and regulations for ecotourism activities were already in place, including some information about the evolution of the ecotourism market, opening up the possibility of setting up projects to develop ecotourism for which there would be a demand in the market. However, studies about ecotourism markets were felt to be insufficient;
• No indicators had been established that could be used to assess and monitor the social and cultural impact of ecotourism, and more information was needed on the scale of tourism’s economic contribution to local communities associated with the park. Establishment of indicators would assist in implementation of management actions to counteract any damage to biodiversity that may occur through tourism, and to adjust and plan tourism activities;
• A framework was needed to allow the exchange of information between traditional indigenous knowledge and scientific-technical knowledge, so that such knowledge could be integrated into assessments of plans for tourism development, and in evaluations of the effects of existing tourism. Overall, more information was needed for all the planning levels and decision making.
Visions, goals and Objectives
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Vision and goals
The planning process generally begins with the formulation of an overall vision and set of associated goals, which are then divided into more specific objectives and actions that each contribute to the attainment of a particular goal.
A vision is a broad statement of long-term intent, and along with its associated goals, it provides a constant point of reference throughout all subsequent assessment, decision-making, implementation, monitoring and management phases, even though there may be changes in the personnel and/ or organisational structures involved during these phases. A clearly stated vision will enable any of the contradictory issues that can arise in complex or large projects and programmes, to be resolved in an ordered and accountable manner, and will help to maintain consistency of decision-making throughout a project (for example, in impact assessments and decision-making on specific proposals for tourism activities and development, and for adaptive management). It can also be used as a framework for reporting on progress, day-to-day management decisions, and adjustments to objectives and actions.
The most successful visions are based on participatory planning processes that include indigenous and local communities and others that are likely to be actors in or may be affected by the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity and by tourism development. The visioning process should involve all relevant stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities, the tourism sector, and site/biodiversity managers, as well as local and national government authorities and agencies. It will need to take into account all assets (natural, cultural, social, and economic) and ecological processes of the region, as well as factors influencing tourism to and in the region, and some of this collected as Baseline Information (see Baseline Information). To do this it is necessary to select and apply an accepted planning methodology, such as the Recreational Opportunity Spectrum or Limits of Acceptable Change. The visioning process should consider all forms of relevant information, including scientific and indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices.
Indigenous and local communities, where they have not already done so, should be encouraged and supported to formulate their own community-development plans that will enable their communities to adopt a more culturally appropriate, strategic, integrated and phased approach to their development needs in line with community goals and objectives, including appropriate poverty eradication programmes.18 These plans should include a strategic impact assessment policy or aim to provide a systematic process for integrating social, environmental and cultural considerations in planning and decision-making, for the application of impact assessments to development proposals.
The CBD Guidelines provide a framework for formulating an agreed vision and goals, and for their subsequent implementation.
Once the vision and goals are agreed upon, specific objectives should be established that will serve as a series of “stepping stones” for realizing the broader, shared vision and achieving measurable goals. These objectives should identify specific steps, targets, achievements, and timescales for each step, and should reflect practical considerations such as: market feasibility, business viability, social and physical carrying capacity and management capacity at a local level, impact management measures, and contribution towards greater sustainability. Successful achievement of specific objectives requires clear and monitored links between tourism development, conservation and the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity.
The objectives are naturally developed from the vision and goals. Following this, comprehensive specific actions, which are consistent with the objectives, can then be identified. Throughout this process, strengths and weaknesses should be identified and evaluated. This is to ensure that the strengths may be capitalized upon and the goals and objectives are drafted in such a way that they either address or will not risk being undermined by the weaknesses.
Objectives and associated actions should be clear, SMART and easily understood by all those who will be participating to implement them. SMART stands for plans and actions that are:
Specificity of results by including the who, what, when, where and why
Should contain a measurable element to determine success or failure
Use sound professional judgement to develop measurable expectations of time, staff, funds to pursue the objective
Specify an end result
Objectives should indicate the time period during which they will be achieved
US Fish and Wildlife Service 1997. “Writing Refuge Management Goals and Objectives: A Handbook”.
Protected area managers must be very clear in their vision, objectives, and goals for tourism. Their vision should be based on a participatory planning process. Once the current baseline of tourism in the area has been established, protected areas managers can determine ways to improve links between tourism and conservation, in order to increase the overall benefit of tourism to the site. This involves identifying tourism products that could be developed or are already existing, paying particular attention to opportunities for tourism and conservation to provide mutual benefits, such as a tourism experience that raises visitor awareness about the conservation value of the site. Keeping in mind conservation goals, managers can assess ways to increase the maximum number of tourists that can be handled on the site, for example by creating new trails to direct tourists away from sensitive or congested places, training park staff and private guides, and improving information facilities. The analysis will also provide evidence of any conservation threats or social conflicts generated by visitors, which can then be potential issues to target with awareness-raising activities.
During this phase, protected areas managers should also create a list of activities and projects that might attract the financial or in-kind support of the tourism industry. These projects should have the potential to develop and/or better manage tourism in the park and also be of interest to the targeted tourism businesses. If possible, the list should include projects that could be carried out by local NGOs or community groups working with the site.
Vision & goals—Case study
The Great Barrier Reef: The 25 Year Strategic Plan
In 1994, The 25 Year Strategic Plan for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area was produced to provide strategies for managing and preserving the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area for a 25 year period.19 The Strategic Plan gave everyone who has a stake in the Reef ’s long-term future a say in how the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is to be managed over the next 25 years. This approach will ensure the Reef remains in a healthy state and can be enjoyed by future generations. From the beginning, emphasis was placed on the concerns and opinions of all stakeholders. These included governments, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, conservationists, scientists, recreational users and established Reef industries such as fishing, shipping and tourism. Overall, the Strategic Plan was endorsed by almost 70 organizations representing all levels of government, recreational and commercial users, conservation and scientific groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The overall vision for the Plan states that in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in 25 years there will be:
• A healthy environment: an Area which maintains its diversity of species and habitats, and its ecological integrity and resilience, parts of which are in pristine condition;
• Sustainable multiple use;
• Maintenance and enhancement of values;
• Integrated management;
• Knowledge-based but cautious decision making in the absence of information;
• An informed, involved, committed community.
To realize this vision, the plan identifies eight broad strategy areas:
• Resource management;
• Education, communication, consultation and commitment;
• Research and monitoring;
• Integrated planning;
• Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Interests;
• For each of these broad areas, the Plan provides the Rationale, 25-Year Objective, 5-Year Objectives and strategies to fulfil these objectives.
Legislation and control measures
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Legislation and control measures will be required to provide a framework and support for the integrated management of biodiversity and tourism. Legislation should provide a basis for regulating both where tourism may be carried out—for example, some areas where tourism is encouraged, and others where some or all classes of tourism activity are excluded, such as strict nature reserves or vulnerable areas; and how tourism may be carried out—for example, by setting conditions for the development and conduct of tourism, and processes of decision-making and enforcement by which these conditions will be applied (see also steps 7, 8, 9 & 10).
Some appropriate legislation and control measures may already exist that can contribute to this purpose, particularly legislation concerning land-use planning, protected area management, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, environmental assessment, building regulations and standards for sustainable tourism. In addition, customary law (eg. law consisting of customs that are accepted as legal requirements or obligatory rules of conduct; practices and beliefs that are so vital and intrinsic a part of a social and economic system that they are treated as if they were laws)20 may also be relevant, particularly concerning the customs, practices and beliefs of indigenous and local communities.
It is equally important to understand existing legislation and control measures, such as regulations, in order to ensure that they properly adhere to the planning and management of tourism activities and developments by all stakeholders. This includes respect for the customary laws and rights of indigenous and local communities with respect to their traditional knowledge, innovations and practices.21
Managers need to fully understand the specific legislation that applies to particular sites, and to know where there may be conflicts between different laws and regulations, or variability in the way they are applied. This enables sites to avoid taking actions for which there is no legal basis, and to use existing legislation and regulations as effectively as possible for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity.
Therefore legislation and control measures available for the implementation of the overall vision, goals and objectives for tourism and biodiversity, should be reviewed to assess their effectiveness, including enforcement, and any gaps that may need to be addressed for example, by revision of and/or the development of additional legislation and control measures. Although it can be time consuming, changing legislation is an excellent long term goal for many projects, as tourism is frequently inadequately regulated. It is progressively easier to modify regulations, policies and guidelines for usage and each of these options should be studied for feasibility.
The review of legislation and control measures should include an assessment of the effectiveness of any provisions for resource management. Frequently, community access and/or ownership, especially that of indigenous and local communities, is not well defined in legislation. The development of tourism can be very problematic when lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by local people have to be altered to accommodate tourism. All tourism projects ascertain the legal rights of indigenous and local communities; and enable these groups to make decisions about tourism development and activities, among other forms of development and activities, in these areas.
Legislation and measures to safeguard the rights of indigenous and local communities, should be recognized in legislation governing planning, impact assessment and decision-making for tourism and biodiversity management, including clear requirements for project/policy developers to identify the most culturally, environmentally and socially sound, efficient options that avoid, reduce or mitigate adverse impacts.22 Furthermore, in order to safeguard their rights, indigenous and local communities should establish, or be assisted to establish, protocols consistent with relevant national legislation for access to and use of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices in the cultural, environmental and social impact assessment processes that apply to tourism and biodiversity management.23
Other control measures for the management of tourism and biodiversity, such as economic instruments, and certification schemes, should also be considered.
Table 2: options for control measures for tourism actions or activities
• areas where an activity may or may not occur
• areas where an activity must occur or must not occur
• Soufriere Marine Management Area, St. Lucia—to prevent conflicts between tourism and fishing, the area is zoned into areas for fishing and areas for scuba/snorkeling. This has been successful, and fishing stocks have also improved, since fish are able to spawn and grow in the areas reserved for tourism
• seasonal cycle—exclusions at sensitive times
• diurnal cycle—separation of activities
• time within which activity must occur
• duration of permit or decision before review or renewal
• require works or actions to limit adverse
• environmental impacts
• social impacts
• experiential impacts
• health and safety
• waste, water cycle/sewerage
• Requirements to provide composting toilets and to dispose of composted sewage at designated disposal points
• Use of vehicles and hunting is prohibited in wilderness areas of many National Parks in North America
• overall/cumulative- per year, month week
• site—maximum number at one time
• activity—maximum number at one time
• A daily maximum of … visitors are allowed into the tiger reserve at Ranthambore, India
• Operator competence—certification
• Visitor information on conditions of entry
• Visitor information on activities and attractions
• Visitors must be accompanied by trained park wardens when visiting Kakum National Park, Ghana
Economic instruments can be applied both to raise revenues and to help control the access of tourists to biodiversity. These are mostly for use in protected areas. The main mechanisms that protected areas use to raise funds from tourism are:
• entrance fees;
• user fees;
• concessions and leases;
• direct operation of commercial activities;
• volunteers and donations.
The suitability of these mechanisms for any particular site will depend on a variety of factors, including the scale of tourism at the site, where tourism takes place within the site, access points, and the way in which the commercial tourism sector interacts with the site. Sites that plan to raise funds from tourism will need to select and implement suitable funding mechanisms.
Legislation and government policies may provide mechanisms for (and limits on) the use of economic instruments in protected and other areas managed by public authorities, and may also govern the use and sharing of revenues that are raised using these mechanisms. It is desirable that a significant portion of revenues raised through economic instruments is used to cover some operational costs for conservation, or to address the needs of communities affected by tourism and associated activities.24
A further financial control is the requirement of bonds to provide protection in the event of failed enterprises. There is now a body of experience highlighting the problems, costs and impacts that can result from failed tourism enterprises. Economic failure with bankruptcy can result in derelict and hazardous structures with adverse environmental and social impacts that continue until the government or a third party funds removal, remediation or restoration. Such failures may also occur because of the catastrophic impacts of storms or other natural disasters.
It is now common practice to require a proponent to obtain a third party assessment of the costs of removal and making good in the event of project failure, or at the expiry of the period of permit and to provide the managing agency with a non-negotiable financial or insurance bond that can be drawn upon if necessary to remove or make good because of the failure of the permit holder.
Voluntary Compliance Measures
Voluntary measures for monitoring the impacts of tourism have been evolving in the past ten years and provide a set of optional compliance measures that governments and industry can consider using. Codes of conduct, Guidelines, Corporate reporting, Auditing, and Certification are all options to be considered. Each of these can be found in the Technical Users Reference List.
Certification may be the most discussed option among the Voluntary Compliance Measures. Most certification schemes for sustainable tourism focus on applying environmental management to accommodation and related tourism enterprises. They have mainly been developed for larger tourism enterprises, although an increasing number are now developing criteria that also apply to smaller hotels, guesthouses and ecolodges. Most of these schemes are national or regional in their coverage. In part, this is because variations in environmental and social conditions between different regions of the world mean that specific indicators for sustainable tourism have to be developed according to regional conditions. The development of suitable indicators for sustainable tourism in any region can be a lengthy process, and this is one reason why schemes are not widely available in many regions.
As well as certification for accommodation, some certification schemes have been developed to certify ecotourism operators and even the management of environments for tourism.
Key features for credible certification schemes for sustainable tourism are:25
• Certification criteria should be based on the actual achievements and performance of the organization applying for certification;
• The certification criteria should reflect the views of all stakeholders in or affected by tourism (including local communities), and should also take into account best available practices. The views of stakeholders are particularly important in identifying the priority sustainability issues that need to be incorporated into the certification criteria;
• The certification criteria should reflect the specific environmental, social and cultural conditions of the geographical area to which they are being applied, and should be realistically achievable;
• The certification criteria should set performance levels which reflect best practices, and go beyond minimum legal requirements;
• Applicants for certification should be asked to provide credible and sufficient evidence of their compliance to the certification criteria. The certification scheme should operate a credible system to evaluate the applicants, and should include a professional, independent and transparent verification process;
• They should monitor certified organizations to check that the certification criteria are met throughout the period during which certification is awarded;
• They should require certified organisations to provide regular reports on their performance, and make these publicly available;
• They should provide a source of technical assistance for applicants and certified organizations, and should focus on facilitating progressive improvements amongst those organizations in the tourism sector to which it applies;
• They should be financially independent and stable.
In relation to the use of certification schemes as a tool to promote and assist with application of the Guidelines on Biological Diversity and Tourism, it would also be important to ensure that the schemes used include criteria that are consistent with the Guidelines.
Legislation and Control Measures—Case Studies
SMART Voyager, Ecuador26
The SMARTVoyager® certification program, which aims to minimize the impact of tour boats in the Galapagos Islands, has developed from an initiative by an Ecuadorian conservation group and the Rainforest Alliance. The program was designed by the Corporación de Conservación y Desarrollo (CCD), an Ecuadorian nonprofit organization with experience in ecotourism and ecolabels, and was launched in May 2000. Working with scientists, conservation experts, tour operators and others, CCD developed standards for the maintenance and operation of tour boats. Tour companies that wish to participate invite a team of specialists aboard their boats to evaluate the vessels according to the guidelines. The tour boat certification program is guided by an advisory committee—comprised of the Ecuadorian Minister of Tourism, scientists, park officials and representatives of the tourism industry. The International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, representing the companies that manage tourism in the islands, supports the program by distributing information to the tour operators and the tourists themselves.
Boat operators must plan and control the consumption, supply and storage of materials taking into consideration the well being of tourists, workers, local communities and conservation of natural ecosystems. Boats must follow a waste-management plan, including reduction, reuse, recycling, and adequate final treatment and disposal of all wastes. Tourists must be guided in their involvement in protecting natural resources and local cultures, in accordance with these standards to avoid impacts and collaborate with the island conservation programs. The tourist operation must guarantee the safety of all involved individuals. The tourist operation activities must be planned, monitored and evaluated, taking into consideration technical, economic, social and environmental factors.
Boat operators pay for audits and the use of the ecolabel. The criteria will be revised annually in an open, transparent, inclusive and documented process. Certification contracts are for one year; boats must be inspected at least annually. SMARTVoyager auditors can guide boat operators to a variety of expert sources of information and technical services.
The Blue Flag Campaign, Europe27
The Blue Flag Campaign is an EC funded program to certify the quality of beaches and marinas, mostly for the quality of bathing water. It is run by the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE) and operated at national level by satellite offices from FEEE. The main partners are the European Commission, United Nations Environment Programme, World Tourism Organisation, the International Life Saving Federation, and other institutions on national level.
The Campaign started in France in 1985 and expanded into a European programme in 1987. FEEE is currently exploring the possibility for extending the Campaign to South East Asia, the Caribbean, Southern Africa, Canada and the United States.
The award is currently based on 27 criteria for beaches and 16 criteria for marinas, covering four aspects of management: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services. Some criteria are imperative, whereas others are guideline criteria. Some of the criteria are compliance with health and safety legislation, others encourage pro-active visitor management. The applicant will be the management unit responsible for the site, in the case of beaches it will be the municipality or council, whereas for marinas it will be their owner, either the public or private sector. Criteria are verified through site visits throughout the summer season and at times before the season, carried out by the national organisation and the Blue Flag co-ordination. The bathing water quality data are controlled by the national environmental protection agency. If some of the criteria are not fulfilled during the season or the conditions change, the Blue Flag will be withdrawn. The Flag is awarded per summer season; in practical terms this is one year.
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Impact assessment is a process of evaluating the likely impacts, both positive and negative, of a proposed project or development, taking into account environmental, socio-economic, and cultural impacts. The processes and voluntary guidelines for incorporating biodiversity-related issues into environmental impact assessment legislation and/or strategic environmental assessment, which have been developed by the Convention, are available to give further assistance on these aspects of impact assessment.
Impact assessment can be a great planning tool in the development process as it enables the identification of positive and negative impacts prior to construction. This can enable design changes to mitigate or eliminate such impacts before construction starts and is far more cost-effective than trying to do so mid-project.
Environmental impact assessment is the process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account the inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse. Although legislation and practice vary around the world, the fundamental components of an environmental impact assessment typically encompass six stages from initially screening which projects need a full assessment to monitoring and evaluating the development activities and predicted impacts of the project.29
A strategic environmental assessment is a comprehensive process for identifying and evaluating the environmental, socio-economic, and cultural consequences of proposed policies, plans or programmes to ensure that these factors are fully considered at the earliest possible stages of decision-making. The scope of strategic environmental assessment covers a wider range of activities or a wider area and often over a longer time span than environmental impact assessment or specific projects and proposals.
A strategic environmental assessment does not replace or reduce the need for a project-level environmental impact assessment, but it can help to streamline the incorporation of environmental, socio-economic, and cultural concerns into the decision-making process, often making a project-level impact assessment a more effective process.30
As part of both types of impact assessments it is important to examine the cumulative impacts that arise from different developments that have taken or may take place in a region. For example, significant cumulative impacts can result from a collection of small projects and developments each of which has a relatively low individual impact. Also, in the tourism sector, even very small bars and restaurants can attract large numbers of tourists and give rise to significant waste management and disposal problems that can damage biodiversity.
It is also important to examine the economic viability of proposed tourism projects and developments, to assess whether their business plans are realistic, and to compare the anticipated financial and other economic benefits to be derived from these projects, with the costs involved, including both direct costs and social and environmental costs that may also result.
The benefits and costs should include factors such as:
• foreign exchange earnings;
• economic diversification;
• leakages and repatriation;
• imports associated with tourism;
• consumption of environmental resources;
• additional resources required to manage adverse impacts on biodiversity and environmental resources;
• impacts on other economic activities;
• loss of alternative uses and other non-monetary impacts.
It is important to recognise that levels of tourism can be highly unpredictable compared to other types of economic activity, and that business plans can be overoptimistic. Tourism projects and developments that underperform and are only partially utilised, represent a significant cost in terms of investment of both funds and human resources that could have been better applied to other activities.
Role of indigenous and local communities in impact assessment
Involving indigenous and local communities in impact assessment is imperative for projects that affect their sacred sites, lands and waters that are traditionally occupied or used by them. Considering the different conditions and circumstances of indigenous and local communities and other relevant stakeholders, sufficient time should be allowed to ensure that all parties are able to participate effectively in the decision- making process. Impact assessment information should be provided in forms that are accessible and comprehensible to all the indigenous and local communities, as well as other stakeholders that are involved.
The Akwe: Kon Guidelines describe the conduct of impact assessments for proposed developments that may affect indigenous and local communities, and should also be applied to tourism development proposals.
There may also be cases where indigenous and local communities are involved in developing and running their own tourism businesses, and in such cases, the parts of the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism and this manual that refer to the tourism industry will also apply to such developments and operations of indigenous and local communities. This would include requirements for notification and impact assessment of specific proposals for tourism activities and development.
Arrangements and timing of impact assessments
The impact assessment guidelines should incorporate or reflect national policies and goals related to tourism and biodiversity. For example, if a national goal is the preservation of threatened and protected species, this could be reflected in the IA guidelines by requesting that these species be listed if present in the area where development is planned. Ensuring the objectivity and skill levels required for adequate impact assessments may best be achieved through the establishment of guidelines and/or legislation to clearly set out minimum criteria and information that will need to be provided in impact assessment reports.
Evaluation of the adequacy of impact assessments, and their compliance with any national guidelines and/or legislation is usually undertaken by Government agencies or regulating authorities. Technical and scientific experts within these agencies review impact assessment reports for the accuracy of data and facts. It is essential to recognize that the review of an Impact assessment document requires a range of expertise. It will be necessary to consult broadly with other relevant agencies where expertise lies, in order to properly assess the submission. Reviews may also involve consultation with local experts, communities to be affected by the development as well as with any external expertise that may be required. The review process may involve clearly outlined timeframes for public consultation and Government responses to development project proponents.
Public consultation should also occur during the impact assessment process to address issues that are important to persons who live in areas that are likely to be affected by the proposed development as well as any other stakeholders identified. Sufficient time should be allowed considering the different conditions and circumstances to ensure that all stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities, are able to participate effectively in the decision-making process for any project using information provided by the impact assessment. Such information should be provided in forms that are accessible and comprehensible to all the various stakeholders involved.
Public consultation in the preparation and review process for an impact assessment can occur in many ways, and should be a collaborative as well as informative process. This is well expressed by the following continuum of stakeholder involvement approaches and selected techniques.31
Continuum of stakeholder involvement approaches and selected techniques
Message to the public
“Knowledge about a decision”
Advertising, newspaper inserts, posters
You want them to know and understand it
“Being heard before the decision”
Briefs, focus groups
You want them to understand and support your programme
“Being heard and involved in discussions”
Community meetings or gatherings, conferences, workshops
You want to understand them and value their views and input
“Having an influence on the decision”
Advisory groups, task forces
You seriously expect to implement most of their advice
“Agreeing to the decision”
Consultation, mediation, negotiation
You are fully committed to using the results in all but the most exceptional circumstances
One of the first stages in the assessment process is the screening, using screening criteria, of each component of the project to determine if there are any likely impacts of sufficient severity to warrant a full-scale assessment. Whether or not there may be any significant environmental consequences will depend on both the scale and complexity of the project and the nature and vulnerability of the environmental systems relevant to its location.
Assuming that there is need for a full-scale assessment, the next step in the process is that of scoping. This is where the principal questions that need to be investigated are identified. Scoping refers to the further process of identifying the key or priority issues attached to any particular project or its environmental setting. Not all aspects of a project will be problematic.
It should be noted that adequate time measured in months rather than weeks, will be needed to produce the Impact assessment and to review it. The impact assessment, therefore, must be planned well in advance. Due regard must be taken that ecological and social studies may need to be undertaken at appropriate seasons during the year.
Impact management and mitigation
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Impact management and mitigation are designed to avoid or minimise negative impacts, and to maximize positive impacts, of both existing and new tourism developments. The main impact management measures available to avoid or minimize negative effects on components of biodiversity (including social and cultural aspects) are:
• manage access to components of biodiversity;
• manage how components of biodiversity are used;
• manage the development of infrastructure in and around components of biodiversity;
• encourage appropriate behaviours of people during their use of components of biodiversity;
• manage the handling and disposal of wastes that may be generated during use of components of biodiversity;
• manage and restore past damage;
• protect indigenous and local communities associated with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity from adverse effects that may affect them as a result of tourism development and activities.
Impact management can include measures for the siting of tourism development and activities including:
• establishing appropriate activities in different designated zones;
• differentiating between the impacts of different types of tourism;
• taking measures to control tourist flows in and around tourist destinations and key sites;
• promoting appropriate behaviour by tourists so as to minimize their impacts;
• establishing limits to numbers of visitors and their impacts within Limits of Acceptable Change at any site.
Impact mitigation can include:
• avoiding the impact by not taking a certain action;
• minimising impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action;
• rectifying the impact by repairing or restoring the affected environment;
• reducing the impact by protective steps required with the action;
• compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources.32
Impact management also includes preparation of contingency plans, which establish an outline of decisions and measures to be adopted if previously defined circumstances should occur in relation to a specific activity.
Contingency plans are best divided into two distinct parts:
• a descriptive policy document outlining the overall strategy of the plan;
• an operational plan concerned with procedures to be followed when an emergency or an unanticipated situation occurs.
Once the potential impacts of a tourism development have been identified through an impact assessment study, steps need to be taken to manage and mitigate these impacts or even eliminate them, if possible.
Impact assessment reports will include recommendations by the project proponents for mitigation of impacts. Recommendations for impact mitigation measures will need to be reviewed and evaluated to determine whether or not they would be sufficient to minimize or avoid impacts, and to ensure that they are consistent with legislation, policies, plans and priorities for biodiversity conservation. For example, wetland preservation is a priority for The Bahamas, and therefore Government agencies will recommend measures that reduce or eliminate impact to wetlands such as changes to the design for the development, no filling-in of such areas, or incorporation of the wetland feature into the development.
Planning for impact management and mitigation needs to be based on impact assessment studies and reports, and to include the identification of:
• the impact management measures to be used;
• the responsibilities of the different stakeholders for implementing measures;
• the resources needed for implementing each measure;
• the outcomes that impact management is to achieve and indicators for monitoring these outcomes.
It is the responsibility of the stakeholders who create actual or potential impacts to implement an appropriate impact management strategy. Other stakeholders, particularly relevant government authorities, are also responsible for checking the compliance with, and the effectiveness of, impact management measures that may be specified as conditions attached to permits for tourism development and activities.
It is also important to ensure the effective enforcement of impact management measures that are set as conditions in permits to allow tourism development and activities to go ahead. This is equally true at larger scales such as whole ecosystem or eco-region levels.
Once impact management and mitigation measures have been established for particular tourism activities and developments, a monitoring scheme needs to be used to check that these measures are being implemented effectively, and if they are not, to allow decisions to be made on corrective action. All stakeholders who are or may potentially be affected by tourism development and activities should be consulted on the need for impact management measures, and on the design of such measures. This applies at site level; in relation to specific proposals for tourism development and activities; and at higher levels, such as the level of whole ecosystems or eco-regions, or nationally.
The reasons for implementing impact management measures need to be properly understood by all the stakeholders, and the stakeholders can be involved in monitoring implementation of impact management measures and their effectiveness. By ensuring that stakeholders are involved in, and fully understand the reasons for impact management measures, stakeholders are more likely to respect and adhere to such measures. It also makes sense for stakeholders to be involved in monitoring, since they are likely to be amongst the first to notice whether or not impact management measures are being applied effectively.
The tourism industry is also working to develop practical tools that can be applied within the tourism industry to promote improved performance on sustainability issues. For example, the TOI has developed good practice guidelines for managing environmental impacts in the accommodations, and marine recreation sectors, working with supply chain partners to promote greater sustainability, and sustainability reporting indicators for tour operators.33
Impact management plans
Impact management plans can be used as a tool to ensure that mitigation measures are implemented and impact management is taking place. These plans, which incorporate the appropriate management of environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts, are intended to follow through on the results of the impact assessment by describing the mitigation and emergency response measures, monitoring, reporting, management and administrative mechanisms and structures that will be put in place during the various stages of implementing projects, including construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning.
These plans are often inclusive of the following:
• description of planned mitigation measures;
• description of measures for responding to potential accidents and malfunctions—potential accidents could include fires, oil spills with marina projects and any natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes;
• description of planned environmental monitoring—this should specify the type of monitoring required, the parameters to be measured, methods to be used, sampling location; frequencies, detection limits and thresholds to signal the need for corrective actions;
• description of the responsibilities and accountabilities for mitigation, responses to accidents and malfunctions, and monitoring—this should include responsibilities for mitigation, accidents and malfunctions and monitoring together with information flow, and coordination between and among agencies responsible for mitigation, monitoring and emergency response;
• training—this should briefly describe the type of training, participants, course, content and schedule that will be implemented to ensure that those responsible are knowledgeable about applying mitigation, responding to emergencies and monitoring and reporting.
Impact management—Case studies
Impact management in Stiavnica Hills PLA, Slovak Republic34
Impact management in the Stiavnica Hills PLA includes use of educational trails to manage visitor flows. These help to keep visitors away from the more sensitive parts of the PLA. Several projects including a geological trail linked to historical mining activities that used to occur in the region, development of new educational trails, and restoration of existing paths, will enhance the effectiveness of this visitor management technique. As well as the park administration, a number of local NGOs and museums are involved in the development and maintenance of these trails and associated visitor education activities. The PLA administration has powers to notify the local district authorities in cases of unacceptable or illegal impacts (e.g. illegal building activities), although it has not as yet proved possible to address the issues of holiday cottages that have been illegally constructed in the past.
The PLA administration is incorporating maximum limits for tourist numbers—determined using the limits for acceptable change approach—into the current management zones for the site. These limits can be applied to regulation of future development in the PLA. Impact management strategies are assisted by the fact that there are only a few access roads to the PLA region, and that most visitors visit just a few tourism sites that are already well defined—mainly around several lakes and countryside museums.
Recommendations made for improving impact management in the PLA include:
• D evelopment of a clear management plan for nature conservation and establishment of a set of guidelines for future development of tourism compatible with the nature conservation management plan for the PLA
• D evelopment of visitor management plans for specific tourism areas within the PLA, incorporating information and interpretation provision, and fine-scale zoning to create the sustainable co-existence of important habitats and tourism activities.
Impact management and zoning in a Marine Protected area: Soufrière, St. Lucia
Soufrière lies on the south West Coast of St. Lucia in an area which is popular with tourists. By the early 1990s the local fishermen felt there was an additional pressure on their livelihoods from the increasing number of tourists: for example, fishermen were having to deal with yachts when hauling their nets, and trap fishermen were in conflict with divers over damage to their gear. The Department of Fisheries therefore embarked on a process of participatory community management to resolve these issues and seek a favourable outcome for both the fishing community and the tourism industry, by bringing together all local stakeholders to prepare a zoning plan for what became known as the Soufrière Marine Management Area.35 The plan’s objectives were to restore fisheries productivity and fish stocks, and to separate conflicting activities. Four strictly protected areas (no-take zones) were identified and separated from areas where fishing was permitted. Specific yacht mooring areas were also identified.
The strictly protected areas were seen as a way of building up fish stocks to contribute to the fisheries in the adjacent zones. The management scheme was also designed to reduce conflict by separating the tourism and fisheries and to support the local fishing activity by establishing areas where fishing had priority. Part of the running costs of the area come from user fees paid by divers and mooring fees by yachtsmen and there are also small grants for specific projects. There was some initial compensation to fishermen for lost fishing grounds and a strong educational programme which informs users of the importance and role of the management scheme. This effort has meant that zoning scheme is respected.
One important outcome has been a dramatic increase in the overall amount of fish present as measured by fish biomass—the total weight of live fish found in the area. This has tripled for commercially important fish in the no-take areas. The most popular areas for fishing have therefore become the boundaries of these areas where there is a ‘spill over’ of fish into adjacent grounds. With more and bigger fish in the strictly protected areas, these zones are becoming increasingly popular with divers and snorkellers and therefore benefiting the tourist industry as well as the livelihoods of local fishermen.
Tourism and Coastal Zone Management, Barbados
The island of Barbados is a Caribbean regional leader in the development and implementation of Integrated Coastal Management with an ICM Plan that covers the entire coastline, supporting legislation, and an investment programme aimed at enhancing environmental quality. To facilitate this, the Barbados government has established a Coastal Zone Management Unit within the Ministry of Health and the Environment. Compatibility between economic and environmental interests is part of this strategy and the government of Barbados has recognised that continued benefit from tourism is dependent on the provisions to visitors of an acceptable natural and built environment. Actions relating to tourism are integrated with policies and actions for other sectors such as nature conservation, fisheries, and maintenance of water quality, within the ICM plan.36 Some examples are:
• Set back limits for coastal construction and redevelopment: For example at the Casuarina Beach Club where tourist accommodation was set back from the sandy beach. This decision allowed landscapers to design walkways and hotel facilities in a sympathetic manner, creating a visually attractive area and ensuring that the infrastructure did not impact on the active beach area. Two major benefits are the maintenance of the natural coastal defence and maintenance of a more natural secluded feel to the hotel which is an attraction to guests.
• Beach stabilising structures to retain or enhance beaches: Almost all the major beaches on the south coast are held in place by beach forming/retaining structures. This approach of shoreline stablilisation has been successful because there is a good supply of sand from Cobblers and Bow Bells Reef. Of the nineteen beach profiles monitored on the south coast up to the mid 1990’s, twelve showed a significant trend to accumulate sand and sediments, six showed no trend and one showed erosion. Between 1954 and 1991 the beach area on the south coast has increased by 35%.
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Decision-making takes place throughout the process of impact assessment in an incremental way from the screening and scoping stages to decisions during data-collection and analysis, and impact prediction to making choices between alternatives and mitigation measures and finally the decision between refusal or authorization of the project. This final decision is a choice about whether or not the proposal is to proceed, and under what conditions. If rejected, the project can be redesigned and resubmitted. It is desirable that the proponent and the decision- making body are two different entities.
The final decision will need to be made within the framework of all applicable legislation. This legal framework will generally include legislation governing:
• planning and land-use;
• land ownership;
• conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;
• designation of protected areas and other sites for conservation, and of sites for protection of cultural heritage;
• rights of indigenous and local communities, and/or other specific social groups.
The applicable legislation should be identified during the Review of Legislation and Control Measures (see Step 4).
Final decisions will need to be made concerning the formal approval or otherwise of:
• national strategies and plans for tourism and biodiversity;
• proposals for tourism development and activities at particular locations in relation to biodiversity, which are to be submitted through the notification process;
• impact management plans, taking into account the adequacy of impact management, monitoring and reporting measures in relation to anticipated impacts from tourism development and activities.
The categories of responses that governments in these decisions are generally:
• Approval without conditions;
• Approval with conditions;
• Request for further information;
• D eferral pending further baseline research by other agencies;
• Refusal to grant approval.
Existing legislation will generally define who will be formally responsible for decisions in each of these cases to ensure that the provisions of that legislation are complied with. This is usually a designated Minister or government official. In some cases, decisions need to be made concerning different aspects of strategies, proposals or management plans by different Ministries or government agencies. It will be important to ensure proper and effective coordination between all those involved in making such decisions.
Establishing an intersectoral coordinating group is one way to accomplish this.
Although formal decisions will ultimately be taken by governments, the processes outlined in the guidelines provide a framework for all stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process and for their points-of-view and submissions to be considered. Such stakeholder participation and consultation is often provided for in relevant legislation, and is therefore a part of the formal decision-making process. In some cases, prior informed consent of indigenous and local communities may be legally-required before a decision can be approved.
Legislation governing these decisions will generally include provisions for reviews or appeals, for example, based on grounds that the decision-maker(s) did not comply properly with the processes required by the legislation. The specific legal provisions in relation to the decision process, requirements for notification, public consultation and appeal and review will differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Whatever the precise requirements of the legislation it is important to maintain a record of events, information received and considered, as well as communications relating directly or indirectly to the decision. Such a record will be a key element for any decision review. It will also be the basis of continuity in circumstances where many people are involved in elements of the process or where individual key players change, such as designated decision makers.
Decision making—Case study
Mitigation Measures for the Family Islands of The Bahamas37
The Bahamas is an archipelago made of many different islands. The two major centres of development are the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama. The other less-developed islands are referred to as the Family Islands. It is on these islands that specific mitigation measures are recommended by The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Commission, to use through the appropriate legislation is applied when decision making processes are considered. These recommended measures are detailed below:
The development projects should be requested to produce EIAs designed:
to identify and assess the significance of potential impacts (positive and adverse) to living and nonliving components of the environment resulting from the proposed activities, and socio-economic impacts stemming from environmental threats; and
to recommend measures for eliminating or reducing the risk and magnitude of adverse environmental affects (mitigation) and for detecting adverse effects in time to correct them (monitoring).
The developers should be advised that accurate factual submissions make for faster approvals. The descriptive documents highlighting only benefits slow the process down.
Points (1) (a) and (b) should apply to potential positive and negative impacts on air quality, terrain, surface and groundwater quality, as well as terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
(2) a. Minimum setback from the shoreline
Without a wave and surge (coastal engineering) analysis to determine the maximum shoreline intrusion and subsequent shoreline erosion under high tidal wave and wind actions, it is suggested that a minimum setback of 100 feet from the high mean sea level be considered. The results of the appropriate studies may allow for shorter setbacks to be considered.
b. Standards for the protection of dunes
For the same reason referred to in (2) (a) above, it is suggested that a minimum setback of 75 feet from the crest of the dunes be considered. The integrity of the developments depends on the maintenance of the existing dune structure and vegetation. Dune crossovers should be kept to an absolute minimum and be located in areas where there is minimal impact on the dune structures and vegetation.
c. Designated programs for the disposal of dredged material
With the absence of a dredging impact analysis or modeling to simulate the tidal hydrodynamics and sediment transport/dispersion, dredging and deposition of dredged material must not be allowed in any areas where terrestrial and/or marine ecosystems are impacted. This includes the impact resulting from the migration of sediment caused by dredging operations.
d. Specific measures to reserve fish and bird nursery areas
These areas should be covenanted and reserved as special ‘preservation’ or ‘conservation’ zones. Management of these zones should be through The Bahamas National Trust.
e. Specific management protocols for mangrove wetlands
In the absence of an analysis of the sheltered intertidal mangrove ecosystems, there should be no intrusion into the mangrove wetlands. These lands should be reserved as special ‘preservation’ or ‘conservation’ zones in association with The Bahamas National Trust.
f. Minimum density requirement
These should be as stipulated by the Department of Physical Planning through The Bahamas Building Control Code. The Bahamas Government may make special provision for lower densities on Family Islands and Cays based on the development area.
g. Performance bond
It is a standard practice in civil works construction contracts to require contractors to post performance security either in the form of:
(i) a Bank guarantee in the amount of ten (10) percent of the contract price; or
(ii) a performance bond in the amount of twenty-five (25) percent of the contract price.
h. Mitigation of impact especially when removing or altering the landscape by providing offsetting or compensatory measures
The developer must supply design and operational measures to prevent or mitigate potential impacts related to the construction, operation and maintenance phases of the project.
i. Groundwater abstraction rates
The extraction of groundwater for domestic and/or commercial purposes should not be allowed without a permit from the appropriate Government agency (i.e. the Water and Sewerage Corporation). The Corporation will know where the viable groundwater resources are and the quantity of groundwater available for extraction.
In applying for a permit, the Corporation may require the developer to undertake hydrogeological investigations. The proponent must provide estimates of water requirements for construction, domestic, commercial and emergency demands, including future water needs.
The developer must conform fully to the requirements of the Water and Sewerage Corporation for the abstraction and distribution of water. The Corporation either directly or through a Franchise Agreement with the developer should provide the water. This matter should be negotiated directly with the Corporation with the results presented for final approval before the development can proceed.
j. Standardized environmentally sensitive waste disposal system
The developer must be required to submit specific details on water recycling, conservation and wastewater handling being proposed for the project. The water treatment and disposal system being proposed must be described in detail.
k. Mitigation of environmental impact
The dredging activity must be monitored prior to dredging as well as throughout the dredging process by conducting water-sampling tests. This system will allow for monitoring of the effects of the dredging operation and thus evaluation of the mitigation measures in place.
Timing of the dredging operation must coincide with the time of year that will minimize impacts on marine resources.
Turbidity curtains, or other sediment control equipment, are to be utilized to limit secondary sediment impacts to adjacent sea grass beds and near shore reef areas.
l. Program for the disposal of dredged materials
All dredged material must be held in upland settling ponds before transfer to the spoil containment area.
The dredged material must be placed on an impervious surface at the upland containment site.
The dredged material must be separated, cleaned and stored before land use or use as fill.
Dredged material that has been separated, cleaned and stored may be used for habitat restoration or as landfill cover for solid waste. Clean fine-grained sands may be used for parks and recreational areas.
m. Solid waste disposal systems
The solid waste disposal system must be targeted to recover cardboard, mixed paper, wood waste, inert material and materials of high visibility, including scrap metals, plastics and glass.
n. Fueling facilities
No fuel storage or refueling activities may take place at any marina without specific additional approval for these activities. Such additional approval will require the berming or bunding of all storage areas, contingency oil spill plans, emergency spill containment and clean-up chemicals and equipment, and a detailed plan for their use. Fueling practices will also have to be submitted.
o. Disposal facilities at marinas
All marinas must have in place shore disposal facilities for sewerage and solid waste. No disposal in harbours or coastal areas will be allowed. No disposal of solid waste in Bahamian waters will be permitted.
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The implementation stage begins once a decision has been made to approve a particular policy, strategy, plan or proposal. The actors involved in implementation will vary, and the main roles and responsibilities of different actors in relation to strategic development plans are outlined in more detail in the following chart.
Strategic Developmental Plans
Specific Project Proposals
• Government departments and agencies
• Municipal and local government
• Government departments and agencies
• Municipal and local government
• Indigenous and local communities
• Civil society organisations (CSOs)
• Tourism organisations
• Private sector
• Government departments
• Developer and/or operator
===Information requirements for notification of specific proposals for tourism development and activities=== The Notification process sets out the information that persons who make proposals for tourism projects could be required to provide when applying for planning approval for proposed developments at specific sites. The necessary information could be provided in the form of a site-based impact assessment that should address all relevant environmental, socio-economic and cultural issues, both positive and negative. All proposals for tourism projects will need to be assessed in accordance with planning procedures and regulations, by the designated local or national government planning authority. It is therefore important:
• for governments to provide a clear legal framework for impact assessment for proposals for tourism developments, and for requiring formally approved strategies and plans for integrated management of tourism and biodiversity to be fully taken into account by planning authorities when making decisions on proposed tourism developments;
• to understand the effects of tourism on major ecosystems and areas of high conservation importance.
At site level, and for major ecosystems, it is important to understand the laws and regulations applicable to each area, and its ecological aspects and current land uses, so that the implications of proposed tourism developments can be fully assessed.
Implementation of proposals, projects and activities
The implementation process in relation to tourism activities and developments involves all issues in preparation of the tourism business and its subsequent operation, including:
• construction and provision of tourist resorts, hotels, restaurants and other facilities and infrastructure;
• the operation or management of tourist facilities and infrastructure;
• the preparation for tourism activities;
• actually doing or facilitating tourism activities.
In relation to specific project proposals that have been approved, unless otherwise stated, the developer and/or operator will be responsible for complying with the conditions for granting the approval.
As part of this process, they can also be required to notify designated Government authorities of any failures to comply with conditions attached to an approval. These may include conditions for decommissioning, and/or of any changes in circumstances, including unforeseen environmental conditions and/or biodiversity issues (e.g. detection of rare or endangered species not recorded in the original proposal and impact assessment).
If any revisions
or changes need to be made to an approved project, including additions and/or variations of activities, they must be approved by the designated authorities before they are implemented. In the case of significant proposed changes, further stakeholder consultation will be needed, and in some cases additional impact assessment.
Where appropriate, implementation plans should include provision of assistance and support to indigenous and local communities, and other relevant stakeholders, to enable them to participate in implementation effectively.
Provision will also need to be made for local stakeholders to express their wishes and concerns to those managing tourism facilities and activities throughout the implementation and operational stages.
Monitoring and reporting
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Monitoring and auditing are used to see what actually occurs after project implementation has started. Predicted impacts on biodiversity should be monitored, as should the effectiveness of mitigation measures proposed in the environmental impact assessment. Proper management should ensure that anticipated impacts are maintained within predicted levels, and unanticipated impacts are managed before they become a problem and the expected benefits (or positive developments) are achieved as the project proceeds.
The results of monitoring provide information for periodic review and alteration of management plans, and for optimizing good practice at all stages of the project. Data generated by impact assessment and monitoring should be made accessible and useable by others, for example by publishing reports or displaying relevant information on notice boards.
Monitoring and control systems are needed as part of the management and operation of tourism activities and biological diversity, for both monitoring national policies and strategies, and for monitoring specific sites and projects. Monitoring is a tool:
• to see what actually occurs after project implementation has started;
• to check how effectively tourism developers and operators are at avoiding or minimising negative impacts on biodiversity and indigenous and local communities (see Section 13 on Impact Management);
• to check whether conditions set out in project approvals are being properly implemented and complied with;
• to identify any changes of circumstances such as environmental conditions or biodiversity status;
• to identify the impact of tourism activities on biological diversity;
• to assess how far the objectives of tourism development have been achieved;
• to establish trends concerning the state of biodiversity, tourism development and the economic and social development of indigenous and local communities.
Monitoring promotes and facilitates Adaptive Management (see Section 17 on Adaptive Management), and should provide the information necessary to redirect and adapt in order to avoid and mitigate any adverse impacts on biological diversity.
Decisions will have to be made on how monitoring is conducted, including:
• Who will be responsible for undertaking monitoring;
• What indicators will be used;
• How frequently measurements will be recorded;
• What format will be used for data collection;
• How monitoring data will be analysed and by whom;
• How monitoring results will be reported.
It is important to include monitoring for long-term and cumulative effects. It is therefore necessary to have a broader scope in regard to the area of influence and to consider whether other activities have indirect or parallel impacts.
In relation to indigenous and local communities, monitoring should include indicators to monitor tourism impacts on the economy, health and livelihoods of indigenous and local communities; and should provide them with the opportunity to be involved effectively in monitoring and evaluation.
Monitoring indicators that are linked to objectives and vision will need to be selected or formulated. Indicators should be measurable and related to the objectives of tourism development and biological diversity. Qualitative indicators can be just as valuable as quantitative.
Furthermore, developers and operators of tourism facilities and activities should be required to report periodically to designated authorities and to the public on compliance with conditions set out in approvals, and on the condition of biodiversity and the environment in relation to the tourism facilities and activities for which they are responsible.
Key factors to consider when setting up a monitoring system are:
1. the specific purpose of monitoring and reporting in relation to overall goals, objectives and impact management plans;
2. selection and/or design of suitable indicators to measure both positive and negative impacts that may arise (ideally these will be a combination of performance-based or process-based indicators);
3. identification and citation of relevant data that is already collected and available;
4. identification of what additional data may be required;
5. assessment of the effort involved in obtaining additional data against its necessity, and where appropriate, collection of this data;
6. analyzing the data and making assessments according to the indicators established;
7. establishment of regular feedback of monitoring results into impact management, decision making, implementation and Adaptive Management.
The main actors involved in monitoring and reporting are:
1. Government authorities responsible for decisions on tourism proposals and activities and tourism policies;
2. B iodiversity managers responsible for the conservation and management of biodiversity;
3. Managers, enterprises and companies involved in the implementation and oversight of tourism proposals, activities and operations; including their associations
4. Indigenous and local communities;
5. Non-governmental organisations;
6. The consumers, tourists and the public in general.
Government authorities responsible for the approval of tourism proposals and activities also have a statuary responsibility for checking that the developing and operating companies and enterprises comply with conditions relating to the formal approval of particular policies, plans, and projects or activities. These conditions are a legal requirement for the developers/operators to fulfil. They also need to know about any changes in the circumstances which may affect decisions concerning specific proposals or activities.
Indicators for assessing the performance of developers and operators are usually laid down in the conditions attached to the approval and refer to the items treated in the impact assessment, the impact management plan and the decision-making process. It is common practice to require developers to:
• collect and provide specific data relating to compliance with conditions attached to approvals for specific projects or activities;
• periodically hold multi-stakeholder meetings on site to check on implementation progress, and report on monitoring;
• periodically report to designated authorities and the public on compliance with the conditions of the approval and the conditions of biodiversity and the environment in relation to the tourism facilities and activities for which they are responsible.
Government authorities usually have a role in making monitoring results and reports available for the general public. It is important to present the information in a non-technical way so that it can easily be understood.
Government agencies also have a key role in monitoring and organising the feedback of monitoring results to determine and report whether strategies and policies are working. The key issues are compliance with policy, regulations and the conditions of the management regime, and the occurrence of impacts that the conditions are intended to prevent.
Biodiversity managers usually engage in monitoring to ensure that the conditions set in place to conserve biodiversity elements are adhered to and that additional conditions such as mitigation measures are established should unforeseen impacts arise. Important indicators are attached to the criteria for which the protected area has been established: specific ecosystem functions, habitats and species. Some countries have already set up schemes for national management effectiveness evaluations for their protected areas. Other countries are developing such schemes in accordance with CBD -Decision VII/28 which adopted the programme of work on Protected areas.
Some protected areas have received international recognition, for example under the Ramsar or World Heritage Conventions or UNESCO’s MAB-Programme (Man-and-the-Biosphere) or are being designated under regional networks such as NATURA 2000. Other protected areas have received certifications such as the European Charter for Sustainable tourism in Protected Areas, PAN-Parks or the Diploma of the Council of Europe. These international, regional, and national initiatives usually involve some form of periodic reporting based on criteria and indicators established for that purpose. Most of the baseline data required for monitoring tourism activities in and around protected areas is thus available. However, depending on the scope of tourism development, additional monitoring activities may be required to address specific issues or problems. Visitor monitoring schemes should provide for a clear picture on:
• how and which parts of the protected area are being visited and by how many visitors;
• who is doing what activities (behaviour);
• what expectations visitors have about their visits.
Combined with information about the biodiversity and environmental sensitivities of the visited area(s), management activities can be adapted so as to avoid, control and mitigate adverse impacts.
Managers, enterprises and companies
Managers, enterprises and companies generally collect data on their operations for their own management purposes, so that they can improve the tourism products that they offer, and respond to the expectations and interests of their customers. In addition, general statistics on tourism and trends may be collected by local associations of tourism businesses, and/or by local and national tourism offices.
Managers can also be a valuable source of information about visitor interests and visitor satisfaction, as their business operations depend on knowing what the tourists want. If managers are willing to make some of this information available, it will be a useful component for visitor monitoring schemes. Some companies also require their tour leaders and guides to make regular reports that include information on any problems that may have been encountered at visited sites, or other factors that may affect the quality of the visitor experience (eg. overcrowding, lack of observable wildlife, poor interpretative materials, problems with sanitation, waste disposal, etc.). They are likely to be interested in discussing possible improvements that could be made regarding provisions for tourism at visited sites with site biodiversity managers.
Managers, enterprises and companies may also be legally required to undertake monitoring and to report on monitoring results and progress with implementation, to government agencies, other stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities, and the public, in accordance with conditions that may be attached to approvals for specific developments and activities.
The tourism sector has contributed to the development of monitoring indicators on sustainable tourism, including indicators relating to biodiversity which have been developed in the Tourism Sector Supplement to the Global reporting initiative (GRI) 2002 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
Indigenous and local communities
Indigenous and local communities in areas of tourism development and activities have a role in monitoring and auditing the impact of tourism on their communities, livelihoods and the environment in which they live, and through their role as custodians of sacred, cultural and natural sites. These groups may be amongst the first to detect or experience adverse effects, and therefore can indicate any genuine problems related to tourism development at an early stage. Site / biodiversity managers should maintain a dialogue with indigenous and local communities in and around visited sites, over impacts that they experience, both positive and negative, associated with tourism activities and development.
NGOs are an important source of technical information on biodiversity. They maintain databases and observational data on biodiversity indicators over long periods of time. They frequently monitor the status of biodiversity in hotspots and protected areas. NGOs work independently but also cooperate together on biodiversity monitoring via international organizational meetings, such as those held by IUCN,38 which bring together scientists from biodiversity zones worldwide to compare their results and improve their monitoring protocols.
Because they are not related to political or corporate interests, though they do receive funds from both, they are considered to be excellent bodies to undertake unbiased monitoring programs. Many scientists work with NGOs to study the status of species, habitats, and the natural world, publishing their results in peer reviewed journals. They frequently develop research initiatives with local partners, including local universities, using rigorous scientific protocols where data is collected over the long term, and results are carefully analyzed with high degrees of scientific accuracy.
Consumers/tourists and public in general
The consumers/ tourists are an important source of information particularly concerning customer satisfaction and trends in tourism behaviour and preferences. Information from consumers / tourists can be obtained through visitor surveys, as well as via comment cards, complaints slips and other reports and observations.
Some tourists can also be important providers of technical monitoring information. Many naturebased tourists have a sophisticated biological understanding and are members of specialist groups with interests such as ornithology, plant, mammal, invertebrate, fish and coral reef communities. Some train and become regular participants in surveys such as Breeding Bird Surveys and Reef Check surveys of corals and fish.
Visitor monitoring at Müritz National Park, Germany
The Müritz National Park is located in the north-eastern part of Germany. Visitors can access the national park from many sites. A visitor monitoring scheme was established in 1999 to identify the magnitude of visitation per day and over the season, where visitors go and what they do (i.e. how they move around the park: walking, biking, canoeing, horse-back riding).39 This is being done by counting visitors at 15 determined sites on 15 determined days throughout the year. Besides calculating the approximate total number of visitors per year, the results indicate a spatial distribution of tourists and their main activities. The visitor monitoring is repeated at full scale every three years; usually visitor surveys are being done at the same time. Sample checks are made annually.
Special monitoring of biodiversity indicators (species and habitats) are being enacted on sites identified critical to visitor impact, for example around the crane resting areas and the habitats along the waterways for canoeing. Following the monitoring results, visitation to the crane resting areas has been adapted and the crane monitoring now reflects the effectiveness of the management measures. Similar adaptive changes are currently being discussed in a multi-stakeholder forum concerning canoeing.
Development of indicators for tourism and tourism impacts at Beruwala, Sri Lanka40
Beruwala consists of two villages, Moragalla and Kaluwamodera. The area is approximately 15 square kilometres and located on the west coast of Sri Lanka, 60 kilometres south of Colombo. In 1998, the Beruwala area had a collection of 13 hotels and 12 licensed and unlicensed guesthouses along the beach in the two villages. The total population of both villages is approximately 45,000. At the time of the study, Beruwala had about 1300 rooms available for accommodation and a total of 583,469 guest nights (data from 1999). Of these guest nights, over 90% were by international tourists, primarily interested in sun and sand, although there are many cultural and ecological attractions nearby.
There were two objectives for the UNWTO case study of Beruwala: first was to determine the key risks to the sustainability of the tourism industry of Beruwala; and second to use this study as a demonstration of the identification, evaluation and use of indicators of sustainable tourism in general. Indicator preparation was undertaken by consultants, with assistance of members of the Ceylon Tourism Board, who undertook the field work and site interviews, while the actual selection of the indicators was carried out by local participants during a three-day workshop. The workshop participants were briefed about the process and the criteria, presented with key destination facts and given a site visit to the key areas of concern. Then, in three working groups, the participants focused on the development of candidate indicators.
The final list of selected indicators was divided into six different categories; environment, society, economy, product quality, management and community planning. The UNWTO also suggested measuring certain indicators separately for specific ‘hot spots’ within Beruwala which included the beachfront area and the lower reaches of the Bentota River where tourists from the adjacent resort use the river. It was suggested that for these areas indicators such as intensity of use should be measured to supplement the destination-wide indicators.
Beruwala indicators list
• Water quality (seawater)
Water quality (E.coli, biochemical oxygen demand, heavy metals)
Number of truck loads of garbage removed from beach/day
Sea water quality
Water contamination in river and off the beach
Volume treated Volume discharged by hotels (treated or untreated)
River and beach erosion
Loss of soil/sand
Changes in vegetation coverage and beach configurations
(using aerial photographs)
Lack of Drainage
Number of flooding events/waterlogged areas
Tourist environmental awareness and expectations
Measures of tourists’ environmental awareness and expectations (see also social issues)
Drinking water contamination
Freshwater quality (including bacterial counts, hardness, heavy metals)
Local involvement in tourism industry
Percentage of all direct tourism jobs held by local residents
Statistics from census/government surveys
Tourist numbers (baseline data)
Tourism industry statistics: totals, occupancy levels (by month)
Lack of dependable hotel supply and materials from local suppliers
Number of contracts with local suppliers
Wages in tourism relative to other sectors
Product Quality Issues
Percentage of tourists comfortable leaving hotel at night
No. of daytime complaints to police/CTB regarding safety
Exit survey of tourists perception of safety (theft, harassment, vehicle safety, danger etc)
No. of complaints regarding harassment
Exposure to Sri Lankan culture
Scarcity of “real” high quality products
Complex indicator of cultural integrity of tourism offerings (classification system)
Percentage of tourists who are satisfied with their level of contact with Sri Lankan culture during their visit (Q)
Access to destination
Time to get to destination
Access to health facilities
No. of complaints from operators (and tourists) about health care facilities
Perceived quality of tourism product
Attitude survey on perception of value for money
Quality of the beach experience
Garbage counts/quantity of garbage and other waste on beach (see also environmental issues)
Tourists perception of cleanliness of beach (exit Questionnaire)
Tourism Management Issues
Unlicensed and uncontrolled tourist services
Enforcement of licensing
Density of motorboats on Bentota river
Number of boats (each type) on river at peak time (see also environmental issues)
Density of boat traffic in mangroves
Number of boats (per hour) in mangrove on peak days
Stray animals (also a quality of tourism issue)
Number of animals loose on beach/hotel grounds
Community Planning Issues
State of planning for Beruwala
Presence/absence of integrated plan (including key elements)
Public access to beaches
Access roads per km of beach
Local perception of level of access to beach for community
Level of pollution on riverbanks
Local awareness (and tourist awareness) of environmental issues (questionnaire)
Level of communication/ coordination between authorities
Number of joint projects
At the time of the indicator project there was no significant planning in Beruwala and no authority to oversee data collection. Additional challenges resulting from the departure of the consultants before the data was collected by the local authorities. The strengths and weaknesses of the indicators and their methodologies are seldom seen until they are properly piloted, and in this case implementation revealed difficulties in data collection, ambiguity in indicator wording (is a greater number of garbage trucks removing rubbish from the beach an indication of a move toward or away from sustainability?) and differences in definitions, which might well have been resolved had the process not been so rushed.
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Adaptive Management is a process designed to deal with the uncertainties, natural variations and changing circumstances inherent in all managed uses of components of biodiversity. It is an essential part of any management for sustainable use. The basic concept of Adaptive Management is to use regular feedback from monitoring programmes in order to make adjustments and modifications to management actions, including the implementation of projects and associated impact management plans. This involves a continuous, iterative cycle of monitoring and adjustment of management actions in order to remain on course to achieve agreed upon goals.
Effective Adaptive Management requires agreed and well-defined objectives and Baseline Information, which need to cover key ecological, socio-economic and cultural factors for the area where tourism is taking place. The results of monitoring are then assessed in relation to these goals in order to determine if management actions need to be adjusted and what particular adjustments are required.
Tourism is also associated with many uncertainties due to the many factors that affect demand for particular destinations or types of tourism, such as competition between companies within the industry, and between destinations, economic fluctuations, including in currency exchange rates and income levels in the main social groups that engage in tourism, and changing weather patterns. Adaptive Management is therefore also important in managing tourism sustainably.
Adaptive Management can be applied at each step of the Guidelines, and in relation to policies and strategies, as well as to specific projects and activities.
At site level, dialogue between relevant stakeholders, particularly between site/biodiversity managers and tourism developers / operators, is necessary to make Adaptive Management work. This will generally be led by site / biodiversity managers, since they usually receive and analyse monitoring information and control the development and protection of visited sites and ecosystems.
Where disputes may arise in Adaptive Management, mechanisms will need to be agreed upon and established for dispute resolution. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that all those who may be affected by Adaptive Management decisions are able to contribute to the decision-making process and are provided with the relevant information and monitoring data, and that details of decisions are properly and effectively communicated to those responsible for carrying them out.
Adaptive Management, in the context of policies and strategies, involves monitoring compliance as well as impacts, in order to verify that the management regime is working and to make appropriate changes. This also needs to be based on dialogue, in this case between the relevant government agencies at national and local levels, with input from representatives from the tourism sector, indigenous and local communities, CSOs, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders.
The importance of Adaptive Management is that it establishes a process for “learning by doing” and enables management actions to be taken quickly to address problems early on, when they can be more easily controlled. This is particularly important when time and resources are too short to defer some appropriate action being taken, particularly actions to address urgent problems, such as human poverty and declines in system diversity. It is also a mechanism for putting a precautionary approach into practice, so that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty is not used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.41
Adaptive Management of tourism and biodiversity will require the active cooperation of all stakeholders in tourism, and especially those in the private sector, those directly responsible for biodiversity management. Impacts on biodiversity at a particular location may require rapid curtailment of visits by tourists to prevent further damage, and may necessitate an overall reduction in tourist flows to allow for recovery in the longer-term. It may be possible for tourists to be redirected to less sensitive areas in such cases. In all cases, maintenance of the balance between tourism and biodiversity will require close interaction between tourism managers and biodiversity managers.
Notification Process and Information Requirements
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The Notification Process and associated information requirements provide the link between project proponents and the steps outlined above for integrated management of biodiversity and tourism, which incorporate public consultation and participation of all stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities; impact assessment, management and mitigation; and decision-making on whether or not to approve the proposed tourism activities and development. The notification process generally applies to proposals for specific projects and developments, but can also be used during the preparation and consultation of strategic development plans, community development plans, or policies.
Most planning legislation requires project proponents to notify a designated government authority before the project or development is implemented and for public consultations to take place before any formal decisions are made on whether or not to approve the proposals. Such legislation will generally specify the information that is to be provided by proponents when they make notification of their proposals, and that proposers are legally responsible for the accuracy of the information they provide. In these cases, existing legislation already provides a basic system that can be applied to notification of proposals for tourism activities and developments, although it may be necessary to extend the legislation to cover the specific information requirements set out in the Guidelines.
Each notification of a proposal for a specific project or development should provide the information listed in the Notification checklist, including the identity of the proponent, a brief summary of the proposal, the sites and communities likely to be affected, anticipated impacts (if any) on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, as well as possible cultural and social impacts, arrangements for public consultation, contact details, key dates in the life of the project, including those regarding impact assessment procedures, and relevant obligations under national and subnational laws as well subregional, regional and international agreements.
As part of the process of notification and public consultation of proposals for tourism development or activities, the proponent or the responsible government authority should use all normal public means of notification (print, electronic and personal media, including newspapers, radio, television, mailings, village/town meetings, etc.). These means should take into account the situation of remote or isolated and largely non-literate communities, and ensure that such notification and consultation take place in the language(s) of the communities and region that will be affected.42
The development proposal and impact assessment should be made available to organizations representing affected indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders for the purposes of public scrutiny and consultation. It should include all details relevant to the proposal. Notification and public consultation of the proposed development should allow for sufficient time to allow the affected indigenous or local community to prepare its response. An opportunity to present such a response should be allowed for full and fair consideration by the proponent.43
In some circumstances, and subject to national legislation, opportunities may be available for proponents to engage in informal and preliminary consultations with relevant authorities and stakeholders prior to planning significant expenditure or investigative activities by the proponent and formal notification of a proposal. Informal and preliminary consultation is an opportunity to exchange views at a stage when there is flexibility in the formulation of the proposal, to discuss general ideas and intentions and to gain a better understanding of the processes for notification, public consultation, and decision-making that will apply to proposals. This approach has advantages for all stakeholders in that it reduces the likelihood of formal notification of inappropriate or unsuitable proposals, saving time and resources for proposers, authorities and stakeholders. In addition, preliminary consultations can be of particular assistance in cases where a proposal will require consideration under the legislation of several or many decisionmaking agencies and/or where there is no strategic plan or framework that provides for the coordination of decision-making processes and information requirements.
It is important to note that whether or not informal and preliminary consultations take place, proposals will still need to go through a formal process and be subject to public consultation and the participation of all stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities; impact assessment, management and mitigation; and decision-making on whether or not to approve the proposed tourism activities and development.
Education, capacity-building and awarenes-raising
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A range of expertise is required for the implementation of integrated management of biodiversity and tourism, including to establish appropriate policy and strategy, regulatory and operational frameworks, processes and mechanisms, such as those for participation and consultation, integrated planning, impact assessment, notification and decision-making, monitoring and Adaptive Management, and for training local managers and others in implementation and in providing additional guidance, tools and providing other support that they may require to do so effectively.
At an early stage, it is important to review existing capacities that are currently available among relevant stakeholders and organisations, as well as the need for further training and capacitybuilding.
For example, it may be necessary to provide training workshops on cultural, social and biodiversity- related aspects of environmental impact/strategic assessment and on economic valuation of cultural, social and biodiversity resources for both assessment practitioners and representatives of indigenous and local communities to facilitate the emergence of a cross-cultural understanding of the issues.44 Various organisations and stakeholder groups will need a variety of expertise and capacities in order to contribute effectively—including funding in some cases—and all will need expertise in participative approaches. Additionally, expertise in intersectoral collaboration and coordination, and in co-management will be necessary for some stakeholders and organisations, and where this is lacking, will need to be generated through appropriate capacity-building programmes.
The issues involved in the integrated management of biodiversity and tourism, and the processes and mechanisms being implemented, need to be communicated to the general public, to stakeholders in tourism and biodiversity management, and to tourists. This will require education and awareness-raising activities that are designed to reach and be relevant to the needs of different target groups within society, including indigenous and local communities.
Education, capacity-building and awareness-raising—Case Study
Addressing impacts of deforestation associated with fuelwood use in the tourism sector in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve
In the Maasai Mara Reserve—one of Kenya’s main tourist destinations—tree loss is critical, and local Maasai women may have to travel every two days to collect the 30-40 kilos of fuelwood used by a family of five every day. About a quarter of tourist camps and lodges in the Mara use fuelwood for cooking and to heat water. Lodges are estimated to use up to 540 tonnes of wood each year, and since they collect fuelwood from as far away as 30 km, their effects cover large areas. An NGO, Friends of Conservation (FOC), is helping to address this problem by setting up forestry training units from which around 15 Maasai people (male and female) “graduate” each year. They are trained in raising seedlings and producing firewood, and are provided with help in marketing the wood to tourist establishments. All who have passed through the FOC training have found local jobs in forestry and some have set up their own businesses to sell wood to camps and lodges.45
FOC’s own staff aim to produce around 70,000 seedlings a year for reforestation projects and to set up new enterprises, and the organisation has created a seed bank of indigenous species and buys seeds collected by local people. FOC also organises the sale and free distribution of seeds to schools for seedling production, while raising particularly difficult seedlings themselves at their nurseries at each of its three centres, providing seedlings for free distribution to community projects or public institutions. The seedlings are also available for sale to private enterprises, such as lodges or tented camps. FOC has supported private individuals to develop woodlots to grow sustainable supplies of wood for use in construction of houses, lodges and fences, and to provide fuelwood for cooking, heating and light and other commercial purposes.
Recently FOC has started to work on reducing demand for fuelwood—for example FOC’s Women’s Officer is currently training women and young girls to produce fuel-efficient mud-stoves. FOC has also developed waste briquettes which can be used as fuel in mobile camps and small lodges/tented camps, where they are currently being tested. During 2001–2, FOC encouraged various tourism outlets to switch their fuel source from wood and charcoal to other forms, such as gas, paraffin, chardust briquettes, or solar energy. As a result, a number of tourist facilities have moved away from using wood and charcoal as fuels.
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