生物多樣性公約（Convention on Biological Diversity，CBD）在1992年里約地球高峰會上簽署，1993年12月生效。這項國際公約治理動植物的保育、生物多樣性元素的永續利用和遺傳資源使用的獲利共享。目前生物多樣性公約有196個成員，幾乎是全球參與。
倫敦國際環境發展研究院（International Institute for Environment and Development, IIED）研究員羅伊（Dilys Roe）指出，1993年造訪烏干達西南部布溫蒂國家公園（Bwindi Impenetrable National Park）看大猩猩的人數是1,300，現在增加到20,000人。
“While wildlife keeps all of us alive, its future is squarely in our hands,” says John Scanlon, who heads the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES. “We alone will determine the fate of the world’s wildlife and in doing so our own destiny.”
Scanlon made these observations at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s 17th Global Summit in Bangkok, Thailand in late April.
In Monday’s global celebrations, held under the theme of Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism, people enjoyed the benefits of ecotourism, but also examined the potentially negative impacts that tourism can have on biodiversity.
Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, entered into force in December 1993. This international treaty governs the conservation of plants and animals, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. Based in Montreal, with 196 Parties to date, the Convention has near universal participation among countries.
Biodiversity and tourism are intimately linked. The travel and tourism sector is one of the largest and fastest growing global industries, accounting for 10 percent of global GDP and one in every 10 jobs.
And it’s growing quickly. The tourism sector grew by 3.9 percent in 2016, says the UN World Tourism Organization, with inevitable impacts on the animals and plants that visitors travel to experience.
About 40 million people are drawn every year to the Caribbean’s beautiful beaches and marine life, providing $25 billion of revenue annually, nearly half the region’s total income.
“Tourism is like fire: you can cook your food with it, but if you are not careful, it could also burn your house down!” writes Jochen Flasbarth, director-general, nature conservation in Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
In his Forward to the publication “Managing Tourism and Biodiversity: User’s Manual on the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development,” Flasbarth details the risks.
“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.”
The key is responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and improve the wellbeing of local people who often act as stewards for the biodiverse areas.
“Many conventional businesses, such as hotels and tourism operators, have taken steps to ensure that they adhere to sustainable tourism principles and best practices in their day to day operations,” said Dr. Pașca Palmer.
She says many travellers are now making choices based on whether or not good conservation practices are followed by operators at their destinations.
Nepal’s Chitwan National Park is a great example of wildlife-based tourism generating local jobs, with government and operators engaging with and supporting local communities.
In Chitwan National Park on Monday, in the presence of the Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, ministers, representatives of local communities, international organizations, and media, Nepal destroyed confiscated stockpiles of wildlife parts. Parts of tigers, rhinos, leopards, pangolins, various reptiles and many other species were destroyed.
“Today’s event will not end wildlife crime,” said Scanlon, “but it does help to raise public awareness of the serious threats posed to wild animals and plants, people and economies by such crimes and it provides an ideal opportunity to make a very public expression of Nepal’s steadfast determination not to tolerate any poaching or illegal trade of its wildlife.”
At Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, in Southwest Uganda, tourists arriving to see gorillas have increased from 1,300 a year in 1993 to around 20,000 today, according to Dilys Roe,a principal researcher in the Natural Resources research group of the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development, IIED.
International tourists pay US$600 each to track gorillas and the Uganda Wildlife Authority shares US$10 per permit sold with local people recognizing that their support is important for conservation. But local benefits from gorilla tourism are very limited.
“Relationships between local people and the park are poor, and poaching, snaring and other illegal activities continue,” wrote Roe on the IIED blog on Monday. “This poses a significant threat to the park and to the long-term conservation of the mountain gorillas. It also represents a missed opportunity for harnessing tourism as an engine for local economic development in this remote rural area of Uganda.”
To address these problems, IIED is working with the Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation, the Responsible Tourism Partnership and the International Gorilla Conservation Programme to develop new or improved local tourism products and services that meet the needs and interests of tourists, tour operators and lodges.