“SUN” Focus on eXistential Climate Change – 2017 Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

By Geoffrey Lipman and Felix Dodds
For 2017, the focus of the world’s largest socio-industrial activity, Travel & Tourism, will be on how to link its growth strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - an evolving, 15 year, locally led framework of 17 global SDGs, with 169 targets and 304 indicators, that addresses every aspect of life on our planet.

However, one SDG stands out from the rest – namely Goal 13 Climate Change - for the simple reason that it is existential. Existential means life on the planet is fundamentally threatened.  Without a fix, future generations will freeze or fry. And intensifying climate impacts will severely aggravate many other SDG challenges.  A key issue will be how to keep existential Climate Resilience front and centre in our sector, when Tourism sustainability is everyone’s flavour of the month, humanity’s agenda is shifting to all the SDGs as well as integration of the Paris Accords with their own intense 2050 carbon reduction structures.

We believe SUN (a legacy program for Maurice Strong - one of the great architects of Sustainable Development) will help, by its total focus on the intersection of eXistential Climate Change with the response, innovation, and resilience of the Travel &Tourism Sector.  The ‘proof-of-concept’ SUN CENTRE will be launched in 2017 in the National Park, Hoge Kempen, in Limburg, Belgium - supported by local community stakeholders. It is planned to be the important European hub of a global network of pre-fabricated, solar-panelled, cloud-connected, multi-tasking, monitoring, innovating and educating centres – focussed on community climate resilience and travel.  Our goal is to provide a new climate focused, green growth, community transformation support system. Our close collaborators are multidisciplinary, with life-times of commitment to Sustainability, Mobility, Tourism, Infrastructure, Cities, Parks, and Conservation, from inside and outside the sector: More information here. 

To underscore this eXistential reality of climate change, we have incorporated it in all aspects of the SUN Program. In the firm belief that If we don’t act now and keep acting, one day soon it will be too late. We will also publish a new monthly SUN “eXistential blog” to raise awareness and track progress - it will include views from inside and outside the sector and focus on innovation and community delivery. Finally, we will host a Strong RefleXion event in the fall of 2017, to inaugurate the Limburg SUN CENTRE and review the intersection of eXistential climate change with Travel &Tourism resilience.  It will build on the experience of similar events - including the IUCN-led Strong Event prior to the Copenhagen COP15,
Prof. Geoffrey Lipman & Felix Dodds – Co-founders SUN (Strong Universal Network)
Geoffrey Lipman leads the SUN Program and was responsible for the original vision and making it a reality. Geoffrey is President of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) and Director of greenearth.travel and the Green Growth Travelism Institute (GGTI)      


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