Category Archives: Sustainable Development

What does it take to become a sustainable tourism destination?

GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program for Destinations – your journey towards sustainability

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The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP) offers customized solutions to your destination’s sustainable tourism development and management needs. Whether you’re working to build a foundation or seeking to take your sustainability impact to the next level, our team of international experts will provide the guidance, support and resources needed to achieve your destination’s training and capacity building goals.

About GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is the global expert in standards for sustainable tourism. Founded in 2008 through collaborative efforts by sustainability leaders from UNEP, UNWTO, the UN Foundation and the Rainforest Alliance, the GSTC is an independent not-for-profit organization (registered in the USA as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) pursuing the goals of:

· Promoting sustainable tourism knowledge and practices;

· Facilitating the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles; and

· Building demand for sustainable travel

At the core of this work is the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, a framework to ensure the sustainability of tourism businesses and destinations across the globe.

GSTC Criteria for Destinations 

Danjugan Island

Danjugan Island

To effectively implement sustainable destination practices and to guarantee long-term sustainability, a suitable balance must be established between the four pillars of sustainable tourism: Sustainable Management, Economic Benefits, Community Benefits and Environmental Benefits.

The GSTC Criteria for Destinations (GSTC-D) outline interdisciplinary, holistic and integrative approaches to these four key areas of sustainability objectives, and serve as a common language to promote sustainable tourism at the destination level. Designed as the global baseline standard for destinations, GSTC-D has been vetted and adopted by a number of destinations around the world.

Global Authority on Sustainable Tourism

The GSTC is a UN-endorsed independent organization playing a critical role as the global eader in providing guidance for the development and management of sustainability in tourism. Based on our extensive knowledge base, the GSTC STTP offers both global and regional perspectives relevant to the specific context of your destination’s sustainable tourism journey.

From Words to Actions, to Long-term Impacts 

TCI CB Series II- Green Leaders Forum, July 2013

The Coron Initiative – GSTC Standards Training for Destinations, soon in Coron!

The objective of the GSTC STTP is not to offer a one-time exercise of reviewing what should be done; rather, we will work with you towards tangible and meaningful goals, focusing on the long-term success of your destination’s sustainable tourism development and on-going management practices.

GSTC Expert Trainer 

Susan Santos de Cárdenas, Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific

Susan Santos de Cárdenas, President and CEO, Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. – SSTDI, GSTC Country Representative

Susan Santos Cárdenas specializes on sustainable tourism development and stewardship initiatives with Community Social Responsibility (CSR) at grassroots application. A savvy tourism professional and hotelier with more than 20 years’ experience managing sales, marketing, operations, events – M.I.C.E. and human resources development for start-ups and luxury hotel resorts, tour operators, travel agencies, lifestyle events and publications, in the Philippines, Singapore, Peru and Japan.

She had been a keynote speaker & resource person in capacity building and training workshops for sustainable tourism development to include Ecotourism, Community-based and Agri-tourism promotion. She was a consultant and adviser for Local Government Units (LGUs) in the Philippines. She is a founding board member of the Asian Ecotourism Network, Country Representative & Trainer of Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Learn more about the STTP on how we can help your destination or contact us for more details.

Lima, Peru to host UN Climate Change Summit COP 20

COP20: “Don’t come to Peru if you don’t want to change the world”

Lima's balconies

One of the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Central Lima are its balconies. They were so popular during the Viceroyalty that Lima was also Known as the City of Balconies. Photo via Visit Peru.

UN Framework for Climate Change  (UNFCC) Cop 20 Lima, the cornerstone  for commitment to the future of our climate.

Photo via COP 20.org

United Nations Framework for Climate Change, COP 20 Lima, Per

In 2015, the most important climate change decisions will be made with the design and launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year, on  December 1-12, Peru will host the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC – COP 20), during which a draft text will be produced for a decision at the Paris convention the following year. This will shape our approach to climate change over the next decade and very much determine the scale of its impact on our future.

“Pon de tu Parte” (Do your part) NGO campaign for Climate Change towards COP 20 in Lima. Photo via COP20.pe

Last June, a zero draft on the SDGs was created, with 17 potential goals. Although this number will most likely be reduced to 10 or less in Peru, the focus was predominantly applauded for its approach. Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN initiative the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the UN secretary-general’s special advisor on the SDGs expressed his expressed his delight with the first goal being focused on the ending of extreme poverty.

He further went on to praise the scientific base of the draft and insisted that scientists in a variety of fields, from climate to ecology, need to be outspoken in the production of the goals. The two degrees Celsius limitation in global warming is one such area where science has led to comprehensive adoption by the UN Framework.

The first ever United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), held in Nairobi, Kenya, last month, had a keen focus on the upcoming COP 20 in Lima and on the wider SDGs. Earlier in the month, at the G77+China summit in Bolivia, the Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso met with the United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss his country’s hosting of the COP 20 and to reiterate Peru’s commitment to climate change.

Photo via cop20.pe

Launch of the “Pon de tu parte” (Do your Part) campaign for climate change in Lima that seeks to ensure that citizens, businesses and organizations are informe, are infomred and commited to specific actions to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.

The COP 20 will focus on four key areas – Adaptation, Climate Finance, Mitigation and Technology – with Peru a suitable choice as host. The 29th State of the World report from the Worldwatch  Institute in 2013 hailed Peru as the only nation hitting the ‘sustainability sweet spot’. This was due to the balance, based on 2007 date, they had achieved in human development and resource consumption. This was also assisted further by the commitment of the country’s Environment Officer to eliminate deforestation, whilst the President vowed to fight any trace of environmental pollution.

Peru faces a tough task in delivering a draft at COP 20, in time for the 2015 Paris summit. Clever diplomacy is earmarked as being key; and with the 195 member countries showing disparity in their current positions, the process will certainly not be free from hurdles. Despite this, there has been some tentativeness in the mission of the summit, with Peru’s President keen to point out that the event marks the start of a new chapter more so than the closing of a book. Aiming too high has cost the COP dearly in the past and thus Peru has been focused on maintaining a balance between making a big impact and realism.

Photo via COP20.pe

Peruvian Deforestation- A Paradise Lost

The hosting of such a key summit comes at a time where Peru is staring down the barrel of climate change domestically, with the country susceptible to devastating impacts if both domestic and global action isn’t taken. As the host, positive dialogue and adequate pressure must be put on the biggest emitters, while at the same time ensuring the inclusivity of the lesser developed countries.  Peru’s COP 20 slogan is “Don’t come to Peru if you don’t want to change the world”, and with such a bold start, it is crucial that they deliver.

Photo via cop20.pe

Ministry of Environment of Peru with UNFCC and multi sector leaders for COP 20 Lima.

Slated at the Westin Hotel and Convention Centre in Peru’s capital, Lima, Climate Action Programme and UNEP will host the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2014 (SIF 14) to run alongside the COP 20. The largest commercially inclusive side event will bring together “world leaders, CEOs, senior executives, national, regional and city leaders, investors and industry experts”, seeking to “address climate change, accelerate green growth and sustainable development”.

SIF 14 will be a key event in the progression of the issues being discussed at the COP 20 and presents a great networking, ideas sharing and debating platform.  Key topics that will be addressed centre around innovative finance, adoption, mitigation, resilient cities and energy efficiency.  Event Director Claire Poole commented, “Lima represents a crucial milestone in the climate change dialogue, it’s vital that all stakeholders, not just the usual suspects on this world stage, are part of the conversation.”

More details on this year’s event can be located at http://cop20lima.org, with the event promising to be as innovative and impactful as last year. Source: cop20lima.org.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Bird Watching, prime ecotourism activity in Coron

Bird Watching Training for Community Guides, a post TCI- CB Series activity co-organized by Society of Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI.

At the final and culminating Coron Initiative Capacity Building Series (TCI- CB Series IV) last March 2014, a presentation on Coron Bird Watching for Conservation and Ecotourism was conducted by Mr. Chin Fernandez, president of the The Wild Bird Society of Coron (or Birdwatch Coron). Mr. Fernandez is also the president of Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments (CATE) and COO of Darayonan Lodge. Highlights of the presentation are as follows:

  • Birding must be promoted as an ecotourism activity in Coron. There is a growing trend among bird tour operators to practice sustainable and socially responsible ecotourism, while relying on local goods and services or supporting local conservation projects. Due to their accessibility and ubiquity, birds are a useful tool for environmental education and awareness on environmental issues. Birds easily transmit values on respect to nature and the fragility of ecosystems.
  • Bird watching is a hobby for enthusiasts, but it can be packaged targeting nature travelers in general who are into it as an alternative activity, since not all tourists may be fond of snorkeling/diving; or they may be both.
  • Bird watching can be an added value to spend one more day in Coron or some tourists may have an extra day, either for rest or for on any other possible activity for them. Bird watching may be introduced as it is a little challenging to see and detect birds in their natural habitat. However, once seen, tourists may be enthralled to witness the other wonders of nature.
Birding Coron2

Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater, Tulbuan Coron, Palawan. Photo by AL3Photography/CoronGaleri.

  • A local group in Coron, called the The Wild Bird Society of Coron (or Birdwatch Coron for short),seeks to identify current and potential hobbyists in promoting the activity.
  • Adequate information campaign must however be conducted in collaboration with other bird watching and conservation groups as to the proper way of conducting the activity.
  • There is a move to declare by legislation, the Blue-headed Racquet-tail (an endemic parrot species), also locally known as “Kilit” to be a flagship species for Coron.
Birding Coron

Lesser Coucal at Sitio Banga, Coron Palawan. Photo by Al3Photography.

After Mr. Fernandez’s presentation, Mr. Alex Marcaida, from Palawan Sustainable Development Council (PSDC) the Workshop Facilitator had additional comments that bird watching is indeed an alternative activity to decrease pressure of tourist influx in water activities, or on a bigger scale, a tour package can be developed using the ridges to reef approach, wherein appreciation of nature may be on land and on water. He also lauded the movement of the Coron Birdwatching Society for the adoption and declaration of “Kilit” by the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) of Coron as its flagship species along with the underlying protection of the species and its habitat. Such movement may be adopted by other Palawan municipalities and incorporated into the Palawan Provincial Tourism Development Plan targeted for enactment on 2016. It is also beneficial that bird enthusiasts upload their photographs of birds online as a feedback system for identification and added information on its behavior, habitat, ecological/economic value and conservation measures.

Photo Expedition

Coron Photo Expedition, Birding & Nature Adventure by Coron Galeri. Photo by Al3Photography.

For more information and travel assistance about our Birdwatching in Coron, visit our Green Travel Exchange and for your Green Hotels stay , send us a message.  Join our Society of Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. SSTDI- advocating green, eco-friendly and responsible travel. Promote your eco destination,  hotel, resort, lodging, restaurant, festival, event venue or hospitality services, spa or sports, transport, real estate development or any tourism-related enterprise espousing green or sustainable practices.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Best Practices on Sustainable Reconstruction

Foreword. With the Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that devastated the Visayas coastal regions in 2013, cities and  towns’ local government units including the national government itself were caught unprepared for the “storm surge and powerful winds which unroofed buildings and demolished houses; humans and animals drowned or flew to their deaths. The Philippine government has appointed a “Rehabilitation Czar”, former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who himself admits, it will be a tough job, but doable. We especially share and dedicate this blog to all who are working on the reconstruction, restoration and rehabilitation of the communities, towns and cities destroyed by probably the planet’s worst weather catastrophe. The message is “building back safer” – with sustainable building principles during reconstruction not only to improve resilience to natural hazards in the future, but also to ensure that the opportunity is seized to shift towards buildings and structures that are as energy efficient, low greenhouse gas emitting and climate-mitigating as possible. 

It is important to integrate the principles of sustainability strategically from the earliest stages of rebuilding in order to avoid major failures during reconstruction. The key best practices based on experience from recent disasters and catastrophes in Asia should be kept in mind at all stages of reconstruction, summarized below:

1. Learn from experiences, which dealt with effective and efficient reconstruction, and from traditional building technologies which survived disasters. Many mistakes can be avoided by observing and finding out what concepts and, in particular, what construction practices, functioned well before a natural disaster occurred. Traditional knowledge and building practices have often evolved over long periods of trial and error, and are often both practical and resource efficient.

Coron_Green Reconstruction

Green Reconstructio & Energy for Coron & the Visayas Haiyan/Yolanda devastated areas.

2. Establish and maintain a well-functioning project-management process

A well-functioning management process is the backbone for the success of any reconstruction project. Contracts,  roles and responsibilities should be clarified as early as possible.

Flood Proof Residence_ Palafox Associates

Flood Proof Residence, by Palafox Associates

3. Ensure local participation in decision-making processes

The active participation of local stakeholders in crucial decisions throughout the project process fosters a strong sense of ownership and acceptance for the project, and helps to facilitate care and maintenance of buildings following construction. This is especially true if the users are also the owners of the houses; rented-out dwellings tend to deteriorate more quickly than do owner-occupied homes.

La Jala

Climate vulnerable La Jala Community in Coron, Palawan, where informal settlers enroached mangrove areas that are buffer zones for typhoons and storm surges. Who are to blame if they are the first to suffer climate change effects?

Relevant stakeholders – future house users, community leaders, responsible public authorities, service providers, etc. – can deliver important information and provide support that may be crucial to the project’ success and sustainability.

Ideally, relevant stakeholders should be consulted during the early project-definition phase, as well as during planning and implementation phases. This can be done through a stakeholders‟ workshop”, during which invited stakeholders set project criteria and develop ideas.

At this stage, the responsible local governmental reconstruction agency can also be consulted in order to ensure their support.

4. Anchor the project in the local context

Projects should be anchored in the local context by taking any or all of the following measures:

– Exploring the availability of local know-how

– Considering traditional/cultural requirements

– Working together with and not against the local authorities

– Cooperating with local service providers

– Using high-quality local materials when possible

– Building on and optimizing local construction technologies.

La Jala native community

A typical native hut of the Tagbanua tribe of Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Eco friendly? Yes. Climate resilient? Not really. Thankfully, they are built away from the shores.

Anchoring reconstruction projects in the local context can contribute measurably to community buy-in and a project’s success and sustainability. Local institutions and organizations included in the project process are strengthened and improved.

Community Consultation Coron

Community consultation and education by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.

5. Coordinate with other donors to identify potential synergies

Responsible local authorities should coordinate all ongoing and planned reconstruction activities, at least at community level. In addition, however, project officials should contact other development organizations (international and national) to determine jointly the geographical and social distribution of reconstruction schemes based on local needs. Identifying and monitoring the reconstruction activities of other donor organizations and ensuring your project is complementing, not duplicating, other efforts can save financial and other resources. Normally, there are reasonable opportunities to economize on costs of access roads, water and sanitation systems and other infrastructure. Donor coordination can also help to ensure the equitable distribution of reconstruction benefits to communities, especially to areas that are less politically popular.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Korean donated tents in Estancia, super typhoone devastated town in Northern Iloilo.

6. Determine communication and knowledge-sharing strategy

Maintaining effective communication among all the stakeholders is crucial. Numerous sources have reported incidences of hostility towards development agencies by beneficiaries. There has been a lack of clear and regular communication between implementers and future users about options, plans, actions, responsibilities and difficulties encountered in the course of reconstruction projects. It cannot be overemphasized that all agencies owe beneficiaries the opportunity to know what is being discussed, planned, negotiated, rejected or accepted on their behalves. The internationally accepted guidelines of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) provide successful lines of communication. (See ALNAP, 2005, An ALNAP Guide for Humanitarian Agencies, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, UK.)

It is also important to ensure regular reporting and documentation of positive and negative experiences. This is important not only for any necessary handing-over to future project managers, but also for the sharing of lessons learnt at international and local level.

Photo via PJ Aranador Blog.

Coordination & information dissemination post disaster in Estancia, Iloilo.

7. Develop a risk strategy

Developing a strategy for how to overcome any potential risks to the project is essential. Risk strategies safeguard the project’s continuation, completion and, ultimately, its sustainability.

Strategies should be developed with relevant local stakeholders. The strategies should define how potential obstacles – whether political, economic, security-related or from subsequent disasters – should be tackled.

8. Conduct regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E)

Regular self-monitoring and evaluation is critical for measuring the progress of reconstruction projects. M&E can be carried out in a rather simple fashion by selecting key indicators (amounts of money spent on different activities, amounts of materials used and timeliness of completion of activities) and then collecting measurements and summarizing them on a regular basis (weekly or fortnightly).

If any indicator shows a deviation from the budget or from construction plans, then the cause for the deviation should be identified, so that remedial measures can be taken. In addition, an external evaluation can assist by providing a second and independent assignment on crucial issues. M&E can be complemented with “impact monitoring”, which is used to assess the environmental and social impacts of project activities. Impact monitoring provides valuable information about whether the project is in conformance with best sustainability practices (and if not, how it can be improved). Impact monitoring is also very useful for building the project partners‟ credibility with the local community, national authorities and international donors.

Houses Mangroves_LowRes

Devastated houses of informal settlers along the mangrove area, Coron Bay, Palawan. Learn the lesson: no one should be allowed to build any structure within the buffer zone for storms and typhoons.

9. Choose the lifespan of houses to be built

Selecting temporary or permanent shelter options has a huge influence on the house design as well as the project’s implementation procedures, budget and time-frame. It is important to decide early in planning for how long the houses should last.

 

10. Provide adequate temporary shelters

Reconstruction programs that are seeking to produce quality results require time for realization. While housing projects are being developed, displaced residents need adequate temporary shelters that ensure humane living conditions and enable residents to re-establish life as quickly as possible. Program budgets should anticipate this need.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Temporary tent shelters for homeless victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Estancia, Iloilo.

11. Consider reusing and recycling temporary housing components for permanent houses to be built in the future components such as well-maintained sanitary and kitchen facilities can be reused in new reconstructed houses; good-quality materials such as steel beams can be reused also.

12. Consider the overall development concerns and priorities of your organization

Most organizations involved in reconstruction activities have internal guidelines and standards for their activities, including environmental policies. Ensuring that your organization development goals, procedures and priorities are integrated into your project from the start can help to align projects with sustainable reconstruction objectives and avoid unnecessary costs.

13. Follow principles of bio-climatic and adaptable design

Buildings should be designed to be thermally comfortable in their climate zone with no or minimal need for mechanical heating, cooling or ventilation. Buildings should also be designed to enable occupants to modify or “tune” their buildings to suit their particular functional requirements. Adaptable design enables this by, for example, promoting strong structural design with flexible interior space-planning.

Coron_Picking up the piecies

What is your local government doing about climate change? Demand good governance. LGUs must implement their Disaster Risk Reduction Management & Local Climate Change Adaptation Plan. https://sstdi.org/tag/disaster-preparedness/

 

Source: Principles of sustainable reconstruction
An excerpt from UNEP Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative
Author: Claudia Schneider
Sustainable Building and Settlement Development Specialist
Skat – Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.  

PHOTO CREDITS: Coron photos – Al Linsangan III- Calamianes Expeditions; Estancia photos – Pj Aranador Blogspot.

Climate change mitigation in the tourism sector

An excerpt from the UNEP Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector. 

Boracay White Beach is gone! Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Tourism threatening white sand beaches, coral reefs in Asia. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Tourists are traveling more often and to more distant destinations, using more energy-intensive, fossil fuel-based transport and the sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) contribution has increased to 5 percent of global emissions. Other unsustainable practices, such as excessive water use, waste generation, and habitat encroachment are threatening ecosystems, biodiversity, and local culture.

But if done right, tourism can be a positive force for both the local economy and the environment. Sustainable Tourism aims to reduce poverty by creating local jobs and stimulating local business, while establishing ecologically sustainable practices that preserve resources and reduce pollution. Currently, only a minimal of tourism profits touches the people living in and near tourist destinations. Increasing local involvement can not only generate income but also encourage communities to protect their environment.

Boracay Island Garbage. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Boracay Island Garbage. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Investing in energy efficiency and waste management can reduce GHG emissions and pollution and also save hotel owners and service providers money. Under the right circumstances, natural areas, biodiversity, and cultural heritage—three of the main reasons people travel in the first place—can all reap the benefits of sustainable tourism.

Boracay Island Drainage on White Beach. Photo Via The Asahi Shimbun.

Boracay Island Drainage on White Beach. Photo Via The Asahi Shimbun.

The sustainability of coastal tourism destinations depends partly on their ability to adapt planning and management practices to the impacts of climate change and also to increase their ability to reduce disaster risks.

Why The Boracay Initiative? To save  Boracay Island from more Environmental Degradation

Why The Boracay Initiative? To save Boracay Island from more Environmental Degradation

Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases.  Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behavior. Protecting natural carbon sinks like forests and oceans, or creating new sinks through silviculture or green agriculture are also elements of mitigation.

Mitigation by the Tourism sector can be achieved by reducing energy use, through changing travel behavior, by improving energy efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy, carbon offsetting strategies, sustainable destination planning and management, tour operators’ choice of destinations and packaging of travel products, as well as other changes in business practices.

TCI CB Series II- Green Leaders Forum, July 2013

Learn to Lead the Green Way forward: Green Leaders Forum: Green Hotels, Zero Carbon Resorts, Sustainable Design and Purchasing

A number of studies present strategies available for increasing the effectiveness of mitigation activities in relation to tourism and climate change. Best practices from case studies for different stakeholders and local context have been formed as a guide to mitigation tools, covering techniques, policies and measures in various scenarios. Various mitigation strategies in the transportation and accommodation sectors as well as for tour operators, consumers and destinations have long been available and should be implemented.

The Coron Initiative Sustainable Tourism Capacity Building Program

The Coron Initiative UNEP APFED Showcase Program for Sustainable Tourism Development and Stewardship, Environmental Conservation and CSR

The overall objective of climate change mitigation strategies, policies and activities in the tourism sector is to contribute to the achievement of “carbon neutrality” in the sector. For hospitality and tourism establishments, “carbon neutrality” can be defined as a set of policies that it uses when it estimates its known greenhouse gas emissions, takes measures to reduce them, and purchases carbon offsets to “neutralize” those emissions that remain. Carbon neutrality signifies an establishment that has a zero net contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This includes all activities directly controlled by the company, including travel, purchasing of goods and services, and daily behavior of staff. Carbon neutrality can be achieved by improving the way the organization operates (e.g. through “green” procurement), by improving efficiency of operations (e.g. communications and meetings) and equipment (e.g. vehicle transport and building). Carbon neutrality also recognizes offsetting as an option (last resort) to achieve full neutrality.

Eco Friendly Products by EchoStore.

Eco Friendly, Sustainably Sourced, All local products by EchoStore.

The Tourism Sector is composed of a wide range of businesses, from small, local operations that service a single local market to very large transport, hotel and tour operator companies that serve global markets across entire regions and which sell or facilitate millions or tens of millions of tour packages to foreign destinations each year. The industry provides tourists with products and services such as accommodation, transport, food and drink, attractions to visit, and souvenirs to purchase.

Fresh Start Organics Negros Occidental Organic Farm and Products Showcase

Fresh Start Organics, Negros Occidental Organic Farm and Products Showcase

It is clear that the industry shapes demand through its marketing strategies, but consumers (tourists) ultimately make the final choices. Recognizing that tourists have an important role in creating business interest in sustainable tourism products, the sector must consider mitigation options and should be increasingly proactive in addressing climate change.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotelsdestinations – LGUs, host communities,  private stakeholders and the grassroots and tour operators with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs include Environmental ConservationGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change. WASTE TO ENERGY solutions are now offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.

Green reconstruction for Sustainability and Resilience

Green Power_Coron

Coron, Palawan, the Philippines’ top emerging tourism island destination and hometown of The Coron Initiative was devastated by the Typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda. In the rush to re-build it is critical to restore biodiversity, enhance  & protect Coron’s coastal marine environment for disaster risk reduction, climate mitigation & adaptation.

Local government units (LGUs) from barangays to municipalities and cities must think & do eco towns & smart villages that integrate the Four C’s: Climate, Connectivity, Community and Character. 

The focus is on Climate-proofing communities, ensuring that they can cope and adapt to the impacts of climate change as well as ensuring eco-friendly, low-carbon designs and utilities.

Connectivity is about low carbon public transport to enable access to livelihoods.

Community focuses on a balanced social mix – ensure a place for the most vulnerable of our grassroots and

Character is about new high design standards and maintaining  the natural sense of place.

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CORON TO HAVE GREEN POWER
You can support grassroots families to meet climate challenge. Read this article about Re-energizing the Future by Ben Kritz in The Manila Times

The community-based Coron Sustainable Tourism Cooperative with support from The Coron Initiative & our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.  campaigned for Relief Program with the Gracetoration Christian Fellowship for the victims of this disaster, mostly the grassroots members in coastal villages, as grassroots partners on the ground also struggle to recover, try to operate back to almost normal and move forward, for a sustainable re-build and resilience.

The first priority was to seek support for Solar Power or Renewable Energy as  there is no electricity-power in Coron now and in the next months! Even before the super typhoon, Coron has an unstable power supply and Solar Power or other efficient energy source will allow the locals to recuperate the daily livelihoods of the community based tourism operations to a semblance of normal. As Coron’s Green Leader & Sustainable Tourism operator, the Coron Sustainable Tourism Cooperative together with The Coron Initiative & the Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI can only practice what we preach: green energy! The town and nearby villages need a minimum of clean energy supply for basic needs: communication, food supply and storage, charge LED lamps and mobile phones; provide electricity at night, pump water supply, and help us in repairs of destroyed homes and boats.

The second priority was to seek Handheld radios with Base to be distributed to boats, tricycles, vans, office and village outreach. This practical communication means will ensure savings on exorbitant cellular phone costs and faster coordination for ground logistical support of these community based tourism operations needed to survive . With these two essentials provided, we can help our fellow Coron citizens and grassroots operate normally and sustain services for tourists who continue to arrive in Coron.

To have their homes repaired, boats safely secured, and the Coron people ready to serve is the best primary assistance we can extend to the grassroots community towards recovery and resilience.

Third but not the least, they sought help re-build one of the schools in order to continue the work on Education the children about Ecological Conservation, Sustainability & Resilience to meet Climate Challenge.

Coron_Typhoon Campaign1

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Disaster Preparedness and Management, a must in good governance

Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Coron_Green Reconstruction

“Do we have to wait until a disaster overwhelms us before we make the radical changes necessary to protect our world for future generations? If we act now there is much that can be saved which will otherwise disappear forever.” ~ John Gummer

Know the Philippine disaster hazards and corresponding agencies in charge.

 

In these times of global warming and climate change, one is never prepared enough for the mighty forces of nature such as Japan’s Great East Earthquake, in some cases, man-made disasters, such as the Fukushima Nuclear Plant or the latest super typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines, where to date reconstruction and recovery is yet to be fully implemented .

Start at home. Now. For those especially in vulnerable and hazard zones like Japan & Philippines, everyone must be aware and be prepared for any disaster, natural or man-made.

Here are the six basic disaster preparedness at home that you must ensure:

1. Check safety around your house

  • Organize flowerpots and propane tanks to prevent toppling, and check the intensity of block walls and roof tiles.Before disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures!

Before a disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures! The DOST- PHIVOLCS call for compliance to building code after the earthquakes in the Philippines. Read article here. 

2. Discuss with your family and household member about disaster measures:

Discuss disaster preparedness with your family. Seriously.

3. Prevent injuries caused by broken glasses. Prepare slippers and sneakers close at hand. For a blackout at night, keep them in place. This is a simple and no-brainer practical prevention for further injuries.

Be ready with rescue equipments.

4. Prepare rescue equipments. Prepare a pinch, saw, scoop, jack, flashlight, etc. These might be expensive, so share with your neighbors the cost and the use.

5. Prepare an emergency pack/ After a disaster, supply of essentials may stop for a few days. Plan for quantity of stockpiles and storage for essentials to be taken out in case of emergency.

Essential emergency supplies list

  • Food and water (roughly 3 days of food for entire family and 3 liters of water per person a day)

    Each family MUST HAVE: Survival Pack.

  • First-aid kit, medicine, etc.
  • Portable radio, flashlight, batteries
  • Cash and valuables
  • Clothes

6.  Join Disaster Prevention drills

Ain't done the drill yet? Just DO IT.

Ain’t done the drill yet? Just do it.

In preparation for an emergency, create a cooperative structure with neighborhoods on a routine basis.

  1. Discussion
  2. Join disaster prevention resident groups
  3. Join disaster prevention drills

If you don’t have, organize one with your neighborhood or community pronto!

“We are now running out of time, and the question now is not what is happening to the climate, but how bad will it be before the world starts doing enough?”  ~ Jonathon Porritt

The Philippines is situated along two major tectonic plates of the world – the EURASIAN and PACIFIC Plates. Aside from this, it has 300 volcanoes – 22 as active, an average of 20 quakes per day, 20 typhoons a year, five (5) of these destructive and 36,289 kilometers of coastline vulnerable to tsunami.  The responsibility for leadership rests on the provincial governor, city and town mayors and Barangay chairmen in their respective areas.

Know more about the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Center and how it should work for you and your community!

Learn the lessons of past disasters. The Philippines is not short of earlier numerous grants, programs and initiatives in disaster education and management. Share this useful Preparedness Procedures before, during and after  Earthquake with your family and community. Do positive. Demand from your public officials on the information and skills. Seek the mass media support and use social media in raising awareness, care and vigilance.

Source:  Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disater Prevention Information and Philvocs.

“First, climate change is the greatest long-term threat faced by humanity… All countries will be affected, but the poorest countries will be hit hardest. Secondly, the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action.” ~ David Miliband

 

Will Don Salvador Benedicto take up the eco conservation challenge?

Foreword. Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) is a proponent of The Negros Occidental Initiative  the Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework  proposed by our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) for the province,  with institutional partners Green Hotels, The Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts.  SSTDI  is leading the way forward for the province in espousing Sustainable Tourism: cultural, culinary, conservation experiences in DSB and other sites such as Danjugan Island and Sustainable Agri-Tourism circuits.

The Visayan Daily Star recently reported in their November 12, 2014 issue that the Negros Occidental Protected Area Management Board voted 34-11, with one abstention, against the demolition of illegal structures in the multiple use zone of the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) protected area. The latest vote endangers the province’s last frontier and water source, according to the Governor Alfredo Maranon who voted “yes” to the demolition of the illegal structures.  The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) had earlier issued cease-and-desist orders (CDO) to 91 individuals halting the construction of “illegal structures” in the multiple-use zone of Salvador Benedicto. Per PENRO Director, structures located in areas identified under the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act and do not have PAMB clearance in consonance with the NIPAS Act are considered illegal. The Governor added that the NNNP is Negros Occidental’s last frontier; it used to have 100,000 hectares of forest and is the main source of water for the province’s people and for food production, however, now, very little remains.

Don Salvador Benedicto Malatan-og Falls

The youngest municipality of Negros OccidentalDon Salvador Benedicto more popularly know for its acronym “DSB” is situated 2,495 feet above sea level at the mid-center of the province, 47 kilometers of good highway from capital city, Bacolod.  Its composite jurisdiction  includes two barangays (barrios) from Murcia town, three from San Carlos City and two of Calatrava. Established as a town in 1983, it was intended to consolidate the area into a separate and independent local government unit to counter the insurgency concentrated here.  The town got its name in honor of the late Vice-Governor Salvador Benedicto, who was part in setting the Revolutionary Government of Negros Island and Siquijor during the Japanese occupation last World War II.

DSB’s Rice Terraces. Enjoy it while it’s clean and green and no illegal structures obstructing the view!

Today, this newfound town has surpassed geographical, economic and social challenges, with its 10-year strategic master plan for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural & fishery development zones and because of this became a budding “eco” attraction in the province, albeit raw and emergent.

DSB Villa Ica

Though DSB is still pretty much rural, almost like a big barrio, it has already literally paved the way for bigger things to come, such as its infrastructure: impeccable picturesque highway that is the envy and self-touted “most beautiful” in the country. Its climate is moderate; cool for Philippine tropical standards with an even rainfall distribution throughout the year.

DSB’s Kali-kalihan Festival. Photo via DSB website.

Among its rural attractions are historical Barangay Igmaya-an, one of the strongholds of the province’s Revolutionary Government during the Japanese Occupation; the Monument in honor of its namesake, Don Salvador Benedicto; the picturesque mountain ranges of Mt. Mandalaganand Mt. Canla-on;  the remarkable Rice Terraces, a mini-replica of Banaue’s; alluring Malatan-og Falls amidst the lush green forest, ideal for mountain trekking; the 45-meter Hanging Bridge at Barangay Igmaya-an,  the “zig-zag” Road leading to the town and the impressive scenic freeway which provided the shortest route between San Carlos, the farthest city of the province to Bacolod, as well as network links to the rest of the Northern towns and cities. DSB prides itself with indigenous tribes still existing in the area and its folkloric fiesta “Kali-kalihan” commemorating the Feast of the Kali, a long lost culture of genuine Filipino heritage and the oldest form of weaponry, the “Arnis or Escrima.”

DSB Officials at the Tourism Planning workshop

DSB officials are willing and able to work towards sustainable development with its community based rural and agri tourism. However, protecting and conserving its natural environment and resources will be a realy challenge for the public and private stakeholders.

with Tourism Officers and Cultural Consultant, Maeng Java

Last March 2011, I re-visited DSB and gave a talk and presentation on Sustainable Tourism & Best Green Hospitality Practices, emphasizing the need to conserve its natural resources, with careful consideration for the local community while it embarks on new tourism development to ensure its sustainability for future generations.  Attended by DSB’s town officials and educators, invited guests from First District of the province comprised of councilors, tourism officers and civic leaders were present.

Act from “Anagas” the musical, original Hiligaynon musical written & directed by Ismael Java.

Several acts from “Anagas” was especially presented by DSB’s Cultural Consultant, play director and writer, Ismael JavaAnagas is an original Hiligaynon (regional dialect) theatrical presentation with a profound message about the environment.

With this visit and talk with DSB stakeholders, we hope that public and private stakeholders will be enlightened about the preservation of their town’s rich natural resources and will work together with The Negros Initiative, Conservation, Community Social Responsibility & Sustainable Tourism framework.

SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Sustainability 101. Towards sustainable cities and communities

Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Greening a destination – for the tourism industry,  how do you make a city or host community sustainable? For real estate developers, how do you build an eco-town or sustainable subdivision? Check out the essence of a green cities and environmentally sound sites.

Sustainable Tourism, Socio Cultural Responsbility & Environmental Conservation Capacity Building & Training Program.

The Coron Initiative – Sustainable Tourism development and stewardship for Coron & Calamianes Islands.

 

For simplicity, we are using the UN’s definition of sustainability: A sustainable society meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainability Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

According to Wikipedia a sustainable city, is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimize the use of energy, water and food, and production of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane and water pollution.

Cities or towns compete with each other globally for the attention of investors. Almost every municipality sites sustainability as one of its key targets, but it is often not clear as to how this declaration translates into action, or if the actions that are taken go beyond green window dressing.

Bacolod City: green or green window dressing?

The first step when steering towards urban sustainability is visible greening: planting trees, promoting subsistence gardening or saving wetlands for birds.

Will DSB – Don Salvador Benedicto keep it green? Keep off greed?

The next steps environmental measures which bring social and economic benefits. Health concerns must put emphasis on quality of water, provision of ecological waste management and cleaner energy.

The Coron Initiative – the framework to a sustainable destination

Waste management can also turn into business, when sorting produces material for local crafts and bio waste becomes a source of energy. Clogged sewers lead to a ban on plastic bags while lessons about ecosystem services are learned when rivers are cleaned and watersheds are managed in an effort to prevent flooding.

Public Market trash, Bacolod City.

Bacolod City’s Public Market trash- can be a source of CLEAN ENERGY!

 

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Almost every city in the world is dealing with an influx of people from different ethnic backgrounds and cultural events play an important part in creating a sense of pride in the community and are promoted as a means to support minoritiesCultural heritage is increasingly understood as a resource to be kept alive, both for visitors to cities and for the people who live there.

 

Bacolod City’s Electric Masskara – a sustainable festival? NOT.

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects and authenticity disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial. Major events that require substantial investment, such as festivals and sporting events  do not always enhance quality of life for local communities after the television cameras have left.

In Japan: sustainable living with environmental risk IS the way of life. It takes discipline and culture of respect.

Some cities are aware of the links between global targets and local actions. Sustainability measures are taken at the local level, including investment in renewable energy and efficiency requirements for local buildings. More advanced cities broaden the focus to cover social impact and how sustainable development policy is delivered. Watch Tokyo solid waste & recycling management video. Incredible!

Sustainable city, Seoul – rapid urban development with best green practices: transport, energy, water efficiency, sincere sustainability solutions with political will.

Refurbishment of existing buildings becomes big business, public transport systems are improved and sustainable public procurement practices are introduced.

U.N. Shanghai Manual for Sustainable Cities

Green Shanghai – origin of the “Shanghai Manual”-U.N.’s Sustainability capacity building.

Shanghai Manual – helping leaders of the world’s cities use integrated urban planning, management, financing and technology to green their economies and build climate and economic resilience.

While all these aspects constitute progress, it is misguided to think that they combine to create urban sustainability. True systemic change is missing from the picture. Progress to date has been far too slow and incremental changes to business as usual don’t go far enough.

Boracay White Beach (mis)management_Band aid solution and lack of sustainability policy resulting to environmental destruction

The tough road ahead will have to include holistic visionsintegrated planning and brave strategies to implement them. For this to become a reality, the language of money must become more about sustainabilityrenewable energy sources must be fully integrated into urban infrastructure and the pedestrian must become king of the road. Source: The Guardian

Visiting Shanghai’s Urban Planning Museum.Shanghai established eco city framework in 2010.

DO POSITIVE.  Learn the lessons from disasters: take action. Demand from your political representatives to do their job, work towards healthy, clean environment and community. For Metro Manila, hope is seen at the horizon with the Green Print 2030, and people should take action towards livability and sustainability.

Typhoon Sendong in Northern Mindanao aftermath.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotelsdestinations – LGUs, host communities,  private stakeholders and the grassroots and tour operators with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs for Destinations, Hotels, Tour Operators and Industry in general include Environmental ConservationGood Governance, Climate Resilience. The objective is to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change. WASTE TO ENERGY solutions are now offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.

Sustainable seas, green economy in a blue world

TCI CB Series IV -Green Leaders Conference Workshop

 

Green economy in a blue world. Greening our ocean economies is a challenge that needs commitment from each of us – as the individual consumer, investor, entrepreneur or politician.  A less energy-intensive, more labor-intensive,  less destructive, more sustainable, less exclusive, more integrative approach will lead to more jobs, strengthen intra-and inter-generational equity and empower people to economic participation and greater self-determination. For the Philippines’ 7,107 islands archipelago , greening our coastal and marine resources means sustainable  management, conservation and protection, stronger resilience to economic or environmental shocks and social equity.” ~ The Coron Initiative (source: UNEP).

 

Boracay’s White Beach then and now.

I have been working for beaches most of my tourism career for almost three decades in various resorts in the Philippines. I pioneered in Boracay Island managing small resorts when there were only less than dozen in those days. Then, rapid, unsustainable development and environmental degradation just burgeoned. It was fate that brought me back full circle to the eco-depleted island after twenty years and I decided to do my part to form The Boracay Initiative, if only to enlighten public and private stakeholders to preserve their invaluable source of tourism livelihood.

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

I also had a chance to visit Coron, Palawan an emerging tourist destination, and I foresaw that without a Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework, it will suffer the same destruction as Boracay. Thus, we also organized The Coron Initiative with Lead Advocate-NGO, Calamianes Cultural Conservation Network and in 2013, co-organized with our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI.

In 2010, I was also invited to home-province Negros Occidental, and visited marine conservation sites in Sagay’s Carbin Reef as well as Danjugan Island, where illegal fishing is rampant aside from mining threat. From then, I proposed The Negros Initiative, to set up a similar greening guideline for the province.

SSTDI leads Negros Occidental in sustainable tourism and development stewardship.

With my hands-on knowledge and experience at Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Carbon Negative and Conservation Leader, I shared the best practices in ecological conservation funded by tourism, the preservation of culture and heritage, while sharing it with the world.

At a recent UNEP conference (January 2012), 65 countries adopted the“Manila Declaration – Global Protection Agreement (GPA)” – to strengthen the protection of global marine environment from land-based activities, emphasizing coastal eco resources as a key factor in the shift to a green economy.  This GPA made in the Philippines is very relevant as its 7,107 islands are rapidly losing rich natural resources due to marine-related commercial activities, such as fisheries, inter-island transport, tourism, mining, etc. These massive businesses leave destruction and escalate environmental degradation, loss of vital coastal habitats, marine biodiversity and shore water quality as it did to Boracay Island, the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs for Philippine Tourism. If not sustainably planned, Coron, Palawan, the next vulnerable tourism hot-spot will follow suit.

Coastal and Mangroves Destruction, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal. ~ Edward Wilson

The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources has implemented an Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program (ICRMP) and the Coral Triangle Initiative  (CTI) to “promote the sustainable development and ensure the long term productivity of coastal resources while providing social services, lessening poverty in coastal communities as well as delivering basic infrastructure.”

SSTDI’Sustainable Tourism frameworks are being implemented in Coron and West Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and Clean Blue Asia Sustainable Beach Management. These “Triple Bottom Line” initiatives are crucial for destination planning and development strategies towards the greening of tourism.  With the Manila Declaration’s commitment to develop policies to reduce and control wastewater, marine litter and pollution, the ICMP and CTI as guidelines, we will work towards a green economy for the Philippines, seeking green investments in tourism that can contribute to economically viable and robust growth, provide decent jobs, poverty alleviation and reduced environmental impacts.

SSTDI’s  Capacity Building programs for cities and communities include Good Governance, Climate Change, Resilience, and Disaster Prevention & Management among others to implement green solutions to global issues for grassroots growth, from policies to practices.

Coron Environmental Forum by The Coron Initiative, a public-private sector cooperation

The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern. ~ Max Lacado

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

SSTDI is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORK and 

The International Ecotourism Society

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