WTO, The Netherlands and Vietnam agree to cooperate in Sustainable Tourism-Eliminating Poverty Initiative

Travel News Asia 16 November 2004

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the SNV - Netherlands Development Organization have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance the already existing relationship between the organizations and increase overall efficiency and effectiveness, with specific reference to sustainable tourism initiatives addressing the needs of the poor in developing countries.

The MoU, signed last Thursday in the Hague, Netherlands, foresees cooperation in the field of programmatic operations, knowledge management and dissemination, resource mobilisation, human resource management and financial management. The document was signed by the WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli, SNV Chair Board of Directors Dirk Eisen and the Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation Agnes Van Ardenne. Ms. Van Ardenne expressed great satisfaction over the signing of the MoU and stated, that "tourism represents one of the five most important fields of activities of SNV".

Both organizations are committed to work together on various programmes to strengthen the impact of their actions with a final objective to contribute to poverty reduction. "We hope the other countries will follow The Netherlands' example," stressed Mr. Frangialli, congratulating the Dutch counterparts for their understanding of the importance of the ST-EP initiative for the international tourism community, as well as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

At a separate occasion, also in The Hague, the WTO, SNV and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) signed a tripartite Memorandum on the Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) initiative in Vietnam.

By the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the parties committed to launch and implement the ST-EP initiative in Vietnam based on the projects developed and proposed by VNAT. The three organizations agreed to strengthen the impacts of their combined actions with a final objective of contributing to poverty reduction through tourism as an innovative development strategy.

Following the WTO's selection of VNAT to launch the ST-EP initiative, Vietnamese national tourism authority developed a proposal "Building Models for Tourism Development Associated with Poverty Elimination in Vietnam" with an estimated budget of USD 1,600,000 that was submitted for the WTO's approval and perusal in August 2004. The proposal will serve as a framework basis on which a more detailed working plan will be developed for implementation.

"The Memorandum includes all activities in which WTO, SNV and VNAT can achieve synergy and increased effectiveness in the implementation of the ST-EP programme in this south-Asian country," said Mr. Frangialli.

In principle, and subject to the specificities of each activity, the WTO will attempt to cover the costs of programme implementation through the ST-EP Foundation, whereas financial arrangements with SNV on a cost-sharing basis can be made for other technical inputs required in the implementation of the identified projects.

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