Submission to Local Network
July 22, 2010
We are writing to propose an eco-tourism initiative for the Local Network as an innovative approach to ensure compliance to the Fourth Principle of the Earth Charter: Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations. The Earth Charter recommends that business engage in community development projects which are environmentally focussed as a sound business practice. Using the International Ecotourism Society’s (n.d.) definition of ecotourism (i.e. ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people), we would agree with this recommendation and suggest eco-tourism as a specific project approach. We propose that a community development framework be used for Local Network companies to engage with their host community in a way that is sustainable and has positive environmental outcomes. In order to make this successful, we suggest the following recommendations based on our experiences:
i) That close working relationships be established between the businesses involved, the government and the local community.
Our experiences with ecotourism in Kazakhstan showed us that the support of multiple
stakeholders is a key success factor in being able to draw the maximum benefit from the
region’s tourism potential while protecting environmental and cultural heritage. UNESCO (n.d.) in its report about culture and ecotourism in the mountainous regions of Central Asia and the Himalayas acknowledges that our program has preserved both the pristine nature of the Tien Shen Mountain Range and the handicrafts and nomadic lifestyles of the Kazakh people. The acknowledgement of UNESCO is significant as it supports the validity of such an approach and the benefits of multi-stakeholder cooperation.
ii) That community wishes and expectations are identified and managed in a manner acceptable to all stakeholders including private...