The United Nations (UN) will be celebrating the 72nd anniversary of its founding this October 24. Consequently, October of every year is known all over the world, including the Philippines, as the UN month. The Philippines is one of the original 51 UN member-states when it was first established in 1945.
In connection to this, 2017 has been declared as the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.” This is according to a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly last December 2015 (A/RES/70/193).
In the said resolution, the UN General Assembly noted that “well-designed and well-managed tourism can make a significant contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development, has close linkages to other sectors, and can create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities.”
The international organization also emphasized “the important role of sustainable tourism as a positive instrument towards the eradication of poverty, the protection of the environment, the improvement of quality of life and the economic empowerment of women and youth.”
The theme of “sustainable tourism for development” is something that will surely resonate among Filipinos. It is true that tourism has pumped up the economy of many local communities, like Puerto Galera in Mindoro Oriental. However, it has also been observed that if left unregulated, tourism can eventually lead to environmental degradation, similar to what Boracay Islands has been experiencing. The challenge now is how Philippine communities can continue to benefit from tourism without sacrificing the environment.
Activities in connection to the theme will be held in schools of all levels nationwide. The celebration are usually led by the schools’ respective Social Studies Departments and UN student organizations. School activities in connection the UN Month celebration include quiz bees, essay writing contests, the popular Mr. and Ms. United Nations pageant, among others.