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UNWTO: conferences should lead sustainability movement

Green meeting puts responsibility on events sector

Dr. Dirk Glaesser, Director for the Sustainable Development Programme of the World Tourism Organisation

The World Tourism Organisaation of the UN has challenged the conference industry to be an ‘agent of change’ in sustainability and a stimulus for other sectors.

UNWTO sustainability expert Dr. Dirk Glaesser speaking at the recent green meetings and events conference (gme) held in Germany, was joined via video link by Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment, who stressed that sustainability is not a theme of meetings but an inherent feature.

"Germany is Europe's number one conference location,” she said. “With success, however, comes responsibility. For the conference and congress industry this means, above all, implementing the guiding principle for sustainable development and sustainability targets at meetings, events and conferences.”

Professor Andreas Löschel, Professor for Energy and Resource Economics at the University of Münster, highlighted sustainability as a crucial consideration for the meeting and event industry. This year the UNWTO is shining the spotlight on this issue - the United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

The fourth green meetings and events conference (gme) - in Waiblingen in the region of Stuttgart - attracted 250 attendees from venues, conference hotels, congress centres, service providers and event agencies.
Organisers Ilona Jarabek, Vice-President of the European Association of Event Centers (EVVC), and Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the German Convention Bureau (GCB), summarised: "Over the past two days participants have come together to make significant progress in the sustainable organisation of conferences and events in Germany. We are already looking forward to the next conference in 2019! "

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