UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics

Content of the Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics

The Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics has been built around the nine core principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. In order to frame these principles in the classical structure of an international treaty, several provisions have been adapted.

o   The Preamble of the text is inspired by that of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, although updated to the current international context and purpose of the proposed Convention.

o   Part I of the Convention includes the General Provisions which contextualise the text by outlining the key terminology, the aim and scope of the provisions of the Convention as well as the means of implementation. 

o   Part II is dedicated to the Ethical Principles in Tourism which constitute the backbone of the Convention.

o   Part III on the World Committee on Tourism Ethics refers to the mandate, composition and functioning of this subsidiary organ of the UNWTO General Assembly in the context of the Convention.

o   The two final sections of the Convention contain standard provisions of international treaties, namely Part IV addresses the Conference of States Parties and Part V features the Final Provisions regulating procedures for signature, ratification, acceptance, approval and accession.

o   The Optional Protocol annexed to the Convention is a separate instrument that States Parties to the Convention can decide to ratify or not; it consists of a voluntary conciliation mechanism concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention.

The English text of the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, the first convention of the Organization, was approved by A/RES/707(XXII) during the 22nd General Assembly which took place in Chengdu, China, in September 2017.

Steps undertaken prior to its approval

Following the third meeting of the Working Group, held on 12-13 May, the revised draft text of the Convention was circulated to all UNWTO Member States and submitted to the 22nd General Assembly of the UNWTO (Chengdu, China, September 2017) for examination and possible adoption.

Member States were invited to submit written comments and amendments to the text by 14 August 2017 for the Working Group Members to study prior to the General Assembly.

The Special Guidelines prepared for this purpose indicated that amendments should be concise and clearly specify the article and paragraph they refer to as well as the proposed action, including any alternative text. Except when an amendment is self-explanatory, it may be accompanied by a note of not more than 50 words to facilitate better understanding or clarify the scope of the amendment.

Against this backdrop, a virtual meeting of the Working Group took place on 24 August 2017, followed by a final meeting of the Working Group prior to the General Assembly in Chengdu, China (11-12 September 2017).

The General Assembly appointed an ad hoc Committee entrusted with the review of the final text of the Convention. This Committee met on the 13 and 14 of September 2017 in Chengdu, China, and submitted the text to the General Assembly on 15 September 2017, for consideration and approval or adoption.

Ad hoc Committee and Working Group 

Ad hoc Committee
As per the Guidelines for the adoption of the draft UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, an ad hoc Committee was entrusted by the 22nd General Assembly to review and prepare the final text of the Convention for its approval by the General Assembly. 
The Committee, which met on the 13 and 14 of September 2017 in Chengdu, China, was composed of the Member States that expressed their interest in participating:
AFRICA: Mauritius, Republic of Congo
AMERICAS: Argentina, Panama
ASIA: Bangladesh, Buthan, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Associate Member Macao, China
EUROPE: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Portugal, Russian Federation, Turkey
MIDDLE EAST: Egypt, Saudi Arabia
Working Group
In 2016, a special Working Group was established to examine the conversion of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism into an international convention in order to reinforce its effectiveness.The composition of the Working Group was based on the favorable responses received from UNWTO Full and Associate Members.
As of April 2017, the Working Group is composed by representatives of 36 Full and Associate Members:
AFRICA: Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Republic of Congo
AMERICAS: Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Puerto Rico
ASIA: Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Japan, Macao (China), China, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka
EUROPE: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Flanders (Belgium), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Turkey