Towards carbon neutral tourism in Montenegro

Jun 14, 2013

Sustainable development as a balance between the use and conservation of natural potentials and resources is a key political and ethical paradigm. In this regard, the UNDP promotes and implements sustainability principles and policies, in collaboration with national partners, through concrete projects on the global and regional level.

As one of the important economic industries, tourism requires implementation of the principles of sustainability in planning processes, and through strategies and programs. Initially, the requirements for sustainable tourism were mainly referring to solving environmental problems. However, this concept is now expanding to include social, economic and cultural aspects.

As a main driver of Montenegro’s economic growth and investment, the tourism sector is responsible (directly and indirectly) for the large share of Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport, accommodation and other tourism-related activities.

Montenegro is an ecological state by Constitution, therefore it has a higher degree of accountability when it comes to preserving the environment and natural resources.

Tourism as one of the key industries in Montenegro with a significant share in creating the country's GDP - and as possible backbone of economic development - must be planned and organized in a way to allow:

  • stable economic growth over the long term,
  • responsible management and conservation of non-renewable resources,
  • the rational use of energy and natural resources,
  • waste minimization, pollution control and minimization of environmental risks,
  • the improvement of the education system and spreading awareness about the benefits of sustainable development, and
  • the protection of cultural values and identity.

UNDP Montenegro, in partnership with the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and financially supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has started a project “Towards carbon neutral tourism in Montenegro“. It will be implemented under the slogan "Tourism breathes, so does the Planet!". The intention is to create a different tourism product in Montenegro that would minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

The goal is also to achieve more efficient energy consumption and the development of sustainable transportation modes. The project will also help in selection and application of cost-effective measures for mitigating the effects of climate change in the tourism industry. It will also work on introducing a system of compensation for the production of carbon dioxide.

"The degree of importance and commitment to this issue that the UN system in Montenegro develops reflects through two platforms and initiatives: Sustainable Energy for All at the global level, as well as the establishment of the Centre for Sustainable Development in Montenegro at the local level. The project 'Towards carbon neutral tourism in Montenegro' will be a base for the implementation of both initiatives in Montenegro. Also, I believe this project can be a driver of similar and related initiatives, for the purpose of boosting economic and social development that will not compromise at the expense of preserving the natural beauty of Montenegro,“ said UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky at the presentation of the project in Tivat, one of tourism most distinguished locations on the Montenegrin coast.

"This project aims to draw attention to the share of the Greenhouse gas emissions stemming directly or indirectly from tourism as the main driver of investment and economic growth in Montenegro. The realization of all planned investments in Montenegro will significantly affect the increase in Greenhouse gas emissions in the period from 5 to 10 years; therefore, the basic idea of this project is to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions. All individuals, society and investors, have to contribute to the conservation of nature and to respect the principles of sustainable development,“ said Secretary of State for Tourism of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism Mr. Predrag Jelušić.

Mr. Andro Drecun from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism underlined that the economic sector has shown growth despite the global economic crisis. „Last year Montenegro had 1.45 million tourists with eight million overnights, and around 700 million euros of income was generated.“

"According to Montenegro’s Initial National Communication (INC) to UNFCCC, in the business-as-usual scenario Montenegro’s Greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 40% in 2020 above 1990 baseline. Although Montenegro is small and cannot significantly contribute to reducing global Greenhouse gas emissions - it has a moral and every other duty to do everything to reduce the negative impact of economic expansion on the environment, particularly in the area tourism and related activities," Mr. Drecun explained.

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