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October 17, 2017

A future UNWTO Secretary General tells it from the African Candidate point of view


Who will be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)?

Endorsed by the African Union  (AU) during the July 2016 summit in Kigali, Rwanda,  Dr. Walter Mzembi is continuing his worldwide outreach to garner international support for his bid to secure the top job at the Madrid-based tourism organization.

Elections for the next Secretary General will take place at UNWTO Headquarters, in Madrid, from 11 to 12 May 2017, during the course of the 105 Meeting of the Organisation’s 33-member Executive Council.

Mzembi has traveled the globe over the intervening months, engaging directly with the governments of key UNWTO Executive Council member states – detailing his vision for the future development of global tourism under the UNWTO umbrella should he be elected  Secretary General.

His most recent travels have taken him to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and India.  An additional stop was made in Istanbul, Turkey, where, along with his counterpart Ministers from Azerbaijan and Ghana, both UNWTO Executive Council members. Mzembi participated in the 2017 World Tourism Forum in Istanbul.

The Minister then traveled to Brussels where he met Ambassadors of the 79 member African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Grouping.  His final stop was the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.  Under the chairmanship of the African Union Permanent Delegate to the UN Organisations based in Geneva, he met with the 51 African Permanent Representatives to the UN.  The same representatives have administrative oversight for the African Union at the UNWTO. UNWTO is based in Madrid, Spain.

  • HON MZEMBI MEETS HIS IRANIAN COUNTERPART - PROFESSOR ZAHRA AHMADIPOUR - VICE PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE, HANDICRAFTS AND TOURISM - TEHRAN 9 FEBRUARY 2017
  • HON MZEMBI WITH HIS TOURISM COUNTERPARTS FROM (left to right) AZERBAIJAN, GHANA, AND BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA - WORLD TOURISM FORUM - ISTANBUL - 17 FEBRUARY 2017
  • HON MZEMBI MEETS WITH ACP AMBASSADORS AT ACP HEADQUARTERS, BRUSSELS - 21 FEB 2017
  • HON MZEMBI BRIEFS HIS EXCELLENCY DR JEAN MARIE EHOUZOU – PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE AFRICAN UNION TO THE UNITED NATIONS ORGANISATIONS IN GENEVA – PALAIS DES NATIONS - GENEVA - 23 FEB 2017
  • UNDER THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE PERMANENT RFEPRESENTATIVE OF THE AFRICAN UNION TO THE UNITED NATIONS ORGANISATIONS IN GENEVA, HIS EXCELLENCY DR JEAN MARIE EHOUZOU, HON MZEMBI MEETS WITH THE 51 AFRICAN AMBASSADORS ACCREDITED TO THE UN ORGANISATIONS IN GENEVA – PALAIS DES NATIONS – GENEVA - 23 FEBRUARY 2017
  • HON MZEMBI WITH HIS SAUDI ARABIAN COUNTERPART - HRH PRINCE SULTAN BIN SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ - RIYADH 9 FEBRUARY 2017
  • HON MZEMBI PARTICIPATES IN A PANEL DISCUSSION - WORLD TOURISM FORUM - ISTANBUL - 18 FEBRUARY 2017
  • HON MZEMBI MEETS ACP SECRETARY GENERAL DR PATRICK GOMES - ACP HEADQUARTERS - BRUSSELS - 21 FEB 2017
  • HON MZEMBI WITH H.E. AMBASSADOR MOHAMED AUAJJAR - AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MOROCCO TO THE UN IN GENEVA - GENEVA - 24 FEBRUARY 2017
  • HON MZEMBI WITH H.E. DR VAQIF SADIQOV - AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF AZERBAIJAN TO THE UN IN GENEVA - GENEVA - 23 FEB 2017
  • HON MZEMBI WITH H.E. LUIS CHAVEZ BASAGOITIA - AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PERU TO THE UN IN GENEVA - GENEVA 24 FEB 2017
  • HON MZEMBI ENGAGES DAVID MILLIBAND, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH SECRETARY – WORLD TOURISM FORUM – ISTANBUL – 19 FEBRUARY 2017
  • HON MZEMBI WITH H.E. MR JORGE LOMONACO - AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MEXICO TO THE UN IN GENEVA - GENEVA - 24 FEBRUARY 2017
  • HON MZEMBI MEETS WITH THE INDIAN SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS – H.E. DR (GENERAL) V.K. SINGH - NEW DELHI - 13 FEBRUARY 2017.
  • HON MZEMBI WITH H.E. MS RHODA M. JACKSON - AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF BAHAMAS TO THE UN IN GENEVA - GENEVA - 23 FEB 2017

Mzembi, who is also the minister of tourism and hospitality for Zimbabwe is due to spend only a few days home in Harare before embarking on the next leg of his outreach mission.

A final round of visits is being scheduled from mid-April to early May.

As the March 11 deadline for the submission of candidatures to the UNWTO post approaches, there are 5 officially declared candidates for the Secretary General’s post.

Apart from Dr. Mzembi there is Mrs. Doh Young-shim (Korea). She entered into an unprecedented electoral alliance with Mr. Carlos Vogeler,  a serving Executive Director of the UNWTO, a  Venezuelan- Spanish national.  Mr.Marcio Favilla a Brazilian, Ambassador Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili from Georgia and Mr. Alain St Ange from the Seychelles are also competing with Dr. Mzembi for the post.

Dr. Mzembi said: “ In a very real sense, the electoral contest is between a group of candidates from Korea/Spain, Brazil, and  Georgia who constitute and who promise little more than a continuation of the status-quo and stand for UNWTO to carry on as before. My candidature is about my promise to bring significant change to the manner in which the UNWTO approaches and delivers upon its mandate.”

According to Dr Mzembi, his assessment is shared by many of those he had engaged in his outreach program. Mr. Mzembi feels that to surrender the UNWTO Secretary-General-ship to yet another bureaucratic succession will be to condemn the Organisation to further peripheralisation and irrelevance within the global system. According to Mr. Mzembi, this is an outcome which can in no way serve the best interests of the tourism industry or the millions upon millions across the globe whose livelihoods depend on legitimate, unfettered, facilitated travel.

Dr. Mzembi envisages a UNWTO more audible and more visible both within the UN system and more broadly on behalf of the international tourism industry. This vision includes promoting sustainable tourism, in all its many facets, to the very mainstream of global socio-economic development under the SDG platform. It includes securing widespread recognition of tourism as a major contributor to the quest for global understanding, harmony, and peace.


 

 

 

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