In 2013, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) General Assembly unanimously approved the proposal that the UNWTO ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty) Foundation to become an independent international organization headquartered in Seoul, Korea. The project was endorsed by the 156 UNWTO Member States including Zambia.
Ambassador Mumba Kapumpa, SC represented Zambia at the signing ceremony of the adoption of the agreement on the establishment of the ST-EP International Organization. The ceremony took place at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Monday, March 28, 2016. The ambassador was accompanied by First Secretary for Tourism, Nthemba Kamanga-Minja. Over 25 countries were represented at the ceremony.
Following the resolutions, the UNWTO circulated the draft agreement on the establishment of the ST-EP International Organization prepared by the Government of Korea in December 2015 to be reviewed by Member States. Zambia has since then ratified the decision to join the new ST-EP Organization as a founding member.
The ST-EP Organization will continue to encourage and advocate poverty alleviation through sustainable tourism development projects, targeting the most disadvantaged groups in society.
As of December 2013, 107 ST-EP projects have been approved for implantation in 40 countries. These projects include training of local tour guides and hotel employees; facilitating the involvement of local people in tourism development around natural and heritage sites; establishing business linkages between tourism enterprises; and providing business and financial services to small-, medium-, and community-based tourism enterprises.
In his congratulatory speech, Secretary General for the UNWTO, Dr. Taleb Rifai, said Korea is a success story by all means, and the establishment of the organization’s head office in Seoul is seen as another meaningful step for Korea’s contribution towards sustainable development.