Interaction of international environmental and developmental instruments : the case of nature based tourism
Agenda 21 is an important international achievement on how the precious resources of our planet should be equitably shared and protected. It is a means of aiming towards the harmonisation of the three main pillars of sustainable development and trying to meet the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. After the Rio Summit in 1992, the two pillars within sustainable development, environment and development, made a noteworthy progress to meet the objectives of Agenda 21. Such progress, particularly on regulation settings and law making, created an active environment for the interaction of international environmental and developmental instruments on the wide range of issues raised in more than 40 chapters of Agenda 21. Thereafter, the international community has been dealing with such issues including biodiversity, agriculture, energy, transport, human settlement, freshwater, natural resources, forest, oceans andseas, together with many other issues such as sustainable tourism. Nature Based Tourism as a more sustainable form of tourism is an interesting issue to be studied in order to evaluate how the international community reacts to the interaction of developmental and environmental pillars of sustainable development on this form of tourism. Nature Based Tourism has its roots, on the one hand in the tourism industry with more than 11% contribution to the world's GDP and proves to be one of the most appropriate means of generating income and creating jobs for many developing countries while providing nearly 8% of the total global workforce. On the other hand its roots are in the conservation and sustainable use of environment features including its biodiversity and aesthetic values. Therefore, Nature Based Tourism is a major issue on the interaction of developmental and environmental issues. It should be properly governed to maximise its benefit to local communities and minimise its adverse effects on nature. At the international level several organisations, instruments, agreements and codes of conducthave made significant efforts to address Nature Based Tourism in different forms and anifestations. As a result, the international community has gained many successful achievements and valuable experience while facing various gaps and overlaps. There is a need of an internationally accepted instrument to address the existing gaps and overlaps appropriately. Such an instrument could deal with the current vacuum in the international environmental and developmental law and practice. The proposed draft covenant is a result of careful study in major international environmental and developmental achievements related to Nature Based Tourism, particularly after the Rio Summit. This provides the international community with a legal framework that can be considered as an appropriate approach towards such an environmentally fragile, economically viable, and a culturally sensitive issue.