Sat | Dec 9, 2023

OAS head calls for talks on economic and geopolitical realities facing region

Published:Wednesday | February 15, 2023 | 3:11 PM
Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro Lemes speaking at the Global Tourism Resilience Conference at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters in St Andrew on February 15, 2023. - Rudolph Brown photo.

Luis Almagro Lemes, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), has called for discussions to be held surrounding the emerging economic and geopolitical realities being faced by Latin America and the Caribbean.

Lemes, one of the high-profile presenters attending the first-of-its-kind Global Tourism Resilience Conference, which is being held at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters in St Andrew, said as the world continues to recover from COVID-19 disruptions, noting the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) October 2022 World Economic Outlook Report, global economic activity is broad based and sharper than it is expected to slow down.

“With inflation higher than seen in several decades, and with tightening financial conditions in most regions, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the enduring COVID-19 pandemic all weighing heavily on the view, in this scenario there are forecasts for lower growth to slow to 2.7 per cent in 2023 and for the Latin American and the Caribbean region to expand by 1.7 per cent,” Lemes said.

He argued that with the knowledge of how important the tourism industry is globally, if the economic conditions are not managed properly this could lead to negative impacts in the sector including overcrowding, environmental degradation, and loss of local heritage.

“There is a need for urgent action on climate change and enhanced destination stewardship to ensure that tourist management incorporates local communities in decision-making, ensuring better citizen resilience. By ensuring that tourism creates a balance with the preservation of natural and cultural resources, we can create a positive and lasting legacy for future generations,” Lemes said.

In addition, he said with COVID-19 disruptions receding potential setbacks, climate change remains of utmost concern.

“We must be prepared to address climate change multi-dimensional impacts while finding workable and implementable solutions,” Lemes said.

“All of these require a daily assessment on the pursuit of that driven solution. It requires embracing new technology and methodology for risk assessment to establish security standards and better planning in our countries,” Lemes added.

The conference is taking place over three days and will include panel discussions, networking opportunities, presentations and lively debates on matters of building resilience in tourism.

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