The Maldives is an international champion of climate change, as a key environment and development issue. For example, in 1987 the Maldives brought climate change to the attention of the UN General Assembly, for the first time. Nationally, the strong linkage between environment and development is exemplified by the tourism sector. Environmental management in the tourism industry is highly self-regulated and is well ahead of government policy. However, practices vary greatly among resorts and there is a need for a more consistent application of EMSs for all resorts, with information on experience being collected in a central database and then disseminated.
The Marine Research Centre offered to provide backstopping for an environmental database, including a web-based online system specific to the tourism sector. Such a system has been proposed as part of the World Bank Environmental Management Project. It should also include a component on strategic environmental assessment. QMS Maldives has the capacity to audit the EMS of a resort, to ensure that good environmental practices are in place and are not just ad hoc activities. QMS Maldives is assisting some resorts to gain ISO14,000 accreditation. Resorts need to take a life cycle approach to dealing with waste issues, including purchasing policies and packaging requirements. The environmental commitment of resorts was questioned by some participants, including whether most resorts had staff with appropriate environmental qualifications.
Source: Integrating Tourism - Summary Report of the Initial Consultations May 2008 (John Hay, Gabor Vereczi, Amjad Abdulla and Ali Saleem).
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