UN Tourism and the UN system

UN Tourism and the UN system

The Institutional Relations and Partnerships Department (IRPD) develops partnerships and cooperates with UN institutions as well as other international and regional organizations. It mobilizes financial and non-financial resources that help UN Tourism respond to the diverse needs of its Member States.


  • Strengthening UN Tourism’s capacity to position tourism in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Identifying opportunities for engagement, collaboration and mutually beneficial partnerships, as well as maintaining strong and durable relationships with international and regional organizations, development finance institutions, the private sector, academia and civil society
  • Devising and implementing a Resource Mobilization Strategy to support UN Tourism's international services and activities

UN Tourism is committed to the advancement of the Post-2015 Development Agenda for Sustainable Development and promotes tourism as a direct and indirect contributor to each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Through both public and private sector memberships, UN Tourism is well-positioned to serve as a leader and to support its Members to advance tourism development according to their respective needs.  

Positioning Tourism in the Global Development Agenda

Since becoming a Specialized Agency of the United Nations in 2003, the World Tourism Organization has been playing a vital role within the UN System and the international community , while building on the Delivering-as-ONE (ONE UN) concept at all levels. 

Tourism increasingly recognized as a powerful tool for development, having the potential to adress a wide range of global challenges including poverty, employment, climate change and environmental degradation. The transformative power of tourism is reflected in various key outcomes of conferences and summits, including:

  • 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly (2010), in which tourism is featured in three resolutions: the Global Code of Ethics, the promotion of eco-tourism and the importance of sustainable tourism for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
  • Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (2012) where tourism can make a significant contribution to the three pillars of sustainable development
  • Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA, 2011) where tourism is mentioned in reference to the importance of marine and coastal resources and access to the sea for the economic growth of LDCs.
  • Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA, 2014) for Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) links the oceans and the seas to the sustainable development of the SIDS.
  • Samoa Pathway (2014), which refers to the sustainable aspect of tourism in the SIDS countries, particularly sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, coastal tourism and the potential of renewable energy.
  • UN Habitat II, linking sustainable urbanization and tourism