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Users' Manual on the Biodiversity and Tourism Development Guidelines

CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development


International guidelines for activities related to sustainable tourism development in vulnerable terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems and habitats of major importance for biological diversity and protected areas, including fragile riparian and mountain ecosystems

A. Scope

B. The policy-making, development planning and management process

  1. Baseline information
  2. Vision and goals
  3. Objectives
  4. Legislation and control measures
  5. Impact assessment
  6. Impact management and mitigation
  7. Decision-making
  8. Implementation
  9. Monitoring and reporting
  10. Adaptive management

C. Notification process and information requirements

D. Education, capacity-building and awareness-raising

B. The policy-making, development planning and management process

4. The main elements considered in developing the Guidelines are:

  1. Framework for management of tourism and biodiversity;
  2. Notification process in relation to such a management framework;
  3. Public education, capacity-building and awareness-raising concerning tourism and biodiversity.

5. Policy-making, development planning and the management process need to be undertaken through a multi-stakeholder process. Governments will normally coordinate this process at national level. This process may also be undertaken at more local levels by local government, and should ensure strong involvement of indigenous and local communities throughout the management and decision-making process. In addition, those responsible for tourism development and activities are encouraged to consult with and involve all relevant stakeholders, and especially those who are or may be affected by such developments and activities. The process applies to both new tourism development and the management of the existing tourism operations. Institutions

6. In order to ensure coordination between the levels of decision-making in government departments and agencies concerned with management of biological diversity and tourism as well as agencies responsible for broader national economic development, inter- and intra-departmental and inter-organizational structures and processes should be established, if they do not already exist, to guide policy development and implementation.

7. There is a need to improve awareness and exchange of knowledge between those responsible for and affected by tourism and nature conservation at a national, subnational and local level. In addition, national biodiversity strategies and action plans should include consideration of tourism issues, and tourism plans should likewise include full consideration of biodiversity issues. Existing documents, strategies and plans should be coherent or revised and amended to that effect as applicable.

8. A consultative process should be established to ensure ongoing and effective dialogue and information-sharing with stakeholders, as well as to resolve conflicts that might arise in relation to tourism and biological diversity and build consensus. To assist in this process, a multi-stakeholder body should be established including government departments, the tourism sector, non-governmental organizations, indigenous and local communities and other stakeholders, to ensure their engagement and full participation in the whole process, and encourage the establishment of partnerships.

9. The institutional arrangements should provide for the comprehensive involvement of stakeholders in the management process described in these Guidelines.

10. Authorities and managers of protected areas have a special role for the management of tourism and biodiversity. To this end, there is a need for government support and resources for managers, including training to perform their role effectively. In addition, it is necessary to establish and review mechanisms and funding policies to ensure the availability of adequate resources for maintaining biodiversity and promoting sustainable tourism. International institutions and development agencies should be involved as appropriate.

11. To be sustainable, tourism development in any destination requires coordinated policy-making, development planning and management. The policy-making, development planning and management process comprises the following steps:

  1. Baseline information and review;
  2. Vision and goals;
  3. Objectives;
  4. Review of legislation and control measures;
  5. Impact assessment;
  6. Impact management and mitigation;
  7. Decision-making;
  8. Implementation;
  9. Monitoring and reporting;
  10. Adaptive management.


  1. (1)For the purposes of the present Guidelines "indigenous and local communities" means "indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity"
  2. (2) Monitoring at World Heritage sites should be designed to also incorporate the World Heritage criteria upon which the site was inscribed. The monitoring system should be designed to contribute to the World Heritage periodic reporting structure, aimed at gathering information on the state of conservation of the site

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme