The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.Expressed simply, sustainable tourism can be defined as, “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”The 2017 designation marks a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilising all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change. In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour, towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs.Guyana has, in the past, made significant strides towards the promotion of Sustainable Tourism, and the destination has been recognised for its efforts; Guyana’s Rupununi region had justified the resources poured into its development, as it copped the regional spotlight by winning the 2012 Caribbean Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award. The award from the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and Travelmole (CTO/Travelmole) was accepted by Guyana’s Rupununi Learners Inc, for improving the quality of life of the district’s inhabitants.In 2011, this award was shared by the Surama Eco-Lodge, also located in the North Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo). This tourist destination was recognised by the CTO for harnessing the economic power of the visitor industry in a responsible and sustainable way. The 2011 award was shared with Barbados’ Harrison’s Cave. Guyana’s Karanambu Lodge Inc were among the big winners of the TravelMole 2013 sustainable tourism awards handed out by the CTO. The country, for the second consecutive year, emerged as the big winner, copping three of the six prizes presented. These awards pointed to the hard work and commitment of stakeholders in Guyana and to the policy direction of the Tourism Ministry and Authority.President Granger, in his remarks at the Annual Awards Dinner of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana last year, acknowledged that the promotion of eco-tourism would be essential to the enlargement of our national economy over the next two decades and beyond, and he assured that his administration would work towards ensuring that the sector would be developed more deliberately and more methodically over this period.He emphasised also, that Guyana’s eco-tourism product, however, cannot be developed without improvement in investment, infrastructure and information technology. He therefore called for investment by the private sector to develop more eco-resorts and lodges, and to open new attractions. He assured that the Government would aggressively court investment for the eco-tourism sector. While there has been private sector investment, the slowdown in the economy has resulted in little returns on those investments and with the added taxes, many companies are grappling with introducing higher rates at the risk of losing business.Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and it requires constant monitoring of impacts, introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary. Clearly, 2017 will be a challenging year and for the Tourism Sector, and as Guyana moves towards a sustainable development path, it will be up to the Government to ensure viable, long-term economic operations, which will provide socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders, which are fairly distributed, and which includes stable employment and income-earning opportunities.Guyana is set to host the four prestigious Hero Caribbean Premier League games next month. These games will serve as a platform for the promotion of tourism. Guyana will benefit both from both financial and international exposure through these games. It is time we aggressively move towards the promotion of its tourism sector, and move away from simply acknowledging the country’s potential.
A nearly 10-year-old federal law that provides financial rewards to states and counties that increase the number of children adopted out of foster care is tearing families apart, a report released Friday said. The study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law found that flaws in the Adoption & Safe Families Act, combined with a growing number of incarcerated parents, is permanently separating children from their parents. Under the law, states are required to terminate the parental rights of children who have been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months. States also get $4,000 for every child adopted beyond their best year’s total, plus $4,000 for every child 9 and older, and an extra $2,000 for every special-needs child adopted. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possibleThis year, the federal government awarded states $11.6 million. In Los Angeles County, more than 20,000 foster children have been placed in adoptive homes in the last decade. “Far too many children are at risk of being permanently separated from their mothers whose worst crime may be drug addiction,” said Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center. Los Angeles resident Robin Madison, who admitted to a cocaine addiction and a shoplifting disorder, said four of her five children were placed in foster care while she was in jail after violating her probation when she shoplifted toys last Christmas. While she was in jail, Madison said her fiance cared for the children, but a social worker decided to place them in foster care with the biological father’s aunt in Apple Valley. Madison said she has completed all required parenting and drug treatment classes and has been drug-free for two years, but officials still won’t return her children, who are now up for legal guardianship. “It’s wrong because people can change,” Madison said. “There is treatment for people like me who have been through abusive relationships, been on drugs and have kleptomania.” Between 1990 and 2000, the number of minor children with an incarcerated mother nearly doubled. Today more then 1.5 million children have a parent in prison. Nationwide, 518,000 children are in the foster care system. “What these adoption bounties do is encourage a rush to terminate parental rights when it is not necessary, and therefore they have helped create a generation of legal orphans,” said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va. “There are about 50,000 adoptions of foster children per year. It’s also important to note that 10 to 20 percent of those adoptions at some point are likely to fail. “(The federal law) encourages quick and dirty and slipshod placements. And if the child comes back into foster care, the state doesn’t have to give up the bounty. In fact, they can place the same child again and collect another bounty.” Since 1996, 20,752 adoptions of children under the care of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services have been finalized, according to DCFS statistics. “Children deserve more than just safety,” DCFS Adoption Division Chief Diane Wagner said. “They also deserve permanence and stability in their life. “The department tries to place children who must be removed from their parents’ care with relatives whenever possible. In addition, relatives are given preference for adoption as well. “We strongly encourage open adoptions when it is appropriate and the maintenance of the child’s ties to their birth family.” [email protected] (213) 974-8985160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!