Since its recent Annual General Meeting, which took place in Ramberg on the Lofoten, the Board of Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C) was extended by two members: Oliver Hillel from the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada, and Anne Franze-Jordanov, sustainable tourism expert on Gothenburg, Sweden. To present them both to our audience, we interviewed them with a few short questions. Here are the answers of Oliver Hillel:
What is your personal history being involved in both sustainable tourism and biodiversity?
I’m a passionate biologist since I was about 5 years old, because I felt fascinated by it as a child and never stopped, and I had the privilege of studying marine ecology in the beautiful coasts of my home State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, though I could not find work in that area right away. As the son of immigrants, I’ve also been a traveller since I was 2 months old… And again I have been lucky to work on tourism, from different perspectives, for the last 23 year. And these two avenues came together in my current work in the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, where I’ve been working since 2006.
How did you follow activities of Linking Tourism & Conservation?
Through Peter initially, and then as we developed more intense joint workplans and organized events, I learned more about its members and colleague Board members, and finally I’ve read the website and co-organized events and publications.
What motivated you to become a member and now even a member of the LT&C-Board?
Aside from what I shared about me in question 1, initially, I fully agree with the mission, mandates and experience of LT&C. The personal contact and admiration for Peter Prokosch as former acting head of UNEP GRID Arendal was also a factor. Subsequently and growingly I became more familiar with its work, for instance at COP 14’s excellent side event with the SIDS. I see the potential of its ideas, I’m motivated by the opportunities for collective action of its members – and I am pushed by the absolute and present threat to our own survival and quality of life due to the loss of biodiversity globally and locally.
What is your vision of the future of Linking Tourism & Conservation?
I see LT&C as a laboratory for how tourism can concretely support conservation on a global scale. That it is, already. But I see it as being much more efficient in advancing its goals and mission, and even in generating its own resources (by also encouraging the right kind of commercial tourism).