SNV, UNWTO build $15 mn fund to fight poverty

SNV, UNWTO and the UNWTO-ST-EP Foundation aim to build a $15 million fund to fight poverty and develop sustainable tourism in 20 countries across the globe.A letter of intent was signed between the three partners on Saturday, 24th November at the general assembly in Cartagena. The partnership will aim to pull up to 25,000 households out of poverty in the next three years. 

Up to 100,000 could benefit directly and 900,000 indirectly from the project, according to SNV, a Dutch development organisation. The program will see $8.4 million contributed directly by the three partners, while another $6.6 million will be raised from private sector parties and development agencies.

“It is very important to invest in the poor,” Dirk Elsen, director or the board at SNV told the general assembly. SNV, UNWTO and the ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty) Foundation are now looking for new tourism projects that directly help the poor, whilst taking climate change into consideration. 

“So far we have been depending on generous donations from South Korea, France, Italy, Macau and the UNDP among others for ad-hoc programs,” explains Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General.

“Now we are building a partnership and a long-term commitment for the ST-EP initiatives. This is a turning point—the significance is that this seed capital of $15 million will hopefully ignite and encourage others to get involved.”


The partners hope to grow the project by attracting commitment from other organisations in a bid to help developing countries achieve the 1st Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015.