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First Nations Climate Statement inspired by World Indigenous Tourism Summit in Boorloo

Emma Ruben -

The World Indigenous Tourism Summit (WITS) has sparked tourism operators from all over the world to come together and sign a First Nations Climate Statement.

The collective, penned the MOORO Climate Statement, aims to protect the Country First Nations tourism operators work on and look after.

Tourism WA board member Cherie Sibosada and owner of New Zealand's Kapiti Island Nature Tours John Barrett presented a draft of the statement at the closing session of WITS.

The pair requested the conference endorse the document, which occurred unanimously and enthusiastically.

Following the endorsement, Sibosado and Barrett said they now aim to promote the principles within the newly-signed climate contract.

"As proud descendants of Indigenous people from around the world, we, the 2023 WITS Delegates, recognise and accept our inherent social and cultural obligation gifted to us from our 'Old People' (Ancestors) to protect, heal and preserve our lands; or in essence "look after country"," their statement read.

"We are concerned with the real and ever-increasing threat climate change poses to our way of life; and as custodians (kaitiaki) and knowledge holders of boodjar (country), we have a deeply vested responsibility and interest to protect it."

Mr Barrett said the statement is quite a "dynamic thing" but it is clear Indigenous tourism companies are wanting to do something to prevent climate change.

"What's clear is there's enough support in the room to do something, to make a statement that Indigenous tourism people are passionate about making sure we don't absolutely destroy our planet," he said.

"We're contributing to it. How do we reduce our contribution? How do we encourage other people to reduce their contribution?"

Since the formation of the statement, both WITS, Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Committee and the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance have adopted and supported the statement.

Barrett said their team are currently working on promoting the statement through the WAITOC and WITS website.

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