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UNWTO recruiting PhD Researcher for Sustainable Development of Tourism Programme

Madrid, Spain, 23 August 2017


The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, the UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

UNWTO is currently looking for two PhD Researchers for its Sustainable Development of Tourism Programme.

The Sustainable Development of Tourism Programme (SDT) builds its work upon the Plan of Implementation agreed upon at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, Johannesburg, 2002), in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, the post 2015 Development Agenda and in the framework of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. It covers the areas of policies and tools for SDT, their application to the different types of tourism destinations as well as their integration into global initiatives on sustainable development; and has the following objectives:

  • To facilitate the integration of sustainability criteria in national, regional and local tourism policies and development plans;

  • To enhance evidence-based decision making through the strengthening of the network of observatories of sustainable tourism, to allow for efficient and relevant reporting and through the collection and analysis of global case studies on resource management in tourism;

  • To participate and contribute to the work related to accelerating the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns;

  • To continue to contribute to position tourism in the framework of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020);

  • To deepen the knowledge of the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals including to poverty alleviation and promote its application;

  • To provide capacity-building tools for adaptation and mitigation to climate change and influence the international debate regarding mitigation strategies and measures;

  • To advise on the sustainability aspects of all projects, studies and other initiatives by the UNWTO Secretariat;

  • To contribute to the promotion of Safe and Seamless Travel;

  • To define a set of UNWTO SDT products for Member States.

In 2017, UNWTO will continue the PhD Research Programme, successfully started in 2014, which will offer again two PhD students the opportunity to contribute to the UNWTO programme for Sustainable Development of Tourism (SDT). The main aim of this programme is to support research to advance the general knowledge and further broaden ones’ understanding about the importance of sustainable and resilient tourism at the international level.

The PhD Researchers will be located in Madrid, Spain, at UNWTO headquarters, working with the SDT Programme. Successful candidates will be sponsored for a period of 12 months and are expected to work under the supervision of the Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism and/or another staff member in the Programme. Appropriate logistics (i.e., first-hand access to meetings and UN processes; internal access to relevant UNWTO documents and databases, and other relevant industry data and processes; own office space, computer and internet accessibility) will be made available.

Applicants are required to dedicate most of their time to the research at the UNWTO headquarters; however arrangements for field research are envisaged. PhD candidates are expected to prepare three research papers, for publishing or the equivalent, on their designated research subject. Successful candidates will conduct research in one of the following areas:

  • Global Processes on sustainable development: biodiversity, sustainable consumption and production, sustainable tourism, 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), post-2015 development agenda, Rio+20, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Change Agreement;

  • Resilient tourism: transportation and tourism policies, travel facilitation, post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction (HFA-2) - to foster growth and development;

  • Measuring, monitoring and assessing tourism impacts in the destination level and to advance the agenda of sustainable and resilient tourism development.

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