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More specifically, can the development of sustainable tourism be achieved? Can the generation of economic gains from the development of the tourism industry and the use of the various existing resources in national parks be reconciled with the protection of natural resources? themselves? Can the tourist exploitation of national parks to be environmental friendly which does it depend on?
For these questions to be answered positively, it will be necessary - although not sufficient - that the future board of the National Parks Administration think and act in a sustainable way, in order to achieve a economic-environmental balance.
The Law 22,351 of National Parks allows? the granting of concessions for the exploitation of all the services necessary for the attention of the public ?; also mention the establishment of access, permanence, transit and recreational activities regimes in national parks, natural monuments and national reserves? -with control of its use. Finally, the same law grants the Administration of National Parks exclusive authority in the authorization and regulation of the construction and operation of hotels, inns, confectioneries, among other possible tourist facilities.
For the purposes of channeling the tourism development in the national parks towards one of a kind sustainable It is worth remembering one of the legal principles proposed by the group of international experts to the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development. The principle of? Conservation and Sustainable Use? for environmental protection and sustainable development formulates that ? States must maintain ecosystems and ecological processes essential for the functioning of the biosphere, must preserve biological diversity, and must observe the principle of optimal sustainable yield in the use of living natural resources and ecosystems ?.
It is this principle that the members of the future National Parks Board should not forget, which basically indicates the establishment of optimal levels of use of natural resources that take into account the relationship between the levels of available supply and their consumption over time.
In other words, the economic exploitation of existing natural resources in national parks must be aware of the dynamic dependence between use / exploitation and availability. The business? it's not business when you no longer have anything else to offer. An exploitation of natural resources that goes beyond the optimal sustainable point will inevitably meet the end of your business.
This is why when construction permits, concessions for the exploitation of tourist services and other? Authorizations are granted? For the development of tourism in national parks, the varied capacities and characteristics of the natural resources to? take advantage of? if it is intended - as it should be - that the business is sustainable over time . The ecological / environmental question is not minor. And it is clear that it is not secondary to the economic question. They go hand in hand, so much so that we should start talking about eco-friendship.
It follows from the above that the national park management strategy must take into account the concept of ? intertemporality ??. The availability of natural resources depends on the usage rates past. In other words, today's exploitation will affect the availability -and profitability- of the tourism business in the future. But, due to the existence of scientific uncertainty, the calculation and determination of those sustainable optimal use rates they can be difficult to know precisely. Then, another principle should be applied in the management strategy of national parks, in particular when it comes to the possibility of the generation of irreversible ecological / environmental damage: the Precautionary PrincipleSeveral states have already adopted this principle in order to get around the problem of scientific uncertainty. Essentially, this principle formulates that, rather than hope to achieve? certainty? -and act accordingly-, decision-makers must act in anticipation of environmental damage to ensure that it does not occur.
Ultimately, it is about determining the economic-environmental equation that leads to the achievement of a virtuous circle, both in the sphere of economic development and profitability of businesses -tourist in this case-, as well as in the protection of our environment. Industry, tourists and natural resources are interrelated and dependent on each other for successful sustainable development.
At this time when the member countries of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) are working on the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, the National Parks Administration must take care that the type of tourism development it supports is carried out in optimal levels, in such a way as to contribute and achieve development that is balanced and sustainable .
* author of Ethics? Environmental and co-author of Green Report and of the Practical Guide to Urban Ecology and former Director General of the Ecology Commission of the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires,