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ST-EP Foundation agreement signed by WTO and Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) recently signed in Seoul an agreement on the establishment of the Headquarters of the Sustainable Tourism…

The Republic of Korea and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) recently signed in Seoul an agreement on the establishment of the Headquarters of the Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) Foundation, thus clearing the way for this important institution to begin its activities in the near future.

The agreement was signed by the Republic of Korea`s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chung Dong-chea, and WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli on 24 September, during the celebration of World Tourism Day in the Republic of Korea. It was a very special present from the Republic of Korea to the international tourism community, coming just prior to this year`s WTD, stated Mr. Frangialli.

In the agreement, both parties recalled the Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 2004 concerning the establishment of the ST-EP Foundation and its Headquarters, with the aim of encouraging international cooperation on sustainable tourism development for poverty elimination.

The project is being coordinated by the ST-EP Preparatory Committee, which is jointly spearheaded by the WTO Secretary-General and the Cultural Cooperation Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Ms. Young-shim Dho.

The ST-EP Foundation will provide essential support on the part of the international tourism industry, the WTO and its Member States, to achieving the first and most important of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, namely poverty alleviation, stressed Mr. Frangialli.

The foundation will be officially known as the UN-WTO Sustainable Tourism-Eliminating Poverty Foundation, in recognition of the WTO`s status as a specialized agency of the United Nations. It will be established as an international foundation with legal personality under Korean law. The agreement also stipulates that it shall be fully compatible with international laws and will have the capacity to stand alone, while retaining links with the WTO, its founder.

In the agreement, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Korea undertakes to support the newly established foundation with a seed fund of five million US dollars, with the first tranche of funding to be released by 8 October 2004.

Attached to the agreement was a draft constitution of the UN-WTO ST-EP Foundation, subject to the approval of the WTO General Assembly in 2005. The Foundation is expected to be fully operational by the beginning of 2006.

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