Capacity building for sustainable tourism

PM4SD assessed and tested by Holly Prievo for her Master’s Degree at the Patel College of Global Sustainability, University of South Florida. 

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Sustainable development is the foundation for my graduate studies at Patel College of Global Sustainability, USF Tampa, Florida.   With my concentration in sustainable tourism, and the recent international push for tourism as a means to economic development, my graduate program lead me here to Brussels, Belgium, to intern with Jlag Europe and FEST, agencies devoted to sustainable development. The purpose of my internship is to evaluate Jlag’s Project Management for Sustainable Development (PM4SD) training materials and identify its potential as a tool for capacity building within sustainable projects.

PM4SD is a project management training system with a goal to improve the sustainability of tourism projects. Project managers can earn a Foundation or Practitioner certification, and the course instructs practitioners on how to manage sustainable tourism projects through stakeholder engagement, results-driven action and other important techniques, including capacity building efforts.

Capacity building is on the international agenda. In 1992, at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development drafted the details of Agenda 21, a voluntary action plan for all levels of government to guide sustainable development. Within the document, Chapter 27 was devoted to the definition and exploration of capacity building and its importance in achieving sustainable development goals. Since then, capacity building has been recognized by numerous global conventions as an important factor in achieving sustainable development.

My internship with Jlag has the overall goal of identifying the capacity building techniques embedded in the PM4SD training, and demonstrating how the program can be a useful tool for this purpose. In order to do this, I will take the course and exam, familiarize myself with the capacity building techniques the program offers, and reach out to PM4SD™ certified professionals to build a case study on three to five different projects that have successfully utilized PM4SD™ capacity building techniques. Working with practitioners that have employed the training material in real life scenarios will give realistic insight into the effectiveness of the program as a capacity building tool.

On top of my personal research on the project management training, during my 8 week internship, I have the opportunity to join two separate conferences related to sustainable development. The first, EDD15, takes place in Brussels, June 3rd and 4th, and has an overarching focus on the role of international cooperation in sustainable development. I will also have the opportunity to join FEST’s Summer School in Leadership and Governance for Sustainable Tourism, a conference that will take place in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, from the 30th of June to the 3rd of July. This will be an invaluable opportunity to hear knowledgeable speakers in the field, meet other practitioners and professionals, network and brainstorm on solutions to overcome sustainable project barriers.

I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with Jlag and FEST this summer, and am looking forward to the PM4SD training, attending the EDD15 conference and spending some time in Spain for the summer school. I hope to see you there!

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