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Tue 12 Aug 2003 04:00 AM

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United front

The United Nations (UN) is set to see a new specialised agency for the first time since 1985 after the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC) adopted a draft agreement bringing the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) into the UN’s sphere of influence.

The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) moved a step closer to becoming a United Nations (UN) specialised agency after the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) ratified a draft international agreement between the two organisations.The final endorsement by the ESOSOC means that the sole remaining barrier is the approval of the WTO and UN general assemblies. Both will hold their annual sessions in September and October later this year.Francisco Frangialli, secretary general of the WTO was quick to highlight the importance behind the WTO’s move towards the United Nations.“[It lays] in the increased visibility it gives the WTO and the recognition that will be accorded to us. By virtue of this agreement, tourism will be considered on an equal footing with other major activities of human society: industry, agriculture, transport, education, culture, health, labour,” he said.The WTO has held the status of a related agency within the United Nations since 1977, but this new agreement will govern relations between the two international associations. The WTO’s move into the UN’s sphere of influence signifies the creation of the first specialised agency within the UN system since 1985.

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