n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Delegates' environmental attitudes, knowledge and behaviour at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) in Durban, South Africa

Supplement 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The environmental attitudes, knowledge and responsible tourism behaviour of delegates at a climate change conference, such as the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is an area in which little, or no academic research has been undertaken. This study presents results of a Green Survey of delegates (tourists) at COP17 focusing on environmental attitudes, knowledge and behaviour. Five hundred and three delegates, from developed and developing countries were interviewed at the conference venue (International Convention Centre [ICC]), in Durban, South Africa, from 28th November to 8th December, 2011. Delegates comprised representatives of the world's governments, private sector and civil society. The results indicate that despite delegates' awareness of environmental best practices and good knowledge of environmental issues, there was inconsistency in environmental behaviour due to a range of factors. There was also a gap in environmental behaviour practised at home and whilst travelling. The majority of the delegates agreed that COP17 had major environmental impacts in terms of energy consumption, air pollution, solid waste generation and over-consumption of water. Most respondents stated that they engaged in environmentally responsible practices (sometimes or always). It was also found that some socio-demographic variables and environmental knowledge was related to pro-environmental behaviour. Some of the recommendations emanating from this study included holding COP events using video-conferencing; delegates travelling less internally or locally and/ or using non-fossil-fuelled vehicles or public transport, and delegates taking more responsibility in ensuring that their travel and accommodation choices are pro-environmental.

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