Success stories, partnerships and future action
Success stories, partnerships and future action for a sustainable environment were at the centre of the 7th World Conference on Sport and the Environment.Under the motto “From Plan to Action”, 400 participants from all over the world - representing sport organisations, sponsors, sports event organisers, NGOs, industry, UN bodies, national and municipal governments and research institutions - worked together to share knowledge, discuss best practice and find progressive solutions for environmental challenges.
Countdown to Beijing 2008
On the subject of the next Olympic Games, the conference dedicated an entire session to Beijing 2008. The first independent “Environmental Review” of an Olympic Games was presented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a long-standing partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The review acknowledges the significant investment – more than US$12 billion - and achievements in the field of environment by the Chinese organisers, and gives recommendations on how to advance further in the run-up to the Games. NGOs and industry representatives explained how they are supporting the Beijing organisers towards achieving “Green Games”. And the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Organising Committee (BOCOG) presented its publication “Beijing 2008: Environmental Protection, Innovation and Improvement”, showing the concrete measures it wants to implement to ensure a long-lasting “green” legacy for Beijing and China.
World Conference as a unique platform for knowledge exchange
The 7th edition of this event proved to be a unique platform for knowledge exchange. Where else do cities like Incheon, Glasgow, Delhi and Abuji get to exchange information with South Africa, host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, about environment initiatives for major sport events? Where else would you get handbooks and brochures on grassroots sustainability projects in Southern America, Africa and Oceania? And where else could the environmental experts of all the future Olympic Games Organising Committees meet to discuss their environmental policies with NGOs and researchers? This is just to name a few examples which reveal the potential of this conference.
Commitment for action on a daily basis
“Sport, and in particular our athletes, need a healthy environment, but sport also needs to contribute to a sustainable environment, for example in the context of Olympic Games. Beyond this conference, there are many opportunities for different forms of collaboration at all levels. We all have to play our part in the global effort for a sustainable environment, in the global fight against climate change – that means everybody, everyday” concluded Pál Schmitt, IOC member and Chairman of the IOC Sport and Environment Commission, at the end of the two-day conference. A reminder of this appeal is an official communiqué which was adopted unanimously by all attendants. Practical tools for the promotion of a healthy environment, such as the IOC’s Guide on Sport, Environment and Sustainability, and a lot of other useful information brought in by the participants, are in the suitcases of the participants to be shared with their colleagues back home. And in spring 2009, at the next World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Vancouver, it will be time to review what has “grown green” since the Beijing conference.
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