Environmental Protection & Preservation
IOC to be honoured as Champion of the Earth 2007
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its President, Jacques Rogge, are to be honoured as Champion of the Earth 2007 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Along with Al Gore and five other prominent environmental leaders, Rogge will be presented with the award at a special ceremony on 19 April in Singapore.
"I am very honoured to receive this award, which is a great recognition of the IOC's responsibility and commitment to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable development in sport," said Rogge.
"Since the early 90s, the IOC and the Olympic Movement have progressively taken the environment and sustainability into account throughout the lifecycle of an Olympic Games project. The 'Green Games' concept is increasingly a reality. Today, from the beginning of a city's desire to stage an Olympic Games, through to the long-term impact of those Games, environmental protection and, more importantly, sustainability, are prime elements of Games planning and operations. I am very proud of this and would like to thank UNEP
for recognising these efforts," he added.
The Olympic Games
are above all about sport and the athletes, but they can bring several important environmental outcomes if they are planned, managed and conducted in a way which minimises the adverse environmental impacts and effects.
The opportunity of the Games can also be used to provide sustainable environmental legacies, such as rehabilitated and revitalised sites, increased environmental awareness, and improved environmental policies and practices. They can further encourage and facilitate strong environmental actions, and technology and product development in a city, country and beyond, through the educational value of good example.
A shining example of the IOC's work with the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games was last year's Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
Among the key sustainability initiatives, which can be highlighted, and which have been independently certified in a report on Torino 2006, are the compensation of greenhouse gas emissions, waste minimisation and important achievements in areas from conservation of fresh water and mountain ecosystems to transport and eco-friendly building designs.
The work covered in the report on Torino 2006 also recognises the adoption of environmental certification and management standards like EMAS (the European Eco Management & Audit Scheme) and ISO 14001 and the adoption of Eco-labels by hotels and Olympic accommodation.
The Torino 2006 Organising Committee received the 2004 and 2005 EMAS - ECOLABEL (the European Union Eco Label) Award in recognition of its competencies in organising a sports event which had the highest respect for the environment, as well as the 2006 ECOLABEL Award for the University Media Village, which was a great example of TOROC's commitment to environmental improvements.
The environmental challenges for the Beijing Games in 2008 are arguably greater than for any previous Games given the context of China's rapid development and the impact it has.
Beyond the 16 days of competition, it is the IOC's hope that practices, as well as agreements with third parties (e.g. Memorandum of Understanding with UNEP) will have at least a degree of positive impact in the wider context of environmental sustainability.
This is a matter that will be debated in full at the 7th World Conference on Sport and the Environment, which will run from 25 to 27 October 2007 in Beijing.
BOCOG has already received ISO14001 certification for its environmental management system, and it has issued environmental guidelines for Olympic project construction/renovation, Olympic catering services, accommodation, marketing, and large-scale events.
Furthermore, and in association with the local authorities, there has been a large amount of work carried out in the areas of environmental education, improving air quality, water treatment, forestation and waste management.
Beijing 2008 is also conducting, along with Vancouver 2010 and London 2012, the Olympic Games Impact (OGI) study, launched by the IOC, in order to help its partners understand the impact of the edition of the Games which they have been elected to host. The early dissemination of OGI documentation by the IOC means that today bidding cities have enlarged their scope and responsibility to encompass not only environmental concerns and initiatives, but have also incorporated sustainable development as a vision and objective which underpins their entire project.
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