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Sports plays a growing role in quest for sustainability

Nairobi, 18 June 2009 The crucial role played by Sports in various aspects of sustainable development was discussed by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner in an address to the 'Forum on Productive Youth Development through Sport in Africa'.

The Forum brought together practitioners and experts in the field of sport and productive youth development to share experiences on best practice, discuss collaboration strategies and make recommendations on Sport and Development.

Describing the role of environmental sustainability in sports, Mr. Steiner cited the success of the Beijing Olympics in not just meeting, but exceeding the environmental standards outlined by the International Olympic Committee.

Mr. Steiner, who is also UN Under-Secretary-General, said "I think Beijing stands out at the moment when the Olympic games had perhaps its most transformative impact in terms of the host city going well beyond the parameters in terms of Beijing itself and the country".

Over the past ten years, UNEP has worked closely with the International Olympic Committee in setting criteria to define the sustainability of cities that want to host the Olympic Games.

Mr. Steiner also acknowledged the intersection between youth, sports and the environment, that was most evident in the work of Tunza, UNEP's youth network.

"Sports has become a way in which youth can combine the reality of their enthusiasm to be engaged in sports while also taking social responsibility and doing something about their communities, neighbourhoods and the issue of environmental sustainability."

The Forum, which is a joint initiative of the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) and the Jacobs Foundation, concludes on Thursday, 18 June.

About UNEP's Sport and Environment Programme:

UNEP has been actively involved in work on sport and the environment for well over a decade. UNEP works to: promote the integration of environmental considerations in sports; use the popularity of sports to promote environmental awareness and respect for the environment among the public, especially young people; and promote the development of environmentally friendly sports facilities and the manufacture of environmentally friendly sporting goods.

For more information please contact:

Theo Oben, Head of UNEP's Outreach Unit, on Tel: +254 20 7623262, or e-mail: theodore.oben@unep.org

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, or when traveling: +41 795965737, or e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org




Further Resources

Forum on Productive Youth Development through Sport in Africa - PDF

International Platform on Sport and Development

UNEP: Sport and Environment


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