Sochi 2014 Olympic partners commit to Mzymta River Basin restoration
Environmental Action Plans from Zero Waste to Climate Neutrality to Help Stage Greener Olympics
Sochi / Nairobi, 23 March 2011 - Leading partners involved in the construction of the Olympic venues and infrastructure in the Russian city of Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, signed a Declaration, Wednesday, that commits them to develop and implement a restoration plan for the Mzymta River Basin, based on a recommendation by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In March 2010, UNEP submitted a report to the Russian Government outlining the impact of construction work on the environment and called for collective action to safeguard the unique ecosystem of the region, recommending the development of a restoration and biodiversity preservation and management programme for the Mzymta River Basin.
The report also recommended a Comprehensive Impact Assessment of Olympic and tourism projects on the ecosystem.
The Declaration of Commitments, facilitated by UNEP and witnessed by the Government of the Russian Federation, was signed today by representatives of Olympstroy, Russian Railways, Krasnaya Poluana, Gazprom, the Federal Grid Company, Rosa Khutor and the administration of the Krasnodar region. Also attending were Dimitri Kosak, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in charge of planning the games and Alexander Zhukuov, also Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Russian Olympic Committee.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 President and CEO, said, "International expertise in ecology is a unique asset to the Sochi 2014 Games legacy. In Russia where the 'green standards' practice has recently been introduced, the analysis and evolving of this into a reality of the leading international experience in restoring the complicated ecosystems is incredibly important. The recommendations of these independent ecologists are extremely important for creation a unique ecological legacy of Sochi 2014 Games which will continue to be maintained long after the Games are complete."
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "The Olympics are a source of national pride but also an opportunity for showcasing innovation and catalyzing action towards a more sustainable future nationally and internationally-one reason why UNEP is involved in the Olympic movement and a partner with the International Olympic Committee".
"Winter games such as Torino 2006 and summer games such as Beijing 2008 have underlined the power and the potential of the Olympics to motivate millions and assist countries see a cleaner and greener development path. Sochi 2014 has that opportunity too and UNEP welcomes today's commitments, including the plan to restore the Mzymta river basin, as one of many positive steps towards that goal," he added.
In the context of its support of the Sochi 2014 Ecological Programme, UNEP has submitted to the Organizing Committee environmental action plans that cover key areas including Zero Waste and Climate Neutrality. The action plans will form a portfolio of seventeen environmental projects to be carried out under the Sochi 2014 Ecological Programme.
The objective of the Zero Waste programme is to develop a sound plan for waste management that focuses on sustainable consumption, recycling and safe disposal.
Key deliverables under the action plan include the provision of new waste collection and processing facilities at identified venues and the procurement of environmentally friendly products, manufactured from low impact, recycled, and recyclable materials.
The Zero Emissions action plan outlines a detailed strategy for carbon management around the games to measure, reduce and offset carbon emissions.
Key deliverables under the action plan include an auditing framework for Green House Gas emissions and the development of measurement methodologies appropriate to Russia and Sochi; a GHG reduction plan; and the development of a voluntary carbon offset programmes for Russia.
UNEP was invited by the Russian Government and the Organizing Committee of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in 2008 to provide guidance on the integration of environmental considerations in the preparation and staging of the Games.
UNEP has a longstanding collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the greening of the Games that spans Athens 2004, Torino 2006, Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010.
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