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Green Games under Tower Bridge

UNEP Congratulates London, Olympic Host City 2012, and All the Bidders for their Environmental Commitments

Nairobi, 7 July 2005 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today congratulates London for being chosen to host the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, said: “I am happy for London and its citizens that they will host the Olympics in 2012 and even happier that the environment ranked high in all of the bids of cities who were looking to host this highly prestigious event”.

During the bidding process for the thirtieth Olympiad, UNEP established close working relationships with most of the short-listed cities, offering advice on the environmental aspects of their bids.

“The fact that all the candidates featured the environment so prominently in their bids showed their commitment to the concept of sustainable cities,” said Mr. Toepfer.

“It is also testament to how the environment has truly been adopted as the third pillar of Olympism, alongside sport and culture,” he said.

All the short-listed cities made pledges related to increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, minimizing waste and promoting ecologically friendly venue design and sustainable transport and tourism.

“I am particularly pleased that many of the environmental commitments made by the bidding cities will still be implemented even though they will not in 2012 be hosting the Games,” Mr. Toepfer said.

He said it was now up to London to implement its environmental plan for the Olympics adding that “UNEP stands ready to assist in this important endeavour".

London has embraced the concept of the ‘One Planet Olympics’ with the goal of achieving, in their own words, “the first sustainable Games” that respect ecological limits and cultural diversity, and creates “a legacy for sport, the environment and the local and global community”.

UNEP has been working closely with the International Olympic Committee and other sports bodies since 1994 as part of its Sport and Environment Programme. In 2004, it implemented a number of environmental awareness activities at the Athens Olympics Games, in collaboration with the Athens 2004 Olympic Organsing Committee and other partners.

UNEP also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics Organising Committee, and is preparing to sign a wide-ranging Memorandum of Understanding with the Beijing 2008 Olympic Organising Committee.

The United Nations recognizes the importance of sport and the Olympic ideal to building a peaceful and better world and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It has declared 2005 as the International Year for Sport and Physical Education to promote education, health, development and peace.

"Environmental sustainability is central to all the United Nations development goals. The UN system has given sport a major role to play in its campaign to achieve these goals,” said Eric Falt, UNEP’s Director of Communications and Public Information.

"The environment affects sport, and sport affects the environment. The ability to participate in sport and leisure is seriously compromised by environmental degradation and by poverty, conditions which often go hand in hand. The sports community can ensure that sport, and the products used in sport, create the minimum harm and maximum benefit to society and the environment,” he said.

Notes for Editors:

In 1994 UNEP and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) signed a Cooperative Agreement in which both organisations agreed to promote environmental considerations in sport events of the Olympic Movement.

UNEP is represented on the IOC Sport and Environment Commission, which meets regularly to review environmental issues as they relate to the Olympic Games and to advise the IOC Executive Board on environmental issues.

UNEP also supports the organisation of the biennial IOC World Conference on Sport and Environment and regional seminars on sport and environment. The next IOC World Conference on Sport and Environment will take place in November 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, at UNEP’s global headquarters.

The Olympic Movement itself has declared the environment to be the third dimension of Olympism, alongside sport and culture. The Centennial Olympic Congress, held in Paris in 1994, devoted part of its debates to sport and the environment. Its final document called, among other measures relating to the environment, for the inclusion in the Olympic Charter of a provision underlining the necessity of preserving the environment. The Olympic Charter was subsequently amended in 1996.

UNEP has developed an active Sport and Environment Programme to promote the links between sport and the environment. In February 2003 the UNEP Governing Council adopted a long-term strategy on sport and the environment, which seeks to further reinforce UNEP’s work in this field. The strategy also seeks to strengthen partnerships with sports organisations and federations, and specifically requests UNEP to initiate cooperation with Olympic host cities.

For More Information Please Contact Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: +254 20 62 3084; Mobile: +254 733 632 755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

If there is no prompt response, please contact Elisabeth Waechter, UNEP Associate Media Officer, on Tel: 254 20 623088, Mobile: 254 720 173968, E-mail: elisabeth.waechter@unep.org

UNEP News Release 2005/35

UNEP, Sport and the Environment

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