Sochi, Oct 30, 2013: The 10th edition of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s World Conference on Sport and the Environment officially got under way today in Sochi, Russia, host of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in February 2014.
Under the theme “Changing Today for a Better Tomorrow”, leading environmentalists, academics, government figures and sports experts will discuss a range of subjects, including Russian legacies pre- and post-Sochi 2014, the sustainable development landscape following Rio+20, sustainable-development legacies of previous and future Olympic Games, and the role of the UN system.
Keynote speakers include the first woman from Saudi Arabia to scale Mount Everest, Raha Moharrak, and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh, who was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean of the world.
On the occasion of the opening ceremony of the three-day conference, IOC President Thomas Bach called on delegates to continue working to bring about a paradigm shift for environmental protection and sustainable development.
“Sport has long been well aware of this responsibility, and is moving forward with many like-minded partners by setting a good example,” he said. “The Olympic Movement has already shown the international community how sport can make a tangible contribution to reducing environmental impacts. We are helping in the search for sustainable solutions by providing highly practical guidelines and strategies, for implementation globally, but also locally.”
The opening ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak, President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko, and IOC Director of International Cooperation and Development Tomas Sithole.
The five continental winners of the 3rd IOC Sport and Environment Awards were also announced today and recognised for their outstanding initiatives in the field of environment and sustainable sport:
Africa: Kenya Rowing and Canoe Association (Tudor Water Sports Marina), Kenya
Americas: Clean Air Champions (CAC), Canada
Asia: Sport and Environment Commission, National Olympic Committee of Iran (Tochal Mountain Park), Iran
Europe: Sport and Environment Commission, National Olympic Committee of Serbia (Ada Ciganlija Lake), Serbia
Oceania: Sustainable Coastlines and Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee Inc (Go Green: Love Your Coast), Papua New Guinea
The biennial World Conference on Sport and the Environment is one of the IOC’s key advocacy initiatives in the field of the environment, and gathers together representatives from the Olympic family, governments, the UN system, academic institutions and NGOs. This year’s event is being organised in partnership with UNEP, the Russian government, the Russian Olympic Committee and the Organising Committee of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.
The 10th edition comes a year after the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), better known as Rio+20, which was a key moment in the global sustainability agenda. Rio+20 saw a renewal of the sporting community’s long-term and political commitment to sustainable development. —- IOC