Global effort for a sustainable development
The 8th World Conference on Sport and the Environment which concluded yesterday in Vancouver focused on two over-arching themes: the current economic crisis and the importance of the youth involvement. With these themes in mind, the conference deliberated on the key aspects of Inspiration and Innovation as it relates to advancing sustainability through sport. The conference provided an opportunity to reflect on the hard work and achievements during the last 14 years, and the growing number of success stories.
Importance of youth involvement
The participants from all over the world - representing sport organisations, sponsors, sports event organisers, NGOs, industry, UN bodies, national and municipal governments and research institutions – have unanimously highlightened the importance of the youth involvement in the world of sport, and the IOC’s emphasis on this is evident by the launch of the first ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, with a significant educational component, including a strong environmental content. Early exposures to the best sustainable development practices and the appropriate education of future generations on environmental matters will have a lasting impact.
For a commitment of call to action
Conference participants put forth some specific conclusions and recommendations addressed to the stakeholders and their efforts to promote a sustainable development through sport. The Declaration called upon the different parties to participate and act.
The National Olympic Committees are encouraged to continue to develop their understanding of the programmes, practices and legacies of Olympic Organizing Committees as well as the proposals and objectives of candidate cities. Each International Federation is encouraged to adopt a policy and supporting programme to advance the principals of sustainability through their sport and promote those principles to national sport federations. The participants also stressed that the Olympic Games present a unique opportunity to raise environmental awareness and develop a new environmental approach in a community, and implement a « green code », thereby arriving at a set of new local standards of higher quality. The conference encourages sponsors of the Olympic Movement to share their sustainability practices and technologies with the Olympic family, and channel available resources for educational purposes to increase environmental awareness and the engagement and empowerment of youth. Community-based organizations are an essential component of sport and environment activities as they are central to the promotion of local involvement, innovation and inspiration and the spreading of best-practices. And at last but not least, the Conference concluded noting that athletes are important role models, as their commitment to promoting the sustainability agenda has the potential to influence and inspire others, particularly youth, to take action.