World leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, are meeting in Rio from 20 to 22 June to discuss how to reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), often abbreviated to Rio+20, will also be joined by an IOC delegation and this is for good reasons. The IOC and the Olympic Movement are actively contributing to achieving a sustainable future for all, and in recognition of its work, the IOC was even granted “permanent observer status” by the United Nations in 2009.
Launch of new publication
Rio+20 is a good occasion for the IOC to assess how sport, a world-wide social movement that has millions of members, has been a driver for change and sustainable development. The IOC’s new publication, entitled “Sustainability through Sport: Implementing the Olympic Movement’s Agenda 21”, contains a summary of progress made over the last 20 years in the area of sustainable development, including environmental protection, education and socio-economic development. It looks at how sustainability considerations have increasingly become an integral part of Olympic Games preparations, gives an overview of stakeholder initiatives and reflects on partnership models, including United Nations agencies.
Besides looking back, the new publication also casts a look forward to determine the steps that need to be made to involve future generations – today’s youth – in the process of working towards greater sustainability.
The Olympic Games and Sustainability
Olympic Games can function as a major asset for cities and communities to maintain and restore land, soil, forest, freshwater, wild fauna and flora, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems.
The timing and location of Rio+20 is key for the IOC, with the London Games and their significant sustainability efforts taking place only a few weeks after the conference; the 20-year anniversary of the 1992 Barcelona Games, which set a precedent in showing how the Games can change the face of a city for the benefit of its community; and the sustainability plans that Rio 2016 has for its Olympic Games.
Sustainability in DNA of London 2012
Sustainability has been a key consideration for the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) since London started to bid for the Games. The Games will start in a few weeks’ time. Major achievements include the creation of the Olympic Park, which is the largest new urban parkland created in Europe for 150 years; and the construction of the Olympic Stadium, which is the most sustainable Olympic stadium in history and has been completed on time, on budget and to high sustainability standards. In addition, London 2012 will be the first Olympic Games to measure its carbon footprint over the entire project term, and is also the first Games to commit to a zero waste to landfill target through the strategic Zero Waste Games Vision. In 2011, LOCOG also became the first Games Organising Committee to be independently certified to the British Standard 8901: Specification for a Sustainability Management System for Events, and has contributed to the development of ISO 20121 - the international standard on sustainability in event management, which will supersede BS 8901 and be part of a potentially very influential global legacy.
Learn more about sustainability through sport at www.olympic.org/sustainability
And watch a clip to see how London’s young people help to clean up the environment ahead of the Games here: