When sport plays the sustainability card
8th World Conference on Sport and the Environment
The 8th World Conference on Sport and the Environment took place in Vancouver in March 2009. The conference focused on two main themes: the impact of the current economic crisis and how to get young people involved in sport. With these themes in mind, the conference deliberated innovative solutions to integrate global sustainability through sport.
Involving young people
Participants from all over the world, including sports organisations, sponsors, sports event organisers, NGOs, industries, UN bodies, national and municipal governments and research institutions, unanimously highlighted the importance of involving young people in the world of sport.
The launch of the first ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010 underlines the International Olympic Committee’s commitment to involving and motivating young people in the sporting arena.
Call to action
The conference conclusions and recommendations formed a declaration which called on the various stakeholders to act in the interests of increasing awareness of environmental issues and greater participation of young people in sport.
Key conclusions included:
• National Olympic Committees need to continue to develop their understanding of the programmes, practices and legacies of Olympic Organising Committees as well as the proposals and objectives of Candidate Cities.
• International Federations are encouraged to adopt sustainability policies and programmes and promote them to national sports federations.
• The Olympic Games present a unique opportunity to raise environmental awareness, and implement a set of highly visible green initiatives.
• Sponsors of the Olympic Movement need to share their sustainability practices and technologies with the Olympic family, and channel available resources for educational purposes to increase environmental awareness among, and to engage and empower, young people.
• Athletes are important role models, as their commitment to promoting the sustainability agenda has the potential to influence and inspire others, particularly young people, to take action.