UNEP and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games Sign Memorandum of Understanding
VANCOUVER and NAIROBI, Oct. 29 /CNW/ - The United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic
and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) today signed an agreement at the United
Nations headquarters in New York City to enhance environmental performance at
the 2010 Winter Games and increase public awareness of the importance of
environmental protection and sustainable development.
With this agreement, the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee is making a
commitment to build on the success of past Olympic Games Organizing Committees
which signed Memoranda of Understanding with UNEP. The Torino 2006 Olympic
Winter Games, in particular, are credited with having raised the environmental
bar for Olympic events.
The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver have committed to leave a lasting
legacy in the host communities of Vancouver and Whistler, the province of
British Columbia, Canada, and beyond, and to provide innovative ways to
organize major events that minimize their environmental footprints before,
during and after the Games.
Under the new agreement, UNEP and VANOC will work together to develop and
deliver environmental education and raise public awareness of environmental
opportunities and issues in conjunction with the 2010 Winter Games.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director,
said: "Through the Olympic Movement, we can further sustainable development by
holding green Games and boosting global interest in the environment. UNEP
welcomes VANOC's goal of carbon neutral Games and is proud to be a partner is
this important endeavour."
UNEP may advise VANOC on environmental issues, including greenhouse gas
emissions, ozone-friendly chemicals, waste management and 'green procurement.'
UNEP and VANOC will also work together to inspire action on national and
international environmental goals.
In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness that
environmental and sustainability considerations should be at the heart of the
Olympic project. All Olympic Games are now expected to leave a sustainable
legacy and promote environmental awareness.
"We are delighted that UNEP and VANOC have been able to continue the
great spirit of collaboration that has existed for several Games now by
signing this MOU," said Pal Schmitt, Chairman of the International Olympic
Committee's Sport and Environment Commission. "The Vancouver 2010 Olympic
Winter Games are making great strides in the field of sustainable development
and this new relationship with the UNEP will undoubtedly provide further
opportunities to inspire sustainable actions around the world."
"The Olympic and Paralympic Games represent a unique opportunity to
produce lasting benefits, both locally and globally," said VANOC CEO John
Furlong. "Today, as we come together in a spirit of cooperation with UNEP, we
are well on our way to fulfilling the goal of meeting our commitment of
hosting sustainable Games, of raising awareness about the environment and
inspiring greater commitment to environmental protection around the world."
VANOC will support and participate in certain UNEP events and initiatives
such as World Environment Day and a global forum on sport and the environment.
Under this MoU, VANOC has the opportunity to participate in world youth
conferences organized by UNEP. In 2007, VANOC sent two Indigenous (Inuit)
youth from northern Canada to the 2007 TUNZA International Youth Conference in
Germany - a youth forum held every two years that brings together young
environmentalists from all over the world to share experiences on the
environment. There, the two youth discussed environmental issues such as the
need to address climate change in their community.
UNEP, which has worked with the International Olympic Committee since
1994, is also partnering with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games
of the XXIX Olympiad in the run-up to the 2008 Summer Games. As part of its
Sport and Environment programme, UNEP also signed an agreement on 22 October
with the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010. The goal of this alliance is to create
environmentally-friendly 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune and 2010
Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
VANOC has been tracking and reporting on its environmental performance
with the publication of its first-ever Sustainability Report in June 2007
(available online at: vancouver2010.com). The next version of the report,
which is based on the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, will be
available in the first quarter of 2008.
The agreement between UNEP and VANOC comes just days after the 7th World
Conference on Sport and Environment, which took place in Beijing on 25-27
October. IOC President Jacques Rogge confirmed at the recent conference that
VANOC will host the next World Conference on Sport and the Environment in the
spring of 2009.
For further information:
For further information: Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, at tel: +254
20 762 3084, mobile: +254 733 632755, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Anne-France White, Associate Information Officer, at tel: +254 20 762 3088, or
e-mail: email@example.com; Suzanne Walters, Manager, Media Relations
(International), VANOC, at tel: (778) 328-6386, or e-mail: