Athletes lend their voice to the World Sustainability Project
INNSBRUCK, Jan 19 - “I breathe at least twice deeply when I’m running. Air pollution is a threat to my health and my physical performance”. Frankie FREDERICKS (NAM), four time Olympian in Track and Field who lends his voice to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) delivers a profound message.
Snowboard Olympic Champion Shaun WHITE (USA) feels the same way, “If global warming turns the mountains to summer, where am I supposed to snowboard?”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is UNEP’s most influential partner in sport and the environment. The two organizations have worked together since 1994 to incorporate environmental issues into the world’s biggest sporting event.
UNEP is represented on the Sport and Environment Commission and advises the IOC Executive Board on environmental matters during to the Olympics.
The involvement of UNEP in the Culture and Education Programme at the Winter Youth Olympic Games is simply a step further towards cementing the relationship between the two organisations.
After the very successful Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010, the UNEP booth at the Winter Games in Innsbruck has been a spectacular hit amongst the young athletes.
Concentrating on spreading awareness on the theme of sustainability, the booth engaged the young participants in many activities.
There were compelling quotes from UNEP ambassadors belonging to various sporting disciplines.
The participants then penned down their views on the UNEP wallboard lending their voice on the global issue of sustainability.
Their messages will be delivered during the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 20 to June 22, 2012.
Pal SCHMITT (HUN), the President of Hungary and Member of the IOC, scribbled down ‘Higher, Stronger, Swifter and GREENER’ on the wallboard giving an additional meaning to the Olympic motto ‘Higher, Stronger, Swifter’.
“The Youth Olympic Games are all about giving access to young people on the information regarding sustainable development, UNEP’s programmes and initiatives. It is about engaging young people through information exchange, internship programmes and training programmes. And very importantly, it is about engaging the youth at all levels in decision making regarding the environment”, said Wondwosen ASNAKE KIBRET (ETH), the UNEP Regional Coordinator.
The efforts made by UNEP during the Winter Youth Olympic Games sure were a success but this is just the silver lining. Much more needs to be done by the youth to enjoy a brighter, better and a greener world.
IOC Young Reporter Sonali Prasad