This prestigious award presented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) since 2004, recognizes prominent and inspirational environmental leaders from each region of the world. The 2007 winners, who include former Vice President of the United States Al GORE, have all made an impact at the policy level through their leadership, vision and creativity.
In a video message IOC President Jacques ROGGE, who will also be honoured this year with the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, said, 'I am very proud to receive this award, which is a great recognition of the IOC's responsibility towards and commitment to the importance of sustainable development in sport.'
He continued, 'With the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, Vancouver and London, we have important challenges ahead of us. We are glad that we can meet them with the Organising Committees in the host country and host cities that are taking our concerns seriously. We have asked them to place the bar very high, and are challenging them with strict criteria to be respected'.
Today, from the beginning of a city's desire to stage an Olympic Games, through to the long-term impact of those Games, environmental protection and, more importantly, sustainability, are prime elements of Games planning and operations.
The environmental challenges for the 2008 Beijing Games are arguably greater than for any previous Games given the context of China's rapid development and the impact it is having. The Olympic Games are being positioned as a model for environmental sustainability in Beijing and for China. Many of the environmental solutions being implemented in advance of the Olympic Games will be adopted by other municipalities in China and abroad. The 'Green' Olympic Games will have some influence on future legislation and improve the public's environmental awareness by clearly highlighting the value of achieving harmony between mankind and nature. Hundreds of environmental protection and awareness programmes have taken shape in Beijing, including a comprehensive environmental awareness programme targeting residents and children. UNEP will continue working with the Beijing authorities in the long term to ensure that the environmental legacy remains intact and is built upon for future development.
Since the early 1990s, environmental protection has been a major concern of the IOC. Alongside sport and culture, the IOC considers the environment as the third dimension of Olympism. The objective set is to ensure the environmentally-friendly staging of the Games and even more: for the Olympic Games to be a motor to develop and improve the environment in and around the host city, to leave a green legacy; and to promote awareness on the importance of a healthy environment. In order to achieve this objective, the IOC has cooperated with environmental experts such as UNEP since 1994. Through the Olympic Movement's worldwide network, the IOC's message can reach millions of young people and the general public.
Watch a Video Podcast of the interview from President ROGGE by CLICKING HERE (3 minutes, MP4 format).
ISAF has launched the ISAF Environment microsite at www.sailing.org/environment, where you will be able to find the ISAF Code of Environmentally Friendly Behaviour, links to successful environmental sailing initiatives around the world and all the latest news on sailing and the environment.