Along with Al GORE and five other prominent environmental leaders, ROGGE, who will also be honoured this year with the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, will be presented with the award at a special ceremony on 19 April in Singapore.
Presented for the third time, the Champion of the Earth Awards recognize prominent and inspirational environmental leaders from each region of the world, who, through their leadership, vision and creativity, have made an impact at the policy level.
'I am very honoured to receive this award, which is a great recognition of the IOC's responsibility and commitment to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable development in sport,'
'Since the early 90s, the IOC and the Olympic Movement have progressively taken the environment and sustainability into account throughout the lifecycle of an Olympic Games project. The 'Green Games' concept is increasingly a reality. 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. I am very proud of this and would like to thank UNEP for recognizing these efforts,'
The Olympic Games are above all about sport and the athletes, but they can bring several important environmental outcomes if they are planned, managed and conducted in a way which minimizes the adverse environmental impacts and effects.
The opportunity of the Games can also be used to provide sustainable environmental legacies, such as rehabilitated and revitalized sites, increased environmental awareness, and improved environmental policies and practices. They can further encourage and facilitate strong environmental actions, and technology and product development in a city, country and beyond, through the educational value of good example.
The environmental challenges for the Beijing Games in 2008 are arguably greater than for any previous Games given the context of China's rapid development and the impact it has. The development of Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre, which will host the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, included a massive cleanup operation on Fushan Bay and the redevelopment of Beihai Dockyard.
Beyond the 16 days of competition, it is the IOC's hope that practices, as well as agreements with third parties (eg Memorandum of Understanding with UNEP) will have at least a degree of positive impact in the wider context of environmental sustainability. This is a matter that will be debated in full at the 7th World Conference on Sport and the Environment, which will run from 25-27 October 2007 in Beijing.
BOCOG has already received ISO14001 certification for its environmental management system, and it has issued environmental guidelines for Olympic project construction/renovation, Olympic catering services, accommodation, marketing, and large-scale events. Furthermore, and in association with the local authorities, there has been a large amount of work carried out in the areas of environmental education, improving air quality, water treatment, forestation and waste management.
Beijing 2008 is also conducting, along with Vancouver 2010 and London 2012, the Olympic Games Impact (OGI) study, launched by the IOC, in order to help its partners understand the impact of the edition of the Games which they have been elected to host. The early dissemination of OGI documentation by the IOC means that today bidding cities have enlarged their scope and responsibility to encompass not only environmental concerns and initiatives, but have also incorporated sustainable development as a vision and objective which underpins their entire project.