The 9th World Conference on Sport and the Environment concluded yesterday in Doha, Qatar, with the sports world renewing its commitment to the environment by framing a clear agenda for action.
The so-called Doha Declaration defined three focus areas in which to direct activities related to the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development in sport. They include showcasing the contribution of the sports movement to sustainable development at next year's United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (2012 Rio +20 Earth Summit), engaging young people, and building and strengthening partnerships between the sports world and the UN, governments, local entities, NGOs, and others.
The Conference, taking place a year ahead of the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, was attended by leading experts in the world of sustainable development in sport. The three days of meetings were hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Qatar, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
IOC President Jacques Rogge said: "Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and this weekend's Conference has made it clear for all to see just how far we have come since then. While we can be proud of our achievements, we have also learnt that there is no time for complacency. We owe it to future generations to continue to promote our green agenda and ensure environmental sustainability in sport, and I think we have taken a big step towards that with the Doha Declaration."
Over 650 delegates from National Olympic Committees, International Federations, Organising Committees for the Olympic Games, governmental and non-governmental environmental organisations and educational institutions participated in the Conference, making it the biggest of its kind.
Participants discussed a range of environment-related topics, including ways to locally and globally implement the Olympic Movement's Agenda 21; how to make sports events more sustainable; how sport can help achieve Goal 7 (environmental sustainability) of the United Nations Development Programme's Millennium Development Goals; and the role of Olympians in promoting respect for the environment.
"I have been delighted with the quality of this conference and the outstanding contributions that have been made by the speakers and so many of the delegates," said Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee. "For us in Qatar the theme of 'Playing for a Greener Future' is real and meaningful. It reflects the concrete commitments we have made in Qatar's 2030 Vision to deliver practical steps towards environmental sustainability.
"For Qatar and the Qatar Olympic Committee, we have been honoured to share with the whole sports and Olympic Movement our 'QOC Code for Green Sport Venues'. Our aim is to collaborate with other NOCs, in coordination with the IOC, to share our knowledge of creating environmentally friendly venue management."