International Olympic Committee to the United Nations
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
  • Name: International Olympic Committee to the United Nations
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Skills (1 hits),

Full Submission

Inputs to Outcome document for UNCSD

by the Office of the Permanent Observer

for the International Olympic Committee to the United Nations

Under the leadership of the President of the International Olympic Committee, Dr Jacques Rogge, the Olympic movement is putting forward the following statement as its collective vision for Rio+20 and emphasizing sport as a fundamental driver for social change and responsibility.

1. It is 20 years since Governments across the world declared humanity stands at a defining moment in our history and committed to work in a global partnership for sustainable development at United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

2. As one of the international organizations which participated in the conference, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took to heart the call for a global partnership by taking the sustainability message, first to its constituency (i.e. International Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees, Organizing Committees of the Olympic Games) by calling Olympic Family stakeholders to commit to the Earth Pledge at the Games of the XXV Olympiad (Barcelona 1992) and contribute to making the Earth a safe, hospitable home for present and future generations.

3. Furthermore, the Olympic Charter was amended to include environment sustainability as the third pillar of Olympism, alongside sport and culture, thus making it a core principle for the Olympic Movement. The IOC was the first sports organization to welcome and embrace Agenda 21 as a blueprint for sustainable development into the 21st century and adopted an Agenda 21 for the Olympic Movement; thus outlining pathways for individuals and groups in sports to contribute to the development of sustainable societies, and to educate those connected with the Olympic Movement on the importance of sustainable development.

4. Twenty years on, despite the world witnessing significant economic growth, and cumulating unprecedented wealth and prosperity, we continue to witness glaring gaps, disparities and inequalities in social and economic aspirations amongst peoples, communities and nations, as well as the continued exploitation of natural resources and deterioration of the state and condition of the environment to the verge of extinction and total depletion.

5. This reality represents a clear indication of collective failure of the international community in delivering on decisions and actions agreed upon to change course from our unsustainable patterns of development and consumption.

6. The IOC recognizes the historic opportunity provided by Rio+20 to address obstacles to progress, and put the world on track for sustainable development that will benefit and protect the health and wellbeing of people and the planet for generations to come.

Sport as a driver for change

7. The IOC ensures the regular celebration of the Olympic Games, strives to educate youth through sport, supports all affiliate organisations of the Olympic Movement, and strongly encourages, by appropriate means, the promotion of the Olympic values. Its vision is to contribute to building a better world through sport and the Olympic ideal, a vision that echoes the very essence of the United Nations.

8. The role of the IOC transcends the organization of the Olympic Games. It is in fact a powerful driver for change on a number of fronts - governmental, UN agencies, civil society and private sector stakeholders - to advance global peace, stability, prosperity in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations, the UN system, civil society and the private sector. It has distinguished itself as an important partner in the implementation of sustainable development.

9. Through the organization of the Olympic Games, the Olympic Movement has made significant contributions in managing the social, economic and environmental impacts; sustainability is always at the core of event organization. The support of and participation in the creation and development of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) event sector supplement is witness to the IOC?s dedication to contributing to the global agenda on environmental care and sustainability.

10. Likewise, the IOC has a programme for building the capacity and raising the awareness of its constituents on sustainability by using a number of specifically-developed tools such as conferences, advocacy workshops, toolkits, manuals and awards in recognition of good practices.

11. The IOC has been in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and collaborated in developing guidelines for sustainable sport and in expending knowledge to National Olympic Committees and the sporting community as a whole, specifically advising Organizing Committees and Bid Cities on sustainability. Similar relations are being developed with UN-HABITAT.

12. On a daily basis the IOC works with its partners, through a number of programmes, to improve the social and economic needs and conditions of people to live in dignity and play a positive role in society. Its efforts include combating social exclusion and fight against any form of discrimination; placing sport at the service of humanity and thereby promoting peace; supporting initiatives to nurture and promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

Input for possible outcomes of Rio+20

As Governments, UN family, non-government organizations, public and private institutions prepare to contribute their inputs to the themes of the Rio +20 conference (i.e. an institutional framework for sustainable development and of a green economy in the content of sustainable development and poverty eradication), the Olympic Movement will do the utmost to support the objectives and themes.

13. In order for the current inter-governmental system, processes and agreements to deliver on sustainable development commitments, Rio+20 should consider strengthening the institutions tasked to deliver on sustainable development commitments.

14. Rio+20 could agree on the greening of economies as a timely response and recommend the right mix of policies and incentives to promote inclusive growth, creation of new green decent jobs, enhance human well-being and social equity while ensuring environmental sustainability.

In the context of the green economy, countries can benefit from lessons learned and best practices from the Olympic Games, especially the regeneration of cities and the ability of organizers to involve whole communities. Rio+20 should be urged to recognize the positive social, economic and environmental legacy of major sporting events.

High priority challenges of our times:

15. The institutional framework for sustainable development and of the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication would not succeed without, among others, strengthening the crucial role and contribution of young people and women in the quest for a more just, peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.


16. Rio+20 is taking place against a background of an unprecedented level of youth unemployment which compromises their ability to significantly contribute to economic development and sustainable societies. Currently, not enough resources are invested in education, training and employment creation for youth.

17. As part of its contribution to developing the youth of the world, the IOC has created the Youth Olympic Games, not just as another opportunity for sporting competition, but as a unique platform to inform, inspire and educate young people on human values and good citizenship, particularly on the benefits of sport for a healthy lifestyle and its social values.


18. The IOC has also taken another fundamental step to support the promotion of women in and through sport at all levels, and their empowerment to advance development that is truly sustainable.

19. We strongly support and advocate for scaled-up investments in youth, women empowerment and education as priority issues in order to make sustainable development a reality.

20. We are committed to the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. We will work with all concerned and push for the political commitment that is crucial to achievement of sustainable development goals.

21. The sporting community is mindful of the multiple global crises and challenges faced by humankind. Such challenges require renewed efforts and collective action. To that end, the IOC and the Olympic Movement as a whole renew their commitment to support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda. We call for the recognition of the Olympic Movement as a partner in these endeavors.

22. Finally, all of us are working on this agenda with the hope to secure a reasonable standard of living for all, whilst preserving our ecosystems and resources. In that context, the IOC reiterates its commitment to lending its support and experience in programmes and activities designed to equipping people and individuals with knowledge, Skills, values and attitudes necessary to become productive, responsible citizens and active contributors to sustainable development and sustainable societies in this ever-increasingly globalised world.

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