International Olympic Committee to the United Nations
- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
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
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
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
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
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
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