The Centennial Olympic Congress, Congress of Unity, held in Paris in 1994 devoted part of its debates to sport and the environment, and its final document called, among other measures relating to the environment, for the inclusion in the Olympic Charter of a provision underlining the necessity of preserving the environment. It also called for the creation of an IOC Commission on Sport and the Environment. Subsequently, the Olympic Charter was amended in 1996 to include the following paragraph in Rule 2 (role of the IOC): "(...) the IOC sees that the Olympic Games are held in conditions which demonstrate a responsible concern for environmental issues and encourages the Olympic Movement to demonstrate a responsible concern for environmental issues, takes measures to reflect such concern in its activities and educates all those connected with the Olympic Movement as to the importance of sustainable development."
Thus the promotion of sustainable development became one of the fundamental objectives of the Olympic Movement. This is totally in conformity with the goal of Olympism, which is to place everywhere sport at the service of the harmonious development of man. Indeed, thanks to the universality of sport and to the commitment of sportsmen and women throughout the world, the Olympic Movement has the ability to play an active part in the taking of measures favouring sustainable development.
In Rio de Janeiro in 1992, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), most of the world's nations committed themselves to the pursuit of economic development in ways that would protect the Earth's environment and non-renewable resources and adopted Agenda 21 as a global action plan to fulfil this commitment.
Following the invitation extended to all international, regional and local organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, to prepare their own Agenda 21 based on the model adopted by UNCED, the Olympic Movement decided to prepare its Agenda 21.
This Agenda 21 was adopted by the IOC at its Session in June 1999 in Seoul and subsequently endorsed by the entire Olympic Movement at the Third World Conference on Sport and the Environment in Rio de Janeiro in October 1999. The "Rio Statement" made by this conference charts the course of action for the implementation of Agenda 21. A joint UNEP/IOC Working Group has been set-up and will have the task of piloting and following this implementation.
I invite all the members of the Olympic Movement, all sportsmen and women and bodies associated with sport, to comply with the recommendations of the present Agenda 21 to the best of their ability and with due respect for their cultures, traditions and beliefs.
For its part, the IOC undertakes to use all its influence to achieve the objectives outlined in the Olympic Movement's Agenda 21.
Juan Antonio SAMARANCH
Marqués de Samaranch
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