"Sustainable development satisfies the needs of the present generation without compromising the chance for future generations to satisfy theirs"
── Brundtland Report (1987)
The starting point of sustainable development is the idea that the long-term preservation of our environment, our habitat as well as its biodiversity and natural resources and the environment will only be possible if combined simultaneously with economic, social and political development particularly geared to the benefit of the poorest members of society. It finds expression in the integrated concept of environment and development.
During the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), otherwise known as the "Earth Summit", in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, most of the world's nations, by means of treaties and other documents signed at the conference, committed themselves to the pursuit of economic development in ways that would protect the Earth's environment and non renewable resources. The Declaration on Environment and Development, or "Rio Declaration", laid down 27 broad principles for environmentally sound development according to the concept of sustainable development.
The idea of sustainable development, as defined above, was adopted as being the central theme that must govern the implementation of development plans for the twenty-first century.
The application of this concept of sustainable development is the responsibility of all individual and collective actors in every field that have a part to play in the areas of development and protection of the environment. In this connection, and in accordance with the philosophy of Olympism, the Olympic Charter and particularly its third and sixth Fundamental Principles, and in view of its universal nature, the Olympic Movement accepts that it has a special responsibility to share in the implementation of this concept of sustainable development.
UNCED AGENDA 21
The UNCED Agenda 21 is a theoretical and practical tool for addressing the problem of sustainable development. It makes concrete proposals in the context of the Rio Declaration.
It is a global action plan, adopted by consensus on 14 June 1992 by 182 governments at the same UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit).
Agenda 21 is based on a global approach encompassing the problems of human development and the preservation of our ecological heritage. It inventories the major problems of the present day and suggests ways of preparing the world for future challenges in accordance with sustainable development - in other words, by pursuing social and economic development alongside with the protection of the environment and natural resources. It is a document of almost 300 pages that comprises 40 Chapters divided into four sections:
· Social and Economic Dimensions;
·Conservation and Management of Resources for Development;
·Strengthening the Role of Major Groups;
·Means of Implementation
This document is intended, first, to serve as a blueprint for each Government to draft its own Agenda 21, which should outline national strategies, plans, regulations and activities. In particular, this work is to take place within a framework of international collaboration in which the United Nations will play a leading part.
Similarly, international, regional and local organizations, whether governmental or non-governmental, have been called upon to prepare their own Agenda 21 based on the model adopted by the UNCED.
The Olympic Movement, whose goal, according to the Olympic Charter, is "To contribute to building a peaceful and better world", agrees with the analysis undertaken by the UNCED, and sets its action in the framework of sustainable development. Because of the universality of sport, the Olympic Movement has the ability to play an active part in the taking of measures favouring sustainable development. For this reason, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided that the Olympic Movement should have its own Agenda 21.
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