Sustainable development is only conceivable if accompanied by the satisfaction of those cultural and material needs that are essential for all individuals to live with dignity and play a positive role in the society to which they belong. With this principle in mind, Agenda 21 pays particular attention to the fate of minorities and the most disadvantaged members of society.
The values of Olympism and its action on behalf of sustainable development
The socio-economic aspect of Agenda 21 embodies the purpose of Olympism as described in the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter, which is to "place sport everywhere at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to encouraging the establishment of a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity".
To achieve this objective, the Olympic Movement intends to concentrate its activities on those socio-economic fields in which its influence and universality will enable it to play an effective role.
Its aims will be to strengthen international cooperation projects for sustainable development, to help combat social exclusion, to encourage new consumer habits, to play an even more active role in encouraging health protection, to promote sports infrastructure which is even better adapted to social needs, and further to improve the integration of development and environment concepts into sports policies.
Stronger international cooperation for sustainable development
The challenges presented by the environment and development can only be met by establishing a new world partnership which will make it possible to overcome differences and promote a genuine climate of cooperation and solidarity.
For some years now the IOC has been developing a policy of collaboration with the international institutions responsible for implementing the concept of sustainable development. This refers particularly to the cooperation established with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This policy of international collaboration will be pursued, with even greater emphasis being placed on training in environmental protection and the involvement of the Olympic Movement in international activities to protect the natural environment. It should be extended to include the IFs.
At regional level, the IOC and the NOCs should establish agreements with political institutions and define joint actions enabling sportsmen and -women to participate in regional advances towards sustainable development.
The sports goods industries should promote sustainable management of resources notably through the use of materials and processes which are compatible with such sustainable management of resources; they should also minimize the environmental impact of their activities while assisting in socio-economic development.
An environmental policy which aims at efficient and sustainable management of resources must take account of those who depend upon those resources and ensure that they can live with the dignity to which every individual is entitled. This is why the Agenda 21 adopted by the United Nations proposes that action plans should take account of the fight against poverty and encourages the integration of disadvantaged social groups. The Olympic Movement and all individuals and enterprises associated with sport should support such action plans.
The Olympic Movement has shown by its history that it has an essential part to play in combating poverty by enabling individuals and groups to fight against social exclusion through participation in sport. The Olympic Movement's Agenda 21 points out ways in which even more can be done in this field.
In conformity with the Olympic Charter, the IOC will continue to ensure that there is no place in the Olympic Family for organizations and individuals which, by regulations, by action or by inaction, encourage the exclusion of individuals or groups of individuals.
The IFs should give priority to encouraging sports activity in underprivileged social circles. They will need to take active steps to support initiatives along these lines and to promote the examples set by such initiatives.
The sports organizations should assist and encourage public institutions concerned with sports to promote sports activities by groups of individuals who are excluded from them for reasons of economic resources, sex, race or caste. They should encourage the priority development of sports infrastructure and equipment in the marginalized regions.
Changing consumer habits
Unsustainable consumption patterns are imposing considerable burdens on the environment, while the most marginalized groups are unable to satisfy their fundamental needs for food, health care, housing and education. Only the establishment of more responsible and socially conscious patterns of consumption will make it possible to limit their environmental impact, economize on the use of non-renewable resources and meet the essential needs of the poor.
The whole Olympic family is committed to taking active steps to promote - through regulation, education and example - patterns in the consumption of goods, particularly sports goods, water and energy which meet the requirements of sustainable development.
Active steps will have to be taken to encourage the use of sports equipment produced from non-polluting or recycled materials and manufactured in ways which economize on raw materials and energy. So far as possible, it will be necessary to encourage the use of traditional local materials for sports equipment and structures.
A plan will be put in place to economize on energy expenditure associated with the practice of sport and the organization of major sports events. All the organizations and individuals linked to the Olympic Movement will voluntarily institute plans to reduce or control the Movement's expenditure of energy, adapted to specific economic and regional situations.
The protection of health, an essential factor in the harmonious development of humankind, is closely related to the sustainable development of our society. The sports movement must play a dominant role in the health protection and promotion campaigns encompassed by UNCED Agenda 21.
The governing bodies of the Olympic Movement will intensify their efforts to combat doping, which is perverting the practice of sport and jeopardizing the health of those involved in it.
Health education will be, to an even greater extent, an integral part of sports education. It covers notably the aspects of nutrition, hygiene, the combating of contagious and infectious diseases, the protection of vulnerable groups and the health of urban populations.
Both nationally and internationally, sports organizations and athletes will actively cooperate in implementing and producing programmes to improve diet and drinking water supplies, as well as vaccination and health education programmes.
At local level, clubs and coaches are already taking on special responsibilities in this health promotion drive. The part they are playing will have to be widened and encouraged by better training and motivation of sports teachers, better support from sport's governing bodies, and the establishment of joint projects with public and private health organizations.
In zones which lack adequate drinking water supplies, sports organizations will have to make a particular effort to increase awareness among the authorities concerned of the need to institute arrangements for the supply of quality water.
Sports organizations and athletes will promote healthy eating habits, with a balanced diet based on agricultural and distribution practices that are compatible with sustainable development.
Sports organizations and athletes will give their fullest support to campaigns in the areas of health education, immunization and vaccination, and the supply of medicinal products to vulnerable groups.
In major conurbations where overpopulation and inadequate housing are encouraging the spread of respiratory and other diseases, the political authorities responsible for sport and health and the sports associations will institute coordinated action plans to combat these scourges, focusing particularly on outdoor sporting activities and sport-related hygiene measures.
Human habitat and settlements
In the industrialised countries, human settlements generate heavy pressure on the environment and on natural resources, whereas in the developing countries they fail to offer access to the raw materials and energy necessary for economic development. To remedy this situation, UNCED Agenda 21 attaches great importance to the promotion of a viable model for human settlements.
The sports movement should participate in this promotion and intends to do so through the example it can set by integrating this concept into sports facilities and the staging of major events.
Sports facilities will be built or converted so as to ensure their harmonious integration into the local context, whether natural or man-made, and in accordance with considerate planning of land use. The infrastructure will have to enable the use of durable and safe construction materials, the economical use of water and energy resources, and efficient waste management. Use of renewable resources and energy supplies will be a priority. Any building or conversion work will have to take into account the principles of environmental protection and ideally be the subject of a prior environmental impact study.
At major events, the organizers should aim to ensure that they provide better conditions for sustainable development than previous events staged under the same socio-economic, geographical and climatic conditions. The issues will be to increase involvement by the local population, improve the socio-economic and health benefits they derive from it, use less energy and fewer non-renewable resources, employ fewer dangerous products and release fewer polluting products into the air, water and soil. An environmental impact assessment will be conducted after the event.
At these events, the creation of living accommodation for athletes and other members of the sports movement must be designed to provide a boost to local housing strategies, not forgetting the poorest members of society. The infrastructure created must be safe in terms of the quality and durability of materials and resistance to attack or natural disaster. The accommodation must be suitable for healthy living and allow economical use of natural resources.
Integrating the concept of sustainable development into sports policies
Sports governing bodies will be increasingly attentive to integrating the concept of sustainable development into the policies, the rules and management systems which govern the operations of the sports world, and into the sports activities and the staging of sports events.
Following the example of the Sport and Environment Commission of the IOC and similar commissions of some Ifs and NOCs, all sports organizations will set up institutional structures to ensure that environmental and development issues are duly taken into account in their regulatory and decision-making procedures.
Mechanisms will be instituted or reinforced to strengthen participation in the Olympic Movement's sustainable development policy and activities by individuals, groups and bodies committed to the environment and to development.
The IOC, the IFs and the NOCs will set up an education and information network which will enable all members of the Olympic Family to be trained in the necessary practices and techniques to turn them into effective campaigners for sustainable development.
The IOC and the IFs will set up a system for monitoring and evaluating the progress achieved towards sustainable development, based on a number of indicators derived from the Olympic Movement's current Agenda 21.
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