UN agency to launch new sports and environment initiative for youth

6 March 2003

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is set to launch a new initiative encouraging environmental awareness among youth and action through sports and sporting events.

According to UNEP, this weekend, 4,000 children in Kenya will kick off "Play for the Planet" sports day at Nairobi University Sports Ground. The new international initiative aims to bring children closer to nature through sports and also to raise awareness that sports and sports facilities can adversely affect the environment.

Sport and the environment are inextricably linked, UNEP said. Sporting venues, from football pitches to cricket fields, are often vital "green spaces" in cities and towns. They bring people closer to nature and, if properly managed, can act as urban refuges for birds, insects, plants and other wildlife.

"Sustainable development is about economic development that respects people, that respects the planet, and delivers lasting prosperity for all," UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said today. "Everyone has their part to play, including sportsmen and women."

 

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