UN environmental agency signs accord for ‘clean’ Athens Olympics

2 June 2004

In an effort to limit adverse ecological effects from the upcoming Athens Olympic Games, the United Nations environmental agency today signed an agreement with the Greek organizers to boost goals such as waste management, anti-littering and water conservation.

At the same time it said much more needs to be done to ensure greater attention to environmental considerations at future Olympic Games.

“Athens 2004 have made environmental commitments in areas such as recycling, public awareness and developing green spaces. We are sure that some of these will leave a lasting and healthy legacy beyond this year's summer games,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said.

Noting the Games are being organized in the “most difficult atmospheres of recent times with heightened concerns about security,” Mr. Toepfer added that “this has probably come at a price, and other considerations, including parts of their environmental programme, may alas have fallen short of their initial aspirations.”

But he said the agency hoped to be closely involved in assessing the Games’ environmental legacy and passing on the lessons learned to other cities holding Olympic events. UNEP announced today it is establishing contact with the five cities short-listed for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games - London, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris - to discuss how the environment can feature high in their proposals.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in the Greek capital calls for the Organizing Committee to develop a compilation of ‘Environmental Challenges and Achievements’ which will offer a detailed account of the environmental perspective of all aspects of the Games – including a specific assessment of the venues.

UNEP and the Committee will develop and implement public awareness campaigns on waste management and anti-littering and on water conservation. In other moves a brochure issued at all venues will promote an environment-friendly ‘Code of Conduct’ for visitors, and scoreboards and video boards will carry environment-related messages.


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