The United Nations environmental agency scored a ‘green goal’ today ahead of next year’s football World Cup, signing an agreement with Germany for an eco-friendly, climate-neutral contest that will include compensating for increased greenhouse gas emissions by aiding an Indian region struck by last year’s tsunami.
“This is the first time that the world's leading sports event, the FIFA World Cup, has incorporated environmental considerations in the preparation and staging of its games,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said of the accord signed in Berlin with the 2006 World Cup organizers and the German Government.
“There is an increasing realization by organizers of major sports events that they must seriously integrate the impact of their events on the environment,” he added.
“The Green Goal initiative is one of the most comprehensive programmes seeking to reduce the environmental impact of sport, and I would like to congratulate the 2006 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee (OC) for this pioneering initiative, and for its commitment to the environment.”
Under the agreement, UNEP will provide technical and communications support to the OC aimed at seamlessly integrating environmental considerations and projects with preparations for and staging of the World Cup, including the development of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on radio, television, billboards and scoreboards to stimulate environmental action.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup is well on the way to becoming the first-ever “climate neutral” FIFA World Cup finals. The German Football Association (DFB) is to invest €500,000 in a comprehensive aid programme in Tamil Nadu, a region of India seriously affected by the tsunami disaster. A central component of the programme compensates for the first third of an incremental 100,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions forecast to be generated in Germany by increased traffic volumes at the finals.
The Green Goal initiative incorporates measurable environmental targets in four key areas: water, refuse, energy and mobility.
UNEP has been working closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other sports bodies since 1994 as part of its Sport and Environment Programme. In 2004, it implemented a number of environmental awareness activities at the Athens Olympics in collaboration with the organizing committee and other partners.