UNEP To Help Green The Sochi 2014 Olympics
We have seen many Olympic Games but didn’t bother to check about the green quotient of the games, till now. What is most talked about is always the performance of the athletes. But slowly the scenario is changing. People are becoming aware of the green factor of the games and United Nations is taking active interest in making the games clean and green. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Russian Olympic organizers. According to this MOU, UNEP will help and advise them on making the Sochi Olympic Games environmentally friendly. Sochi Olympics will be held in 2014. There is more need to pay attention to Sochi and its flora, fauna and environment because Sochi is situated between the gentle shores of the Black Sea and the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains in Russia’s Krasnodar Region and is renowned for its pristine setting.
People want to preserve the natural beauty of this place. UNEP made some recommendations regarding this too. UNEP suggested that the authorities should move the bobsleigh and luge tracks away from the Caucasus nature reserve. Because it will temper with the natural beauty of the Sochi. It is one of the only mountain areas in Europe that remain virtually untouched by human activity. Organizers agreed with the UNEP. They changed the venue and stressed that they are committed to creating an “environmental legacy for the future of the region”.
At the signing ceremony on 5 June, Theodore Oben, who is the Chief of the UNEP’s Outreach Section, said: “I am sure the memorandum signed today will not only be a written commitment, but will guarantee that during the preparation and staging of Sochi 2014 great strides are made in environmental protection in Sochi and the Krasnodar Region,” said
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of Sochi 2014, is hopeful: “Signing this important Memorandum will help ensure Sochi 2014 is able to introduce Green Standards to every level of the Games’ preparation and will ensure that the Organizing Committee continues to work with international environment experts to support this.”
Chernyshenko promised at the signing of the agreement, “We developed the Sochi 2014 environmental strategy and this will ensure that the ecological situation in the Krasnodar Region is enhanced for generations to come.”
The Memorandum of Understanding will include Environmental education schemes and many conferences. UNEP will advise the organizers on greening the 2014 Olympics. Environmental education schemes will also be organized, and a series of conferences will allow international experts to monitor and analyze key environmental indicators before and after the Games.
The Sochi Olympic organizers are planning to spend USD 75 billion in energy conservation and renewable energy. They will also try to counterbalance the remaining greenhouse gas emissions arising out from the use of electricity, air travel and ground transportation. They are also planning other environmental schemes such as development of “green belts” in the city and reforestation of the Sochi National Park.
UNEP is also undertaking the Billion Trees Campaign. The organizers are also doing their share by planting trees in several locations in Russia. As we all know that planting trees is a key way to fight climate change because trees consume vast amounts of carbon dioxide. Presently UNEP has planted more than four billion trees. Now they have set a new standard of 7 billion trees by the end of 2009. It is one for every person on the planet.
Sochi has also joined UNEP’s Climate Neutral Network (CN Net). CN Net is a program to encourage global action and participation towards low-carbon economies and societies. CN Net is joined by countries, cities, multinationals, NGOs and other UN agencies.