A new agreement between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, aims to ensure conservation and sustainability are integrated into the bids of the four candidate cities competing to hold the 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
Under the newly signed agreement, IUCN will support the four cities – Los Angeles (United States), Rome (Italy), Budapest (Hungary), and Paris (France) – in drawing up their proposals in a way that ensures a positive environmental legacy for the Games.
IUCN is reviewing information the cities supply on their natural environment, including areas that are key for biodiversity, how they will manage air and water quality and energy resources, as well as their sustainable construction policies. IUCN will review their biodiversity conservation and restoration plans, and provide advice on the risk analysis process, raising any potential red flags. The Union is also identifying areas to support the integration of nature into the IOC’s Sustainability and Legacy Strategic Framework.
IUCN Director General, Inger Andersen, who is also a member of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, says: “This new agreement recognises the important role nature plays in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as supporting sport and healthy lifestyles. IUCN welcomes this opportunity to identify conservation issues and key biodiversity areas in the bids put forward by the potential Olympic host cities for 2024. Ensuring future Games contribute positively to conservation is in the interest of both organisations, as well as the people living in and visiting Olympic host cities.”
The IOC stresses the importance of sustainability in its roadmap for the future Olympic Movement, known as the Olympic Agenda 2020, which was agreed in 2014. Since then, all candidate cities are expected to demonstrate how their vision and strategy for hosting the Games are aligned with the IOC’s long-term plans for sustainable development.
“Sustainability is one of the key pillars of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms. IUCN is a leading international expert in its field and we appreciate their technical expertise to help cities deliver sustainable Olympic Games,” says IOC President Thomas Bach. “It means that biodiversity and conservation will be an integral part of the Olympic Games’ legacy.”
Biodiversity is the wide variety of ecosystems – plants and animals, their habitats and genes – which are the foundation of life on Earth; so every decision that affects biodiversity affects people’s lives. As the world’s largest conservation organisation, IUCN can draw on the knowledge of over 15,000 experts to help candidate cities put conservation at the centre of their bids.
IUCN’s support for the IOC initiative began last November when the Olympic movement’s governing body invited IUCN to share its expertise, conservation tools and best practices with the candidate cities at a series of workshops in Lausanne.