POSTED: February 2nd 2010

UNEP gives thumbs up to Sochi environmental progress

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

MOSCOW, Feb. 2: The Sochi 2014 organizing committee received good marks from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) visiting committee for their environmental protection initiatives in Games’ preparations. UNEP official Theodore Oben was pleased with the progress at the construction sites and the venue preparation.

Among the areas visited was the combined road Adler – “Alpika Service” construction site as well as the construction sites of Olympic venues in the territory of the Sochi National Park.

Oben said, "I am happy with the visit as it left me with the feeling that the entire team, including those doing the construction, are conscious of the importance of fully integrating environmental considerations in their work. I also note with optimism the expressions of willingness to listen to and engage all stakeholders in efforts to make the Sochi Games green."

Sochi 2014 organizers signed a memorandum of understanding with UNEP last World Environment Day June 5, 2009 appointing the environmental organization to act as independent observer.

UNEP will be overseeing the Sochi 2014 environmental strategy which is working to implement environmental initiatives in four basic directions: Games in harmony with nature, Climate Neutral Games, Zero Waste Games, Enlightenment Games.

Sochi 2014 is endeavoring to set a benchmark and host zero waste and carbon neutral Games.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 ceo, said: “Sochi 2014 is committed not only to protect the natural environment, but to enhance the existing ecological infrastructure. We are working together with best-in-class specialist organizations, such as UNEP, which has been following the project from its very beginning.  Such an approach will ensure an enormous environmental legacy for the city of Sochi and the Krasnodar Region and will also serve as a blueprint for all of Russia.

“UNEP experts evaluated project materials and consulted with specialists on applying environmental standards to the design and construction of Sochi 2014 transportation infrastructure objects. Plans for further cooperation between the two organizations were also discussed, followed by a round table discussion with NGO representatives, including RZD (Russian Railways) and WWF.”

Sochi 2014 and UNEP have agreed to work closely together to develop recommendations for international environmental practices when hosting world level events and to assess the success of their environmental strategy.

In 2016 UNEP will publish a review of the preparations for the 2014 Games which will be helpful for future editions of the Olympics.

Keywords · Sochi 2014 · UNEP · Dmitry Chernyshenko · Theodore Oben

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