Pune, Oct 23: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), after using the Olympic Games for creating awareness regarding global warming, will now be utilising the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) and 2010 Commonwealth Games (CG) to promote the same.
The 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games will be held in Pune from October 11 to 18 and the 2010 Commonwealth Games will be held in Delhi.
The initiative is part of the Sports and Environment Programme developed in 1994 to promote environmental considerations in sporting events world-wide and raise environmental awareness through the medium of sports, UNEP (Division of Communications and Public Information) Director Eric Falt said.
Mr Falt pointed out that the UNEP Governing Council in February 2003, had adopted a sport and the environment strategy that seeks to further promote the linkage between sports and environment among the public, particularly young people to create the much needed awareness.
The programme also seeks to develop partnerships with sports organisations, federations and associations to reach out to people with environmental messages, Mr Falt explained.
The UNEP Director and Chairman for the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games and 2010 Commonwealth Games Suresh Kalmadi (MP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to make the 2008 CYG and 2010 CG the most green games held so far.
Mr Kalmadi while addressing an august gathering before inking the MOU stressed that despite the paucity of time, no stone will be left unturned to make the 2008 CYG the most green games.
Mr Kalmadi, who is the head of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), disclosed that the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) pipeline, that has been laid till Panvel, will reach Pune by May next year and will help to curb pollution to a great extent.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Development Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the flagship of the Congress led UPA Government, has been pumping in the much needed funds not only to make the games a success but also to improve the public transport system. The funding saw the introduction of the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) which has brought some relief to the hard pressed people, Mr Kalmadi elaborated.
The 2008 CYG has brought added responsibilities as all the 71 countries coming under the fold of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) will compete in the week-long sporting extravaganza.
It may be recalled that the Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, who was in Pune on October 11, had announced a financial package of additional Rs 300 crore from the JNNURM which will be utilised for the development of stadiums and to upgrade the infrastructure and civic facilities including the public transport.
The 2008 CYG in Pune will focus its environmental programme on waste management and an anti-litter campaign, sustainable transport and public awareness and mobilisation campaigns, Mr Kalmadi said. The UNEP Director Falt, who flew in from Nairobi to attand the MOUA, further said he would be visiting Beijing to attend the world conference on Environment.
Sports have always been a biding force and unity and as such UNEP and as such have roped in the International Association of Athletic Federaion (IAAF) and the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) to tackle the many issues facing the global warming.
The mechanism for the transfer of knowledge from the 2008 CYG and the 2010 CG to the organisers of the other major sports events, particularly for the Commonwealth Games, in future, Mr Falt added.
Among those who spoke on the occasion included Pune Divisional Commissioner Nitin Kareer and former Deputy High Commissioner to India Mark Runacres, PMC Commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi and Maratha Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture president Madhur Bajaj and noted hotelier Vithal Kamat.