David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: Five major events held within the City of Melbourne 'green' their events as a way of contributing to sustainability and reducing environmental damage.


DESCRIPTION: Greening events involves making a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of an event. This idea was pursued in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and was monitored and advanced by the Green Games Watch program. It is my intention to approach organisations such as the AFL and MCC, and other major sporting bodies to see if advances can be made in greening the events they manage.

The Athens Call for Greening Events was adopted by ICLEI at the 2003 World Congress in Athens, following negotiations with a coalition of 21 local Greek Councils known as OTA 21.

THE ATHENS CALL FOR GREENING EVENTS - Sustainable Principles for local hosts organising international events.

Cities, towns and metropolitan governments often act as local hosts for international events, such as the Olympic Games, World Exhibitions or United Nations Conferences. These events can have a significant impact on the local community, environment and economy. Host communities wish to make economic gains while avoiding negative impacts, and at the same time use these events as conveyors of the sustainability message.

"Greening events" has become the vision for efforts to save resources,avoid damage to the local and global environment, to take ecological, social and economical aspects into account for future-oriented city development, and to offer sustainable development options to the local people and economy.

On the occasion of the ICLEI World Congress 2003 in Athens, held on invitation of the Coalition 21, and one year prior to the Olympic Games 2004 in Athens, we launch an initiative for action towards "Greening Events", therefore named the "Athens Call for Greening Events":

• We, the cities, towns and metropolitan governments, aim at using our role as hosts, to foster protection of the environment, save resources and care for our social values and cultural heritage during the preparation and implementation of events.

• As hosts, our vision is to prepare and organise events in such a way that as few natural resources as possible are used, and areas within our cities that may have been polluted, degraded or destroyed will be rehabilitated; minimal environmental damage will be caused; and limited negative impacts on local inhabitants will occur. At the same time, a "green event" should offer inhabitants an opportunity to improve their living conditions and enable both participants and inhabitants to practise a sustainable lifestyle.

• We aim at improving our knowledge on how to better manage large international events through local model projects, such as waste management, sustainable procurement, reduction of solid waste and atmospheric pollution, preservation of biodiversity, addressing security, and the prevention of disasters and environmental degradation.

• We commit ourselves to implement city planning and city development caused by or related to the occurrence of large events in a sustainable way, and to encourage and facilitate citizens' participation in all steps of this process.

• We encourage ICLEI to make special efforts towards greening events organised within the responsibility of ICLEI, to report on results and to include a climate legacy project in future conferences.

• We envisage defining a set of minimum standards for environmental protection and social development as the basis for future agreements between host cities and events organisers.

• We aim at carrying out an international project to collect and document the activities towards greening events of the cities with accumulated experiences and innovative approaches. We support efforts to compile an action oriented handbook and a training module for host cities. United Nations agencies such as UNEP, UN-HABITAT and UNDP, as well as foundations and donors, are asked to support such a project with advice and financial resources.

• We call upon UN agencies to act as forerunners in greening events, following the good example of the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 in Johannesburg. We request UN agencies to make greening standards mandatory for all their international events in the future and to ensure a special responsibility within UNDESA.

• We encourage host cities all over the world to start an exchange of information on "greening events" and to strengthen their respective co-operation.

• We call upon all the towns, cities and metropolitan governments that have either hosted, or are preparing to host an international event, to collaborate with us in the creation of a new global co-operation on Greening Events", that will continuously expand while being enriched by the experiences of its new partners. Through this global network, technical expertise and international best practices will be disseminated. We ask ICLEI to facilitate this co-operation and exchange. We wish to organise in the near future an international forum, as an essential step towards implementation of this new global initiative.

We, the Cities, Towns and Metropolitan Areas offer our co-operation to develop and implement these standards jointly with the UN and other event organisers. We invite further cities to join the Green Events Network and the envisaged international forum.

Athens, 7 November 2003

FURTHER INFORMATION: This idea emerged from the Athens Call for Greening Events, which was negotiated and adopted at the 2003 ICLEI World Congress in Athens. I will provide updates on progress as they occur.

For more information on the Athens Call, please contact Monika Zimmerman at ICLEI's International Training Centre, Freiburg Germany by e-mail at monika.zimmerman@iclei.org.


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

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