Green Cross Spain, Argentina score goal in its Sustainable Sport drive

Sport is a central part of human existence. Humanity cannot exist without sustainable development. Combined, sports and sustainable development offer a powerful combination for promoting positive values, peace and environmental security.

Green Cross Spain and Argentina are providing national and international leadership on promoting sustainable development through sports and receiving high-level endorsement of their ground-breaking activities.
“Sports is a wonderful vehicle to help promote environmental sustainability and change community values towards protecting the environment for humanity’s sake,” said Green Cross Argentina President Marisa Arienza. “Green Cross is widely recognized in Argentina, as well as Spain, for its evidence-based initiatives that show how sports activities and facilities can be more environmentally sustainable.”
Green Cross Spain is a pioneer in helping cities make sports activities and facilities embrace sustainability. Such activities not only help protect the environment, but spread values on sustainable socio-environmental behaviour to the public, a fundamental part of the Green Cross mission to increase understanding of how to preserve our planet and protect humanity.
During 2010 and 2011, Green Cross Spain and the Biodiversity Foundation actively promoted the Spanish National Strategy on Sport and Sustainable Development in collaboration with High Council of Spanish Sport and the Spanish Olympic Committee.
The national Strategy gave rise to the Green Charter on Spanish Sports, an initiative created by the High Council of Sports and backed by Green Cross Spain. The Charter lists aims and commitments that signatories endorse and pledge to develop. More than 250 Spanish organizations have ratified the Green Charter and a proposed Agenda 21 of Spanish Sports is being planned to implement the actions identified in the national Strategy.
Green Cross Spain led production of a new guidebook, titled Supporting Sustainable Practices to Biodiversity Conservation, which was launched in early 2012 and integrates the National Strategy on Sports and Sustainable Development. The guidebook works to improve understanding of the relationship between sports and natural areas. The project’s main aims are to:
  • Advise managers and sporting operators on how to improve their environmental management in sport.
  • Build relationships between managers of protected natural reserves and groups involved in sports and recreational activities to develop joint activities.

A result of this project has been the development and dissemination of the Guide on Good Practices, which analyzes how sport can contribute to biodiversity conservation in sensitive natural areas, and support sustainable economic activity to promote development in rural areas.

Green Cross Spain actively participated in numerous conferences dealing with sports and sustainability during 2010-2011, including the 10th Spanish National Congress of Environment in Madrid (November 2010); Sports and Tourism conference, Valencia (May 2010); Sports and Environment Conference organized by the Spanish Olympic Committee, Madrid (May 2010); XIV International Forum on Tourism, Valencia (October 2011); and a European meeting on Nature and Sports, France (October 2011.)
“Leadership by Green Cross on sports and sustainability in Spain has increased national awareness on the issue and prompted intensive research on the links between sport and
open spaces, especially protected areas, such as national and nature parks,” said Alberto Fraguas, executive director of Green Cross Spain.
In Argentina, Green Cross has also made impressive inroads in the area of sports and sustainability. During 2011, the City of Buenos Aires, through its Ministry of Environment and Public Spaces, and Green Cross Argentina launched a joint project to develop a “Sustainable Sports” initiative in the nation’s capital. The project has also won support from the Argentine Olympic Committee.
As part of the joint-project, Green Cross will conduct research and develop strategies to help draft official policies on actions needed to make existing and new institutions, sports centers, recreational parks and green spaces environmentally sustainable.
Green Cross will also help develop activities to reduce the impact sports have on the environment. The project, called The Sustainable Development Programme in the City of Buenos Aires, was launched during a ceremony to recognize Argentinian athletes following the October 2011 Pan-American Games. Efforts are ongoing to expand the project beyond Buenos Aires city in 2012.
At the same event, the Argentine Olympic Committee’s vice president, Alicia Morea, signed up to the related Green Card for Sports in Argentina initiative, which outlines the
philosophy and steps needed to make sports more environmentally sustainable.
Director, Green Cross Value Change Programme

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