Remarks by the UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Patrice Coeur-Bizot at the media launch of “Low Carbon Campaign for XIX Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi”

Jul 29, 2010

New Delhi, 29 July 2010 - For many years UNDP has been supporting the Indian government in its initiatives to address climate change and its potential impact on poverty and development. Raising awareness on climate change and environmental protection is an important part of our work. In this regard, UNDP is happy to partner with the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee to promote awareness related to low carbon practices using this biggest sporting event ever in India - the XIX Commonwealth Games - as a medium.

Like the Government of India, UNDP recognizes Climate change as a major development challenge. India cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without addressing the risks of climate change and climate change risks cannot be mitigated without achieving the MDGs. Climate change affects all of us, all countries, all states and all sections of the society, and at UNDP we will use all opportunities to learn how to move to a climate resilient and low-carbon growth and development path. The Delhi CWG present a unique opportunity to reach millions of people with these important messages about the future of our globe and our wellbeing.

UNDP support to this partnership is expected to reach a wide section of India society, including athletes, officials, spectators, as well as citizens, including youth and children, to understand the nuances of climate change and how an individual’s carbon footprint adds to the overall problem, and how an individual’s actions can help reduce the problem. In this regard, we are organizing a range of activities along the Queen’s Baton Route, across the country, and specifically in the National Capital Region. Activities include: plantations along the QBR, Green Concerts combining entertainment with climate relevant messages, TV and radio messages, and carbon fairs to spread awareness among citizens. Carbon kiosks will also be set up at different locations for anybody interested to calculate her or his carbon footprints and pledge actions to reduce it.

Interestingly the greening of the games is expected to lead to a reduction of 34 per cent of carbon dioxide that would otherwise have been released. The UNDP project directly supports extensive plantation along the Queen’s Baton Route and in the National Capital Region. In addition, the Games Organizing Committee has utilized solar energy to light up the Games Village and several stadia.

Our partnership with the CWG Organizing Committee does not stand on its own. UNDP in partnership with the Global Environment Fund (GEF) has already supported sporting events in several other countries such as the China Olympics and the South Africa Football World Cup, all to spread the message of low carbon growth. This project, however, goes two steps further. Firstly, it includes a concerted nationwide campaign to inculcate behavioral change among individuals, among whom will also be captains of industry and managers of infrastructure; and secondly; it will result in “Sports Events Greening Manual” that can be used for any future sporting event within and outside the country.

Credit goes to the Organizing Committee for recognizing the importance of greening these Games and for using it to draw attention to the threat of climate change and how it can be mitigated. I invite all of you to join hands with us in spreading the message of a low carbon lifestyle. I hope to see all of you at the first Green Concert being organized under this project in Kolkata on Saturday 31 July.