On 26 January, EuropeActive participated as an observer in the seventh meeting of the European Commission Expert Group on Green Sport. The group is composed of EU Member State experts and representatives of the European sport movement who are working together to draft a common framework for sustainable sport, with recommendations in the areas of sport infrastructure, events, good practices, innovative solutions, and the sport movement’s contribution to the European Climate Pact.
First, the external editorial consultants recently hired by the European Commission to finalise the editorial work were introduced: KEA European Affairs, an international policy design research centre specialised in culture and sport since 1999. Their team composed of Arthur Le Gall, Director, Marto Lazaro and Apolline Terrier, senior consultants, and Simon Lewis, collaborator, director at Team Planet and green sport expert, presented their first observations on the content of the different chapters of the framework for sustainable sport, stimulating a fruitful discussion on the scope and audience of the future recommendations, which should be finalised for the end of June 2023.
The meeting continued with some interesting presentations on environmentally sustainable sport practices across Europe. First, Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu, Sectors Engagement Lead at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, updated the group on the lessons learned from the sports for climate action framework’s reporting process in 2022. Sander van Stiphout, Director International of the Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam gave an overview of the approach and achievements of this multifunctional venue in the field of sustainability. Solène Gautron, Policy officer at the New European Bauhaus unit of the European Commission then presented this new initiative meant to connect the European Green Deal to the Europeans’ daily lives and living spaces, and more specifically how it could help building a more sustainable sports sector.
In the afternoon, the meeting resumed with a brief overview of the achievements of the Czech Presidency in the field of green sport by Tomáš Fíbek, Senior Officer at the Czech National Sports Agency, followed by a similar brief on the sport priorities of the Swedish Presidency by Tobias Olafsson, Attaché and Vice-Chair of the Sport Working Party.
Solène Charuau, Head of Sport and Sustainable Development unit of the French Ministry of Sport then updated the group on the implementation of their low-carbon and efficient waste reduction strategy for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. Finally, Paschalina Magniti, Head of sports facilities maintenance and management of the Cyprus sport organisation introduced the recent “guide to environmentally responsible sport events” which they developed.
The meeting ended with an update from the European Commission on key dates for the sports sector in 2023. The next meeting of the Expert Group on Green Sport will take place in March 2023.