Speech of the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Honourable Mr FA Mbalula (MP), on the occasion of the Sport, Environment and Climate Change Seminar, Zimbali Resort, Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, Republic of South Africa
24 Nov 2011
Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr G. Oostuizen
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize
MEC of Sport and Recreation in KZN, Ms Ntombikayise Sibhidla
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board Member, Dr Sam Ramsamy
President of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Mr Gideon Sam
Director General: Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), Mr A Moemi
All the invited Presenters present here this morning
Ladies and Gentlemen
Since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1995, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been meeting annually to assess progress in dealing with issues related to Climate Change. Not only the COP, but also many organisations including governments, civil society, business and labour have been meeting since to tackle the impact of Climate Change to human existence.
For an example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Kampala, Uganda whose findings were published in 2011 has observed that:
“It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st Century on the global scale and that it is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe; by the end of the century, if greenhouse emissions continue unabated, the type of heat wave that now occurs once every 20 years will be occurring every couple of years across large areas of the planet; human vulnerability to them is growing as well”.
Hence in 1992, the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change acknowledged that climate change is the threat to human existence and its adverse effects are a common concern to humankind and that the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all humanity and countries; and further call for their selfless participation in an effective and appropriate international response to this change.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here to respond to that call which was made by the Conference of Parties in 1992 and became in force in 1995 which South Africa will be hosting its COP17 gathering on 28 November 2011.
We are therefore called upon as sport and recreation fraternity to make our humble contribution into the debates and discussions on the role sport and recreation can play into the struggle against rapid and dangerous climate change and the environmental impact of our activities which lead towards abnormal climate changes.
Hence the upcoming UNFCC Conference of Parties 17 provides an opportunity for sport and recreation movement in the Republic of South Africa to enter into a global discourse on initiatives that we have engaged contributing to the Climate Change debate and dialogue, including projects and activities as well as awareness and education.
To this instance, it is important for the sport and recreation movement to accept that to make sport and recreation accessible to all in the Republic and that South Africa should be one of the chosen destinations for sports meetings and world cups and championships; equipment and infrastructure are necessary for the practice of sport and physical activity.
The construction of these facilities has inevitably had an impact on the environment and ecosystem of the country and the world. It is true that the practice of sport and recreational activities including physical activity carries certain effects and has a certain impact on the environment and ecosystems, that its effect and nature is circumstantial depending on the type of recreational and physical activity and sport practiced.
It is fundamentally true that organised sporting events, whatever their scope and scale, also have ramifications on the environment and ecosystems. Role players in sport and recreation are aware that these aspects have an impact on nature, the environment, and ecosystems. However, it should be also known that sport and recreation as well as physical education can serve to promote environmental protection and awareness.
Sport and Recreation can go a long way to mobilise society from their organized and unorganised formations to respond positively into the climate change. To this end, athletes, spectators, fans and the broader community of sport and recreation can be mobilised to take action and demonstrate certain actions and methods to promote best practices towards sustainable development.
The case in point here is the 2010 FIFA World Cup project. The Local Organizing Committee committed itself to conduct an environment impact study of the construction of the stadia before applying to the FIFA executive committee to host the 2010 FIFA world cup.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) kept to its promise to do as such to protect the environment and the people living in and around that environment. The LOC also mobilised the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to assist in the cause to act on diverse strategies, including awareness raising on the part of the event organisers FIFA and LOC as well as on consultation mechanisms on the sport movement level, on political level and the communities in general.
This places the education dimension and consultation on the impact of sport towards climate change at the center of the debate of sport and climate change. This places our sport and sport movement at the forefront of its actions for sport and environment.
Ladies and Gentlemen, sport is ideal for developing attitudes and values such as solidarity, mutual support and mutual respect and respect and care for others. Sport has a potential to be an instrument to educate everyone and offer an opportunity to benefit from education and awareness to learn the values, behaviour and lifestyle that are not hostile to a sustainable future and environment; and for positive societal transformation.
We need to put a strong emphasis on sustainable active living and integrate it in our vision for an active and winning nation. This action will enable us to answer many questions of our ability to integrate sustainable development with sport, recreation and physical activity.This action is embedded within our strategy of healthy lifestyle and how do we deal with a healthy, which somehow must ensure appropriate access to sports and recreation in compliance with human rights and human solidarity.
We must join hands with the peoples of the world to answer three basic questions:
·How do we introduce and explore the relationships between the promotion of quality sport, recreation and physical activity in line with the pursuit of sustainable development.
·How do we in our conversations in sport and recreation circles answer questions related to whether and where may be a need to integrate sport, recreation and physical education with the pursuit of protecting the environment in order to achieve healthier individuals in a healthier society and healthier environment based on our vision of an active and healthy nation.
·Lastly, what are our general guidelines, strategies and protocols and specific steps for moving forward our goals of better life for all with a special reference to better physical education, sport and recreation in a mutually supportive action.
We must answer these questions to re-enforce resolutions taken in the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development and the Olympic Movement in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 19 years ago. These resolutions will help us to make a case for sport and recreation in the upcoming COP17 Conference and fully prepare for the June 2012 Rio plus 20 Earth Summit.
In the 1992 Earth Summit the sport movement across the globe committed itself to integrate the environment into its activities and to develop the Agenda 21 for the Olympic Movement and to explore various methods towards the protection of the environment and promote best methods for sustainable development.
We also committed ourselves to further explore various methods of engaging young people in environment education, challenges faced by sports people in a world of rapid climate change and teach youth in sustainable development issues beyond the Youth Olympic Games – seeking opportunities to work with other partners, in particular UN entities, to promote Olympic ideals through our own engagement processes, seminars and conferences.
That is why Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) has assembled this contingent this morning to share ideas and opinions on what needs to be done; what is our contribution into climate change and take stock on what we have done to promote clean environment, sustainable development and devise strategies to counter-act negative effects of climate change.
Issued by: Sport and Recreation South Africa
24 Nov 2011
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