Title: G-ForSE 2004 in Lahore. Pakistan
Organized by: G-ForSE 2004 Executive Committee
Co-organized by: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), NPO Global Sports Alliance (GSA)
Time: 25 –26 November 2004
Place: Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore
The Hon Lt. Gen. Khalid Maqbool, Governor of Punjab, headed up an array of international and local guests representing government, the sporting goods industry, the United Nations, athletes and NPOs that were invited to speak at the opening session of G-ForSE 2004 in Lahore, Pakistan on 25th November 2005.
Tatsuo Okada, Executive Director, Global Sports Alliance, Japan
In his welcome speech, Dr. Okada congratulated the Executive Committee on bringing the forum together. Explaining the history of G-ForSE he paid special attention to the importance that the Lahore-Sialkot area plays in the sporting goods industry.
Dr. Okada outlined the three main objectives behind the Global Forum; firstly as a database on environmental action through sports (www.g-forse.com), secondly as a platform to bring together all those involved in sports to understand the importance of the environment and affirm their roles in tackling environmental problems, and finally to provide business opportunities for those that develop sports activities while considering the environment.
“As you know environmental problems are the biggest problem that we face in the 21st Century. In order to solve them…we must understand that we are just a part of the natural ecosystem and only through our daily action and the actions of society and the business community as a whole, can a solution be realized. As we celebrate the first year of the “Decade of Education for Sustainable Development” next year, I hope that the actions and proposal put forward by the world of sports at this Forum will be a major step towards realizing this kind of society.” Tatsuo Okada said.
Finally Dr. Okada announced that the outcome of the Forum would be presented at the Sports Summit for the Environment (SSE) to be held during the Aichi Expo in 2005.
Mr. Onder Yucer, UNDP Pakistan
Hoping that the global forum will encourage the development of innovative and novel ways to integrate sports and sustainable development, the UN representative outlined the positive aspects of sports but also the potential environmental impact that sports can have, albeit less than other factors such as forestry, industry and transport.
“ The aim should be for the representatives of sport and those promoting nature conservation and protection to join forces and draw up workable guidelines for sustainable development in sport…For Pakistani goods to be competitive in the global market place they must be cost effective and be backed by a strong marketing strategy. In addition…they must abide by environmental conventions and legislation. ” Mr. Yucer said.
He emphasized the importance of education in organized and non-organized sports and promised to engage in dialogue with clubs and organizations next year, the International Year of Sports and Physical Education, to encourage the development of sustainable sports in the country.
Eric Falt, Director of Communications, UNEP
Eric Falt pointed out the growing realization within the UN that sports and the sports industry have a major role to play in promoting the UN goals of a common future of peace dignity and prosperity.
He insisted that sport is now firmly on the sustainable development agenda-understandable when one considers that globally, sport related turnover amounts to 3-percent of world total economic activity. Every area of sports has an impact on the environmental and the sports industry must join the growing trend of including a company’s environmental impact into a business’ non-financial reporting.
“ The choice to look beyond the financial bottom line and exercise social and environmental responsibility is one that can be made by everyone involved in sports. In Lahore and in Sialkot I know that our friends in the sporting goods industry are concerned about their competitive advantage. They have courageously tackled difficult issues and they want to be seem now as the avant garde of progress. The environment is one of the first issues on their agenda.”
Mr Falt emphasizes the importance of partnerships, of which G-ForSE is an example, and pointed to the progress already made with organizations such as the IOC-making the environment one of pillars of Olympism. This is reflected in the inclusion of environmental issues in current Olympic games and upcoming bids.
“At this stage companies are increasingly embracing the principles of environmental sustainability in their planning and reporting. We’ve now gone beyond the “why” and are looking at the “how”. How do we ensure that environmental commitment is not just a public relations exercise? How do we incorporate environmental care into all our planning processes, taking into account the full lifecycle of a product, and the total environmental footprint of an event? How do we generate less waste and consume less resources? These questions need to become second nature in the same way that “how can we cut cost” and “ how can we maximize profits” already are.” Mr. Falt stated.
Lt. Gen. Syed Arif Hasan-Chairman, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA)
The Chairman of the POA outlined the Olympics’ association with environmental sustainability since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The Olympic Charter was modified in 1996 to include an extensive reference to the environment and the environment was included as the third dimension of the Olympic Movement alongside sports and culture.
The POA is supporting this initiative, claimed Lt. Gen. Hasan. In 2005, he promised the POA will be doing its bit with the assistance of organizations such as UNEP and pointed to the measures such as facility construction and waste management that were already included in the recently completed South Asian Federation Games.
“ Most of other (environmental) measures have been taken by the POA, and I assure you that in the future, with the assistance of this particular Forum and the United Nations, we will do our utmost to promote this particular cause.” Mr. Hasan said.
Imran Khan, International Sports Personality
Imran Khan addressed the issue of what sportspeople in Pakistan can do to increase awareness and action through sport. As an example, Imran referred to a project he led 14 years ago to build the nation’s first cancer hospital. Initial resistance to the scheme that wanted to offer free health care to sufferers, was overcome by utilizing the nation’s youth in a fundraising and awareness raising effort. In a 6-week campaign they not only raised funds, but by utilizing the children they raised enough awareness to not only complete the hospital but make sure the nation understood the current lack of such facilities and need to fund them.
Mr. Khan concluded by saying, “If the cricket stars, who are probably the biggest name in Pakistan, can be used for promoting environmental causes, especially the children that should today be aware that their future depends on the environment, in my opinion we can do what the government can’t do and I think that sports companies can help in this way by sponsoring sportsmen not only to advertise their products but also to saving their own future. ”
M. Farrukh Irfan Khan, Chairman of the Forum
As a businessman in the sporting goods industry, as Chairman of the Forum and as a Lahori, Farrukh Irfan Khan has a major stake in the issue of sports and the environment.
He pointed to a number of issues, such as child labor, that have affected Pakistan’s ability to do business. The child labor issue was dealt with expediently and thoroughly by the Sialkot community, but for some time the issue affected exports. As a major sporting goods exporter, the environmental issue is one that is coming to the forefront and, according to Mr. Irfan Khan, Pakistan should be a leader in taking the initiative in tackling this issue.
“ The industry needs to be educated and partnerships formed with the international community. The G-ForSE Forum is the first step towards securing a healthy environment for our future generations and ensuring a healthy economic future for the country. “ He said.
Hon Lt. Gen. Khalid Maqbool, the Governor of Punjab
The Hon Lt. Gen. Khalid Maqbool focused on Lahore and Pakistan’s long sporting tradition, especially in cricket, squash and hockey-and its fine tradition in the sporting goods industry based in Sialkot, which has grown into a billion dollar export industry. He also pointed out that the problems of sports and the environment differed in Pakistan to other areas.
Their environmental problems are not that of Real Madrid or Manchester United that have facilities that attract many thousands of people, but are problems of having insufficient facilities for the nation’s youth to play sports. For this reason, they have thus far paid less attention to the environment, rather concentrating on social services. However, with the rivers polluted and water no longer drinkable, now is the time to realize we can no longer put it off. Clean water and sanitation are now becoming a firm commitment of the government, he said. Such measures not only preserve the environment, but ensure the economic future of the country. Environmental education is also important, the Governor pointed out, and the government is pursing environmental education through universities so that they can not only teach about awareness but have environmental engineering managers that can handle environmental needs.
“ The government will be seriously be looking at the [Forum’s] recommendations, and be committed to implement its recommendation to improve the environment which we believe is our common heritage- not only of Pakistan but the world.“ He stated.
For more information on G-ForSE 2004 in Lahore, contact @gsa.or.jp info