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UN agencies amass goals ahead of soccer World Cup

UN agencies amass more goals ahead of soccer World Cup

17 May 2006 – It’s a tale of two goals – soccer goals on the field and United Nations social and humanitarian goals around the world, and how the two can meet.

Just a day after the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) enlisted the support of some the world’s top soccer players to promote its agenda at next month’s World Cup in Germany, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) scored another goal today with the adoption of environmental messages contained in a short film to be presented on giant screens before each and every match of the month-long tournament.

“Environmental considerations will take centre stage in this competition for the very first time, with clear and measurable objectives, and we hope that it will leave a lasting legacy,” UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information Director Eric Falt said.

The film, adopted by Green Goal, set up by the German Organizing Committee with UNEP and the German Oeko Institute, ends with the slogan ‘World Champion for the Environment - We are working on it.”

Green Goal, whose stars include German football legend Franz Beckenbauer and former UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer, also put the final touches to the Climate Neutral scheme, which will offset all 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide generated within Germany by transportation, construction and maintenance of the stadia, and the presence of 3.2 million expected spectators.

As part of an environmentally sound transport plan, fans purchasing tickets for the matches in the 12 World Cup venues will be able to use them for free access to local public transportation in a scheme that will cost the World Cup 2006 Organizing Committee some €2 million (euros) but should save large amounts of greenhouse gases by reducing private car use.

Other energy savings schemes centre on the venues themselves. For example, the latest high-tech energy management systems have been installed in the Munich Arena and should realize a 20 per cent reduction in electricity consumption on both and match and non-match days.

With the issue of waste avoidance foremost on their minds, organizers have also introduced the reusable “Cup of the Cup.” Fans will pay a deposit of €1 for the cup which will be the only one sold and used for drinks at the grounds.

“Environmental considerations and impacts, including those that add to climate change, are increasingly being factored into important sporting events,” Mr. Falt said.

Yesterday UNICEF and world’s governing soccer body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), kicked off a campaign that includes a public service announcement featuring some of world’s top players, including UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, to promote the values of peace and tolerance.

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