Winter Games Not Possible In The Ukrainian Carpathians, International Olympic Committee Says
Lack of infrastructure and the impact on protected areas are not in line with the IOC's sustainability requirements – Environmental NGOs score major victory in bid to protect the Carpathians from controversial huge ski resorts
(LAUSANNE/KIEV) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is pouring cold water on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's plans to hold Olympic Winter Games in the country. According to the IOC's Jacqueline Barrett, Director, Future Olympic Games Hosts, sustainability is a key requirement in shaping Olympic projects from the very beginning. As part of the IOC's new sustainability standards, "no permanent construction can take place in protected areas" and potential hosts are required to make "maximum use of existing and temporary venues".
The IOC's new standards effectively halt President Volodymyr Zelensky's plans to hold Olympic Winter Games in the Carpathians where such plans had been used to justify controversial huge resort projects in Transcarpathia. Referring to a recent visit by IOC Executive Director Thomas Bach to Ukraine, the IOC downplayed the talks held as "non-committal" informal discussions.
"The IOC's clear stance is a major victory for all of us who wish a truly sustainable regional development in Transcarapthia", said Oreste del Sol of the Free Svydovets movement, a group of Ukrainian environmental activists. "We are now calling on President Zelensky to definitively abandon the plans to build ski resorts in Svydovets and Borzhava which would have a catastrophic impact on the ecosystem."
Transcarpathia is home to some of Europe's last primeval forests, part of which are protected under UNESCO's World Heritage programme.