Sports for a sustainable future

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BİLGİ Sports Management Department and The Research Centre for the Environment, Energy and Sustainability have organized a panel and round-table meeting in collaboration with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Turkey within the scope of World Sports Day for Development and Peace.

UNDP Turkey Communications Coordinator Faik Uyanık, European champion national athlete Ferhat Arıcan, Journalist Banu Yelkovan, BİLGİ Sports Management Department Head Dr. İlknur Hacısoftaoğlu,  and BİLGİ Media Department Faculty Member Assoc. Prof. Itır Erhart took part in the panel named "Sport for Sustainable Development Goals" as speakers. After the first panel, the "Sports and Sustainability" roundtable meeting was held with the cooperation of BİLGİ Sports Management Department and ÇESUAM and was moderated by BİLGİ Media Department Faculty Member Assoc. Prof. Itır Erhart. At the roundtable meeting, Yavuz Ölken, the CEO of Axa Insurance, Şule Serter from Aktif Yaşam Association and Kıvanç Ergun, President of Adım Adım Association held the floor.

Peace and development goals can be achieved through sport

Faik Uyanık, the Communications Coordinator of UNDP Turkey, stressed the importance of dialogue that sports create in the international arena. "The pandemic negatively affected all areas of sport. But even during this period, the United Nations (UN) conducted many studies to show the transformative power and unique potential of sports. In the report called ‘Recovering Better: Sport for Development and Peace’, Antonio Gueterres, UN Secretary General emphasized that sport is an economic and flexible tool for development and peace, it opens up space for gender equality, promotes social inclusiveness, and is effective in combating discrimination against vulnerable groups,” Uyanık said.

"When the world turns into an uninhabitable place, it will be meaningless"

Ferhat Arıcan, European champion national athlete, stated that the global disasters experienced made it necessary to take steps regarding the climate crisis. “Sports is a very important and effective tool to draw attention to social issues. It has a transformative and unifying effect on societies. When I became the European champion, I wanted to give a message by lifting my can, not my cup. For me, raising awareness of social issues is much more valuable than a medal. When the world turns into an uninhabitable place, our dreams will be meaningless. Therefore, it is very valuable to reduce our waste, save water and energy, and protect green areas without saying what I can do on my own,” Arıcan stated.

We need athletes who should be role models

Journalist Banu Yelkovan spoke as follows: "The 2024 Summer Olympics will be held in Paris. Considering these Olympics, Paris has set its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent. The reason for this is that even the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the earth in just one Olympic game is 3.4 million tons. In this sense, I think that there have been positive transformations recently and athletes and role models such as Ferhat Arıcan have greatly contributed to this.”

Sports, should be considered together with health and sustainability

Yavuz Ölken, CEO of Axa Insurance held the floor at the round table meeting and stated as follows: “Our profession is based on examining what is valuable for human beings. Accordingly, I would like to share the headlines in our Future Risks Report, which we regularly share the results of. These headlines are global warming and crisis, socioeconomic risks depending on the conjuncture, terrorism and cyber risks. Pandemics and diseases were always in the last place in the previous years. However, the apparent climate change alone is a risk. Climate change is related to many risks, from biodiversity loss to epidemics. In this context, individual efforts are also important.” 

Touching on life after the pandemic, “We will face the health problems we postponed after Covid-19. Approximately 18 to 20 million people die each year due to heart disease and the other diseases in the world. This figure is equivalent to the crash of a 250-person plane every 7 minutes. The general cause of these diseases is inactivity. Sports, health, and sustainability should be considered together," Ölken said.

 For the video recording of the panel in Turkish click here. 

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