UNECE and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of showing how football and hosting UEFA events can support cities to become more sustainable.
To celebrate the agreement, a side event entitled ‘Football as accelerator of change’ featuring keynote speeches from UNECE, UEFA, the city of Copenhagen took place at the Palais de Nations in Geneva, as part of the wider UNECE Forum of Mayors.
Amongst those to also speak were the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, whose city hosted matches at UEFA EURO 2020 last summer and UEFA’s chief of women’s football, Nadine Kessler, who spoke about her experiences as a former player, to transitioning into a second career in footballing governance and inspiring more girls to take up the sport.
“Unlike any other sport, football has the ability to unite, and we want to work together, with UEFA, to use the power of football in order to have a positive impact on important global issues, such as environmental sustainability and social responsibility,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova.
“Complex sustainability issues can only be addressed and solved if we work in close collaboration with a diverse range of stakeholders. Football is played and followed by millions of people, especially youngsters, and our actions can have an enormous impact on society.”
Michele Uva, UEFA’s director of football social responsibility said: “Football events are an accelerator of change that can contribute to sustainable development in society and support host cities in reaching smart goals. UEFA looks forward to helping to build further bridges between football, cities and communities, guided by the belief that sustainability is at the core of the success of civil society and future generations.”
The UNECE is the United Nations Economic commission for Europe, which includes 56 United Nations member States and aims to promote pan-European economic integration. The aims of the cooperation will also look to promote smart and sustainable city goals, while also facilitating knowledge exchanges and promoting safe and sustainable mobility in urban areas.
The memorandum will also aim to ensure that investment into events from partners and hosts contributes to cities becoming more sustainable.
“By working alongside the UNECE, we have a strong partner to make sure our efforts move in the right direction, while also staying informed and understanding the current challenges faced by the cities – so our events become part of the solution.”