Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi. The opinion of Greenpeace

Page - 13 April, 2010
The position of Russian Greenpeace and Russian WWF in view of decision making about holding of winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi.

Caucasian reserve

Russian Greenpeace and Russian WWF welcome the decision of International Olympic Committee (IOC) about holding the Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi city. It means that not only Russian authorities are responsible for ecological security of development of Sochi as mountain-climate resort, but also the IOC. We’re relying on constructive collaboration with Russian functionaries who are responsible for Federal Goal Program realization “the development of Sochi as mountain-climate resort” (FGP) as well as with IOC experts who will track the preparing for the Olympiad on continuing basis. Russian Greenpeace and Russian WWF repeatedly announced that Olympic Games holding must improve the ecological situation but not result in destruction of the most valuable natural complexes in the West Caucasus.  

After the conference with president deputy of Russian Federation Government A.D. Zhukov in February 2007 the Government already took certain steps about dialogue constructing with public nature-conservative organizations. The FGP has passed the independent Ecological examination.  The objects construction on the territories, which especial value was acknowledged by leading Russian scientists, hasn’t started yet.

Nevertheless, up till now our agreements haven’t been confirmed by official decisions. The conditions for near constructing of some objects and infrastructure development at the particularly valuable parcels in Sochi National Park are still preserved, including the State Caucasus Biosphere Reserve buffer zone (a part of World Natural Heritage UNESCO object “West Caucasus”). Thus is until, the Russian Government regulations is still preserved about sites allotment for the objects constructing not being related with the Olympic Games, accepted in January 2007, i.e. before the conference with A.D. Zhukov and FGP ecological examination realization. And what is more, lately the certain officials express ideas about impressments of sites the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve and the Sochi National Park under the pretence of more precise definition of the frontiers.       
The destiny of the World Natural Heritage “West Caucasus” is under rapt attention of the international organizations. The question about it was examined at the World Heritage Committee UNESCO 31 session, held from June 23 to June 2, 2007. The decision is made to send to Caucasus the check-up mission of UNESCO and International Nature Preserve Union experts. If the independent experts consider that the threat for the territories being under the jurisdiction of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage Convention (the Caucasus Reserve and its protective zone) is real as a result of preparing for Olympic Games holding, the question concerning transfer of the “West Caucasus” object in the “World Heritage in danger” list can be decided already at the next session.     
Apart from the fact that it will adversely affect Russia international image, as well as IOC image and all Olympic movement, the former rivals of our application can raise question about place of the Olympiad holding (the precedents of the decision re-examining after the voting have already happened).
The anxiety that changes introduction in the FGP before the voting according the application will notice ably reduce the chance of success, is no more relevant – the application has won. The placement changes of certain objects after the ratification of application for the Olympic Games holding is usual world practice – for instance, during winter games holding in Turin the sledge-bobsleigh line was built in another place but not where it was indicated in the application.       
That’s why now, after the Russian application victory, it’s time to assign officially the agreements achieved before, namely:

1)      It’s necessary for the Russian Federation State Duma in priority order to finish the first reading consideration of the bill about restoration of obligatory state ecological examination of objects in the particularly preserved natural territories.    

2)   For the Russian Federation government it’s necessary to elaborate the alternative variants and to insert corresponding alterations in the FGP, excluding the objects building in the Grushevy mountain range territory, Caucasusu reserve and its protective territories, as well as cascade of hydroelectric power station on the river Mzymta.

3)      For Russian Federation Government to present to the Federal Assembly a new project about ecological examination, which conception is being in consideration stage, at the period of the autumn parliament session and to apply for examining it as soon as possible.

From our direction we’re ready to participate actively in decision these and other questions concerning the ecological security of  city development and the Olympic Games holding.