#ENGSOGA2017: Day 1
The 9th of June was the first day of our General Assembly and we called it „Seminar day”. The reason behind is that there were two different kinds of seminars held that day in the headquarters of the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) in Paris. After the warm welcome speeches of Mr. Denis Masseglia, the President of our host, CNOSF and Mr. Carlos Cardoso, President of ENGSO, we spent the morning with some learnings about sport policy updates on the European level.
Firstly, Mr. Yves Le Lostecque, the Head of the Sport Unit at the European Commission took the floor to give us some information on the newly published EU Work Plan on sport and their funding opportunities. Needless to say that Mr. Le Lostecque received a lot of questions afterwards about policy priorities and practicalities in project applications.
He was followed by Mr. Frédéric Sanaur, the new Chair of the Governing Board of EPAS, the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport of the Council of Europe. He drew attention to the long-standing co-operation that EPAS and ENGSO has, and gave concrete examples of this mutually beneficial partnership.
After these two presentations full of important information ENGSO Youth took the floor to shake up the participants. After their small energiser we sat back into our chairs to listen to some more updates on EU-level work in grassroots sport. Mr. Mikkel Larsen and Mr. Leigh Thompson presented the work priorities of our EU Advisory Committee. Among the key objectives they mentioned the regular engagement with relevant stakeholders to promote ENGSO’s view on further reforms on Erasmus+. The impressive presentation was applauded by the audience, and former ENGSO President, Ms. Birgitta Kervinen emphasised the importance of the work of the Advisory Committee in the Q&A session.
As the last programme point of the EU Seminar, ENGSO Youth organised a panel discussion on the role of youth in shaping the legacy in sports. The impressive panel was diverse, having had representatives of UNESCO, the European Commission, the Education Commission of IOC, ANESTAPS, the European Youth Forum and ENGSO Youth. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Andrej Pisl from the European University Sports Association (EUSA). Mr. Pisl, wearing a sport jersey and having a whistle in case he needed to keep the time, made excellent connections between the different examples of the speakers on how their organisation involves youth to shape the legacy in sports. One of the examples was the Pink Paper, a set of recommendations that was written by the young participants of the European Youth Sport Forum earlier this year. The event was co-organised by ENGSO Youth, and its legacy is being kept: the recommendations were handed over to Mr. Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for sport last month. Apart from the Pink Paper, we heard good practices of involving youth in legacy-building in sport on regional, national and international levels.
After the eventful morning we had a well-deserved lunch break when we continued the discussions. Once the lunch break was over, we continued the programme with the „Legacy of Olympic Games to Grassroots Sport” seminar. As a start, we listened to Ms. Elizabeth McMahon’s excellent keynote speech on the legacy of London2012 to grassroots sport. Ms. McMahon is an authentic person to talk about this topic as she was the Non-Executive Director on the Olympic Park Legacy Company/the London Legacy Development Corporation. She said that one key element to the London2012 bid was that it was the first one in Olympic history which contained legacy. She recommended this approach to Paris2024 as she believes that it played a huge part in the success of the bid. She shared with us some really impressive figures on the legacy, for instance that 3400 school children swim at the Aquatic Centre weekly and that their “Active People, Active Park” programme provides 170,000 free sporting opportunities reaching 86,000 people since 2014. After getting some inspiration by these numbers, the participants have split into three workshops to discuss some specific elements of Olympic legacy in details.
One workshop was about facilities and environment and was seeking solutions on how the Olympics could be used to create sustainable facilities and protect the environment. The workshop had an interesting presentation by Mr. Jerôme Lachaze, Head of Sustainability at the Olympic Bid Committee of Paris2024 and Mr. Matthieu Joubert, Project officer on sustainability and outdoor sports at CNOSF. After the gentlemen introduced their ideas and projects, the discussion opened on the topic.
The focus of another workshop was on the people, more specifically the encouragement of volunteering, youth participation and civil involvement as an outcome of the Olympics. Ms. Susanna Rahkamo, the Vice President of the Finnish Olympic Committee and Ms. Clémence Coudert, Project officer on diversity of practices at CNOSF talked about their practices and then different regional and national examples were shared by the participants from Turkey, Serbia, Germany and the UK among others.
The third workshop concentrated on participation in grassroots sport and social inclusion and how the Olympics could be a catalyst to promote them. Mr. John Petersson, President of the European Paralympic Committee gave the participants some insights of their work, while Ms. Fanny Donnarel, Project officer on impact and legacy of Paris2024 and Mr. Quentin Moreno, Regional Director of the “Sport dans la Ville” Association shared their examples with the participants as well. Then, as in the other two workshops, really interesting discussion unfolded among the participants.
After exchanging thoughts in the workshops, the participants got to know the key findings of each group, as they were summed up by rapporteurs. Ms. Orsolya Tolnay pointed out the importance in awareness-raising and education on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN to help people understand why we need to live and practice sports in an environment-conscious way. She also stressed out the importance of research in the field that actually shows how sport can contribute to reach the SDGs and the goals of the Paris Agreement. Mr. Michael Leyendecker, rapporteur of the second workshop talked about the importance of building up structures in advance to get people involved in major events. He also stressed out that the Olympics could be and should be used as educational platforms for the youth and that new technology could be helpful in keeping them involved. Ms. Filipa Godinho summed up the key messages of the third workshop, including the importance of considering sport as a bridge for social inclusion and social awareness; of communicating appropriately and in an engaging way about Olympics while celebrating differences; and of collecting data and demonstrate impact in a long-term perspective.
After this day of hard work the participants took part in a unique gala dinner at the Restaurant of the hippodrome de Vincennes, where 1 255 horse races occur every year. The participants enjoyed excellent food and wine while were betting and cheering on their favourites, which have often been picked by their names. The evening was a perfect ending to an exhausting day, and finished right on time to let all participants have a good night of sleep before the second day of the General Assembly.