21 April 2008
The Norwegian government has pledged R1.2-million to help Johannesburg host a “green” 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement on Thursday at the Soccer City stadium, South Africa’s flagship 2010 venue.
Stoltenberg said the money would be used to plant trees and consequently counteract carbon emissions in the city. “We are proud to be able to work together with you and make this championship in South Africa as ‘green’ and as environmentally friendly as possible.”
The executive director of the City’s 2010 unit, Sibongile Mazibuko, said the World Cup would bring large numbers of visitors to Johannesburg. “An increase in travel – both by air and road – as well as rising levels of consumption will have an impact on Johannesburg’s carbon footprint.
“Through innovation and creative planning we can introduce carbon offset measures [like planting trees] to mitigate the impact of the event on our environment,” Mazibuko said. “Norway has been among the global leaders in research in this field, and we welcome its contribution to this initiative.”
Norway’s ambassador to South Africa, Tor Christian Hildan, said his government had also committed R750 000 for a feasibility study of a carbon offsetting programme in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
The Norwegian embassy had held meetings with the department to explore initiatives to make the World Cup as environmentally friendly as possible.
“Our intention is to build partnerships and contribute to the goal of scoring ‘green’ in 2010,” Hildan said. “A decision was taken that the most relevant area of support would be carbon offsetting of the event to ensure that the ‘carbon footprint’ of 2010 is as low as possible.”
Hildan added that his government was willing to commit an additional R12-millon to implement measures that would mitigate the carbon footprint of 2010
Also speaking at the announcement, the member of Johannesburg’s mayoral committee for the environment, Prema Naidoo, said that the city was busy planting trees, mainly in previously disadvantaged areas. It was confident it would achieve its target of planting 200 000 trees by 2010.
“The city is involved in various ‘greening’ projects, including the rehabilitation of the Kliprivier-Klipspruit catchment area in Soweto,” Naidoo said. “These projects are all about the creation of green ways and open spaces for people’s enjoyment.”
On the day, Stoltenberg viewed the construction of the 94 700-seat Soccer City stadium, where he congratulated South Africa and Johannesburg in particular for the progress being made in building an “impressive stadium”.
Source: City of Johannesburg