Brisbane, Australia to join UN-Habitat and International Olympic Committee initiative on sports for sustainable urban development

Nudgee Recreation Reserve

Photo Credits: Brisbane City Council

December 12, 2023

The collaboration between UN-Habitat, the International Olympic Committee, and the Brisbane City Council strategically deploys the dynamic influence of sport as a potent accelerator for urgent and sustainable urban development - leaving no one and no place behind.

Brisbane residents will get access to even more sport and active recreational opportunities under a new international partnership, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has revealed.

Cr Schrinner announced Brisbane is one of just five cities globally to be selected to participate in the new ‘Active, Healthy and Inclusive Cities’ program.

The landmark program is a joint initiative of UN-Habitat and the International Olympic Committee.

The program will boost participation in sport, physical activity and active recreation by promoting Olympism, connecting sports communities and investing in infrastructure and facilities.

“Brisbane is renowned as Australia’s lifestyle capital, a sub-tropical destination that embraces the outdoors,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Our extensive network of parks, pools and sports facilities are now training grounds for home-grown champions who will compete in the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Our Council also has a proud record of investing in free and affordable activities and events that help keep people of all ages active and connected to their community.

“Between being a lifestyle capital and a Games host city, Brisbane is the perfect choice for the new Active, Healthy and Inclusive Cities Program.

“Whether it’s educating people about the value of staying active, working with the community to invest in growth sports or ensuring our suburbs have access to open spaces, I look forward to working with the UN and the IOC on ways we can get help make Brisbane residents healthier and happier.”

The Active, Healthy and Inclusive Cities’ program will aim to boost sports and active recreation by:

  • Communication and education on the value of sport, Olympism and active recreation (promote)
  • Engagement workshops connecting local government and the sports community (connect)
  • Spatial mapping of existing sport, physical activity and active recreation facilities and programmes (map)
  • Multi-stakeholder planning to identify, prioritise and plan key actions and activities (plan) 
  • Seed funding and resource mobilisation for infrastructure and programme delivery from diverse sources (invest)
  • Training of service providers and the sports community on mainstreaming sport as a driver of sustainable development in local government service provision, inclusive infrastructure management and equitable programme delivery (build capacity and implement)

Matt Carroll, CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee said, “Congratulations to Brisbane City Council on this magnificent sports facility and parkland area. 

“And further congratulations for Brisbane selected as a pilot project for the “Active, Healthy, Inclusive Cities” partnership between the IOC and UN Habitat. It could not be better showcased.

“AOC has always said “Legacy starts now” when it comes to Brisbane 2032 and this is a great example of a Games legacy come early – a healthy and active Queensland through sport in this wonderful space. 

“We know that Queenslanders and Australians more broadly regard sport and a vibrant sports system as the greatest legacy we can derive from hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Sport delivers such great health outcomes – and when governments can deliver something like this – the Nudgee Recreation Reserve – we know we are on the right track.”

UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Michal Mlynár said the partnership with the International Olympic Committee and Council demonstrates how collaboration and sport can influence inclusive and sustainable urban development.

“As we proudly unveil our collaboration with Brisbane as an early adopter city, this collaboration not only underscores the significance of sport as a catalyst for sustainable urban development but also illustrates the exponential impact that can be achieved when every segment of society actively participates,” Mr Mlynár said.

James Macleod, Director of Olympic Solidarity, National Olympic Committee Relations and Olympism365 at the International Olympic Committee said, “Brisbane's position as one of the first cities in the International Olympic Committee and United Nations-Habitat ‘Active, Healthy, Inclusive Cities’ initiative is recognition of the city’s commitment to using sport as a catalyst for creating vibrant and accessible urban environments.” 

“Brisbane will serve as a model for other cities around the world in promoting physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and inclusive communities, showcasing the transformative role sport can play in sustainable urban development. This partnership aligns perfectly with our vision for Brisbane 2032 as a Games that will help address the needs of the growing Queensland population and commitment to engage the positive impact of sport in cities across the globe.