At a tree-planting ceremony in Hungary on Saturday, 11 November, Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) stated that the Budapest World Athletics Championships in August left a positive environmental and social legacy.
The President of the International Association of Athletics Federations was speaking at the Farkaserdő park in Újpest, where he and others planted the first sapling for a legacy forest of 2023 trees. Sebastian Coe was joined by Gábor Schmidt, the Deputy State Secretary responsible for sports management and development, and Gábor Reinitz, the CEO of Pilisi Parkerdő, as reported by the organizers of the World Championships.
Gábor Schmidt expressed pride in the fact that the Budapest World Championships were
the first athletics event to operate in line with the International Association of Athletics Federations’ sustainability strategy.
Reinitz explained that organizers had examined the impact of climate change on forests and were shocked by the severe damage it had caused to Budapest’s woodlands. This is why he considers the preservation and renewal of the city’s forests to be of utmost importance, a goal supported by this programme. Jon Ridgeon, the CEO of the IAAF, and Balázs Németh, the CEO of Budapest 2023 Ltd., the company organizing the World Championships, were also present at the event.
In their statement, the organizers emphasized that a primary goal was to encourage the Hungarian people to lead a more active and healthier lifestyles as part of the legacy of the Budapest World Championships. To achieve this, newly developed urban green areas will be made available. The development of the National Athletics Centre (NAK) will result in
a new park that the public can use for recreational purposes after the World Championships.
Additionally, as part of the sustainability programme for the championships, more areas in Budapest will become greener. The first such urban forest development took place on 8 May in the Újtelepi Parkerdő in Pesterzsébet, where 40 trees were planted in honour of the fact that the International Association of Athletics Federations organized its first outdoor World Championships 40 years ago in 1983.
The second phase of tree planting will occur during this year’s autumn planting season, when 2023 saplings will be planted in the Farkaserdő in Újpest, managed by Pilisi Parkerdő. This initiative contributes to allowing residents from nearby housing estates to spend their leisure time in a greener and healthier environment.