Rio de Janeiro: The Olympic organising committee in partnership with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) launched a "Green Passport" on Thursday (October 15) to promote eco-tourism throughout the state of Rio de Janeiro during Games-time next year.
The green passport is already up and running. It can be downloaded on the web or through a mobile phone app that suggests routes and sustainable methods to get to know the region in and around the host city.
Suggestions include where to go by foot, bicycle and public transport, local parks and areas of natural beauty, and itineraries to experience local cuisine and culture for the summer 2016 Olympic Games.
One of the routes takes visitors to Pedra Branca State Park, the largest urban park in Brazil and one of the largest in the world, spanning 12,393.84 hectares (30,625.84 acres) that plays a crucial role in the city`s climatic equilibrium.
Another suggested tour encourages visitors to witness the ecological diversity surrounding the Guanabara Bay, the Olympic sailing venue which has come under scrutiny for pollution levels local authorities have not sufficiently reduced.
UNEP launched the green passport campaign to promote sustainable tourism in Brazil in 2008, in partnership with the Ministries of Environment and Tourism, as well as with the French Ministry for the Environment and Sustainable Development.
A special edition green passport was released for the World Cup last year, bringing together 80 eco-friendly routes throughout the 12 host cities throughout Brazil.
The president of the Rio 2016 organising Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, told reporters of his pride to participate in the campaign`s latest edition.
"It is a great honour for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games to have this partnership with UNEP, an organ of the United Nations, where in the recent General Assembly a huge emphasis was placed on sustainability. One of the main pillars of the International Olympic Committee nowadays is sustainability, so for us not only is it very important, but it also gives me great pride to be part of the green passport programme, so we can give lessons to tourists," said Nuzman at the launch on Thursday.
Heads of state from around the world recently outlined measures to protect the environment at the United Nations General Assembly in New York ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.
Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, for example, pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent by 2030. Brazil is currently seventh largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
UNEP`s representative in Brazil, Denise Hamu, told guests attending the launch on Thursday that now is the time for conscious decision-making in order to achieve sustainability.
"Nowadays we have to stop and reflect on what we are consuming, what we want to do, where am I going, and how I am going to get to my destination, not only as an individual, but as a group inhabiting the planet. Only two weeks ago, the United Nations, together with its member states, set out its targets for sustainable development," Hamu said.
As well as tourism advice, the campaign also offers workshops and online lectures for local companies interested in collaborating.
The Olympic leg of the campaign aims to cover topics the movement had not previously dealt with, including child protection and accessibility.
The 2016 Summer Olympics will run in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.