Lausanne, Switzerland – October 30th, 2020 – Held 100% virtually, the 7th edition of the Smart Cities & Sport Summit provided participants from all over the world with an opportunity to learn, share and connect, a rare opportunity during a global pandemic. The central theme of this year’s gathering was: sport as a way to contribute to sustainable development within a post-COVID-19 landscape.
The annual Smart Cities & Sport event took place from October 27th-28th and was, in light of COVID-19 and taking into account health considerations, held 100% virtually for the first time. Produced and broadcast in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne, the content was made freely accessible to cities, International Federations (IFs) and International Organisations (IOs) from all around the world.
In this way, Smart Cities & Sport turned the challenge of restricted mobility into an opportunity, engaging a larger global audience than ever before. Over 500 participants attended the live sessions in the virtual conference room, exchanged with IFs in the virtual exhibition booths and connected with one another in the virtual Smart Cities & Sport Networking Lounge.
This year’s theme focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework and the many ways in which sport can be cultivated and used as leverage by cities in to realise these goals. Nine SDG topics were given particular attention: Building partnerships for achieving the goals, peace, sustainable cities & communities, quality education, innovation, economic growth, gender equality, climate action and good health and well-being.
One question was central throughout the event: how to re-think and re-build better and more sustainable societies through sport?
For example, fascinating contributions by Jason Siegel (Greater Orlando Sports Commission), Amina Lanaya (Union Cycliste Internationale), Aziyadée Poltier (United Nations) or Jojo Ferris (Olympic Refuge Foundation) tackled the above questions on Day 1 of the Summit Day, providing interesting insights into their day-to-day work.
On Day 2 of the Summit, the focus shifted towards sustainability and the legacy of sports and the importance of physical activity during confinement. Guest speakers such as Fiona Bull (WHO), Dan Reading (World Sailing), Georgina Grenon (Paris 2024) or Annette Knott (Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Committee) highlighted both the current challenges and opportunities relating to their work while at the same time, working to build a bridge to the UN SDGs.
Another highlight of Day 2 was the popular Smart Cities & Sport ‘Toolbox Session’, which enabled organisations to briefly present their most promising projects. This year, Innovation Norway, Quebec City Business Destination, Edmonton Events, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 and Bejing BODA took the virtual stage for five minutes each.
With a group of fascinating speakers and two inspiring Summit days, the Smart Cities & Sport Summit 2020 was a unique forum for discussing the role of sport, its impact on daily life within our cities and its potential to contribute to sustainable development in post-pandemic society. In the words of IOC President Thomas Bach who addressed Smart Cities & Sport participants in a video message: “Sport is ready to contribute to rebuilding a more human-centred society post-Covid-19.”
Mélanie Duparc, Director at Smart Cities & Sport: “This year’s Summit theme of sport and its role in regards to sustainable development is more topical than ever before. We are convinced that sport has an important part to play when it comes to shaping a post-Covid-19 society by, for and with more sustainable development. To hold the Summit virtually was a great opportunity to break down barriers and to open up to a bigger audience.”
About Smart Cities & Sport
Established in 2014, Smart Cities & Sport is an initiative which originates from the group of former and future Olympic Host Cities. It has since expanded to become the world’s leading network of sports cities. Smart Cities & Sport aims to empower cities to become smarter through sport. As a unique platform for learning, sharing and connecting cities and sport, Smart Cities & Sport facilitates an annual Summit that brings together representatives from sports cities, international sports federations and international organisations.