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Can Paris keep the Olympics going?

Image Credits: UnsplashImage Credits: Unsplash
  • Paris 2024 aims to halve the carbon emissions of the Games, using existing and temporary venues to minimize environmental impact.
  • The Social Charter of Paris 2024 focuses on decent working conditions, social inclusion, and supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Significant security measures are in place to address the risks of terrorism and cyber threats, with an unprecedented deployment of security personnel.

The Olympic Games have always been a symbol of global unity and athletic excellence, but recent editions have faced criticism for their environmental impact, economic strain on host cities, and social controversies. As Paris prepares to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the question arises: Can Paris save the Olympics?

Paris 2024 is committed to making the Games more sustainable than ever before. The organizers have pledged to halve the carbon emissions compared to previous editions, aligning with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. This ambitious goal includes a strict carbon budget covering all aspects of the Games, from construction to transportation and catering. The use of existing and temporary venues is a key strategy, with 95% of the venues being either pre-existing or temporary structures that will be dismantled and reused post-Games.

Social Impact and Inclusivity

One of the most notable initiatives of Paris 2024 is the Social Charter, a first in Olympic history, which was signed in 2019. This charter focuses on decent working conditions, social inclusion, and ensuring that small- and medium-sized enterprises have access to contracts. Around 90% of the Games' suppliers are French, with 78% being small- and medium-sized businesses, and over 500 local businesses from the social and solidarity economy involved.

Moreover, Paris 2024 has introduced a daily 30-minute exercise period in French schools, which has already shown positive impacts on children's well-being and concentration. The Games have also spurred the construction of 5,000 proximity sport courts across France, making sports more accessible to everyone.

Security Challenges

Despite these positive initiatives, the Paris 2024 Olympics face significant security challenges. The city has a history of terrorist attacks, and the global visibility of the Olympics makes it a prime target. The French government has planned an unprecedented security operation, deploying about 20,000 soldiers and over 40,000 police officers, along with support from international troops. The opening ceremony, which will take place along the Seine River, presents unique security risks, leading to a reduction in the number of spectators and stringent security checks.

Cybersecurity is another major concern, with experts warning of an "unprecedented level" of cyber threats targeting the Games. The organizers are implementing advanced surveillance systems, including facial recognition cameras and drone surveillance, to mitigate these risks.

Controversies and Social Issues

The Paris 2024 Olympics are not without their controversies. The French government's ban on hijabs for French athletes has sparked debates about inclusivity and religious freedom. Additionally, the displacement of homeless people and the eviction of street vendors have raised concerns about the social impact of the Games on vulnerable communities.

Legacy and Future Impact

The legacy of the Paris 2024 Olympics is a critical aspect of the Games' long-term success. The Olympic Village, built on a former industrial wasteland, will be transformed into a sustainable city district post-Games, providing housing, offices, and shops for nearly 12,000 people. This transformation includes low-carbon construction solutions and green spaces, ensuring a lasting positive impact on the local community.

Paris 2024 has the potential to set a new standard for the Olympic Games, focusing on sustainability, social impact, and inclusivity. However, the success of these initiatives will depend on the city's ability to address significant security challenges and social controversies. As the world watches, Paris has the opportunity to not only host a spectacular event but also to redefine the future of the Olympics.

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