Dear members of the Paris 2024 family, dear friends,
The last two months have seen all our lives shaken by an unprecedented crisis. Some of you have lost loved-ones. Others are fighting for economic survival. Others still are on the frontline working to help your fellow citizens. To all of you, I first wish to offer my wholehearted support.
For the last two months, our attention and energy has been entirely focussed on managing the crisis. But a new stage will begin soon. We will need to rebuild – perhaps even reinvent – our society. Each of us is already preparing for the task in our own life, workplace and community.
I am convinced that Paris 2024, as a unifying project that we built all together, can be a horizon to work towards in confronting this new challenge.
This project is your project. It exists because of you – athletes, clubs, leagues, sports federations, Olympic and Paralympic Movement, public partners, local communities, partner businesses and social organisations, third sector institutions, small businesses, charities, NGOs, our cultural stakeholders, ambassadors and supporters.
From the start, our common purpose has been to create the Games of a new era: Games that are responsible, sustainable, socially-conscious, and open for everyone to take part. Because we fully understood that the climate emergency, territorial inequalities and the imperative of budgetary sobriety required us to reinvent the model. We’ve been driven by a determination to be useful to society and to use the scale of a global event to show that it’s possible to do things differently, thinking long-term, putting the human being at the centre.
Together, we have made bold choices – unprecedented choices in the history of the Games: only to build facilities that are useful to local communities, putting a particular emphasis on Seine-Saint-Denis. To place environmental responsibility at the centre of our model, implementing an innovative method to cut our carbon impact in half and compensate all CO2 emissions that cannot be avoided. To create the conditions to ensure that the economic benefits of the Games are shared with everyone – all those who need them: small businesses, social organisations and job seekers.
Thanks to you and your collective energy, our shared ambition has already delivered tangible outputs: the social charter, the Terre des Jeux 2024 label, the employment mapping, the Entreprises 2024 and ESS 2024 platforms, the Olympic and Paralympic Week in schools and universities…
Today, we are confronted with an historic crisis. Its magnitude means that we must remain humble. We are not yet able to assess its full impact. However, and above all, we must take on board its lessons. This crisis further reinforces the need for sustainable and socially-responsible Games. It also requires us to look inwards and continue to adapt; to reinvent ourselves. Let us be clear: this task will not be easy. We will need to shake-up established thinking; the pathways will be tight.
This work has already begun.
To adapt, we will need to take the time to carefully review all our actions. With four years to go, the calendar allows it. Indeed, the IOC and IPC have confirmed that our Games will be maintained in 2024.
Adapting means having the courage to put everything up for review, in order only to keep and further strengthen what is useful. By continuing to seek the shortest and least costly path to deliver our ambitions. Because one key principle has guided us from the start and we will never deviate from it: we will only spend what we make.
To adapt, we must keep in mind what has guided us from the start: an ambition to stage responsible Games, leaving a legacy of solutions. We will therefore maintain our standards when it comes to the environment. The crisis asks serious questions about our relationships with biodiversity and consumption. We had already, together, taken numerous steps, particularly in the areas of sustainable food supply and responsible procurement. We will continue these initiatives with renewed determination.
As an Organising Committee, we will deliver our responsibilities. But we will find the solutions by working as a whole team.
If we are to do better, given these new constraints, your experiences, ideas and creativity will be essential, as they have been from the start of the journey. In the coming weeks, we will come back to you to involve you in this collective brainstorming, looking at how, within the new context, we can maximise the impact of our actions so that the project is useful to everyone and contributes to society’s recovery.
The scale of the challenge is enormous. We will only meet it together. The Paris 2024 Games are a golden opportunity. They were before and they are even more so today. In an uncertain world, they are a date that we can turn into something significant.
A unique opportunity to contribute to reviving our economy and tourism industry, by showcasing our heritage and innovation.
A unique opportunity to promote a more inclusive society and change the situation of people with disabilities.
A unique opportunity to provide a global stage for France’s artists and cultural sector, by making the Cultural Olympiad a moment of sharing, hospitality and creation.
A unique opportunity to promote the humanist values of our country, by placing the best of France at the service of one of the last-remaining spaces for brotherly encounter between all nations.
A unique opportunity to bring together all our strengths: rural and urban communities alike, mainland France and overseas territories, big groups and small businesses, trade unions and employer unions, medal winners and unknown athletes, politicians of every party, the charity sector…
When we think about it, what other project could make that happen?
Let us rise to the moment we are living and give our post-crisis society Games for a new world.
Because, while the crisis has revealed the vulnerabilities and inequalities of our society, it has also shone a powerful light on our resources: on the wealth of solidarity, of course, which remains undiminished since the start of the crisis; but also on sport as a tangible solution for transforming our way of life. An alternative to public transport, naturally, but also an educational solution in schools at a time when the organisational model of the classroom is under review. An unrivalled tool for preserving health and strengthening social cohesion.
Paris 2024 will fully commit to highlight the crucial role of sport within a new societal model. But because sport has greatly suffered from this crisis, we must first help it back on it feet.
Dear friends, let us remain united. Let’s continue to be this team that is building an unrivalled project all together. And let’s be aware that, in light of our society’s new stakes and needs, our responsibility and the purpose of our actions are greater than ever before.
I thank you all for your unfailing commitment to this unprecedented project. Be assured that Paris 2024 will do everything possible to return your support.
Yours in friendship,
– Tony Estanguet