The ANOC Executive Council met prior to the start of the General Assembly tomorrow ©ANOC

The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) has claimed its two-day General Assembly starting here tomorrow will be the first edition of the event to be carbon neutral.

ANOC said it has worked with a tree-planting project and purchased carbon credits to achieve the status for the meeting, set to be attended by around 155 National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

The umbrella organisation said it would plant one tree per each delegate across the five continents after partnering with One Tree Planted, a charity aiming to help global reforestation efforts.

ANOC has joined the "Oloi Mazi Boroume" - Together we Can - initiative, which will see 5,000 trees planted in Athens, where the General Assembly had been due to take place before it was moved to Crete, on October 31.

It has also bought carbon credits from First Climate to ensure carbon neutrality, defined as "making or resulting in no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, especially as a result of carbon offsetting".

"Today’s ANOC Executive Council meeting was an important opportunity to discuss key reports ahead of them being presented to the General Assembly," said ANOC secretary general Gunilla Lindberg. 

"The Commissions have been working hard over the last two years to find new ways for ANOC to support NOCs. 

"Part of improving our service to the NOCs is also improving how we operate as an organisation.

"One example of this is the sustainability initiatives we have implemented for the meetings here in Crete. 

"We are encouraging all NOCs to contribute to a greener sporting future, in line with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and so we must do the same. 

"We are delighted to host our first carbon neutral General Assembly and we will continue to prioritise sustainability initiatives in the critical years ahead."

Crete is hosting this year's ANOC General Assembly instead of Athens ©ANOC
Crete is hosting this year's ANOC General Assembly instead of Athens ©ANOC

The host for the ANOC World Beach Games in 2023 is among the main topics due to be discussed on the opening day of the General Assembly tomorrow.

The second edition of the Games, following the event's debut in 2019, had been scheduled for 2021 before being postponed to 2023.

Other items on the agenda include a presentation of the ANOC strategic plan, as well as reports from the ANOC Commissions and Organising Committees of the Olympic Games.

A host city for next year’s ANOC General Assembly is also set to be chosen, a meeting with added significance as there is set to be an election to choose a President.

Fiji’s Robin Mitchell has been Acting President for three years after Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah - who had led ANOC since 2012 - was charged in Switzerland with forgery, together with three lawyers and an advisor, after being accused of making false videos to damage members of the Kuwaiti Government.

In August he was found guilty of the offence at a court in Geneva and sentenced to 14 months in prison, with a further 15 months suspended.

Sheikh Ahmad denies the charges and is appealing against the sentence.

This year's event will be the biggest gathering of NOCs since the 2019 edition of the ANOC General Assembly in Doha.

The 2020 meeting in Seoul was cancelled because of COVID-19 and was rescheduled for 2021 in Seoul.

But in July, strict quarantine requirements forced a change to Greece.

It is the first time that Greece has held the ANOC General Assembly since 2004 when it was staged in Athens.

The capital was initially chosen to host this year's event before it was moved to the Mediterranean island of Crete following a proposal from Greek Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis, who is from the island.