Amendment 1

Part of Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill [HL] - Committee – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 9th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative 3:30 pm, 9th July 2019

My Lords, Amendments 7, 8 and 17 are in my name. I can deal with Amendment 7 rapidly since the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, has eloquently covered the key elements of the legacy plan, obviously having focused on it during his brief holiday. The only aspect that I hope can be covered in somewhat greater detail is the sporting legacy plan, not least for the people of Birmingham and its vicinity.

In that context, it might be worth focusing on the work done by the four UK Chief Medical Officers, including the guidelines they published recently, which could be used as a case study by the Commonwealth Games organising committee for people living in the Birmingham area. This is the first time we have had physical activity guidelines produced and represents the first guidelines for the early years—the under-fives—as well as around sedentary behaviour, which evidence now shows to be an independent risk factor for ill-health.

I hope that physical activity can be encouraged across the whole of the population. This could be a very useful case study. Under-fives are recommended to engage in 180 minutes of activity—three hours—each day once a child is able to walk; children and young people—five to 18 year-olds—should have at least 60 minutes or up to several hours per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity; and adults and older people should have 150 minutes—two and a half hours—each week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. It is simply not happening in the country at large. This is an opportunity to use the Commonwealth Games as a catalyst for running out the case study in Birmingham. It is important to add that sports legacy element to the clause. The urban regeneration legacy was such a success in London; the sports legacy plan was not such a success, certainly not nationwide. I hope that we have learned from that and will apply the lessons learned to Birmingham.

In Amendment 8 I propose that the Games legacy plan and any revision should be laid before both Houses of Parliament. This is just to avoid fungibility—the good words disappearing into the ether and no action. Being accountable is critical to see action, and that is why I have tabled this amendment to the request from the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, for a legacy plan.

I will speak for a little longer about Amendment 17. Noble Lords will be pleased to learn that many of my other amendments are much shorter. I hope I have the understanding of the House if I focus on something that I think is critical: a charter for the Games that addresses human rights protections, anti-corruption protections and sustainable development standards. The genesis of this is the work that the International Olympic Committee has already done and published in its guidelines. The guidelines have been worked on closely by the city of Paris, which is hosting the 2024 Olympic Games. It is a move by the International Olympic Committee to incorporate human rights principles in its host city contract, which could help prevent major abuses by future Olympic hosts. The revised host city contract, which has been developed with recommendations from a coalition of leading rights-transparency and athletes’ organisations, was finalised in 2017 and will be applied to the 2024 Summer Olympics. For the first time the International Olympic Committee has included an explicit reference to the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights, which outline the human rights responsibilities of all the businesses associated with the Games, as well as references to anti-corruption standards and the importance of protecting and respecting human rights and ensuring that any violation of human rights is remedied.

The fact that those Games are happening in Paris should not preclude the organising committee here in the UK from taking a lead. I praise the organising committee, as I do the Commonwealth Games Federation, for working hard already at virtually all the key elements that are required to make Birmingham a leader in this sector—one that could embody a charter, working closely with government, which is why it is in this legislation. It is vital that the Government have a role, along with the trade unions, employer federations, employees and athletes. If the Government are increasingly investing significant sums in mega sporting events, which effectively they have been doing since the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and are now doing on this occasion, which I warmly welcome, there is a responsibility that goes with that investment. I believe that having a charter in the legislation, supported by the Government in active dialogue with the organising committee, can be beneficial.

In an ideal world, this should really go back to the very start of the bidding process. A charter should cover the life cycle phases of the vision, the concept and the legacy of the Games because human rights are integral from the outset and all relevant stakeholders should contribute to that vision. International human rights standards should apply and the responsibilities of everyone involved need to be clear. The rights of children and the rights of athletes should be specifically recognised and protected. I also believe that in the charter the rights of vulnerable people should be recognised and protected. We will come later to the importance of looking after the interests of everyone involved with the Games, not least by ensuring by law access for disabled folk to be able to go to each and every one of the venues and, indeed, any associated venue.

In the second part of the life cycle of the Games, there is the bidding, planning and then the design of the Games, and human rights guarantees should be included as part of the bid. Ongoing stakeholder engagement should continue throughout the life cycle of the Games. Supporting infrastructure must be subject to the same standards as event infrastructure, which is not always the case. Expectations should be communicated across government and contractors. Access to land and resources should be based on due process. On income generation, it is vital to raise significant funding. Hosting the event should support local economies and suppliers, and that should be stated in the charter. Sponsors should be subject to human rights due diligence, as should broadcasters. In my view, sponsors and broadcasters should identify human rights risks. I work closely with all parties on this through the all-party group, which is really focusing on this and has done a huge amount of work to take this charter forward. I hope that human rights can be embedded in supply contracts. The issues in supply chains should be monitored and resolved and all supply chain sources should be disclosed, including the international supply chain sources associated with the Games. A grievance mechanism should be put in place for supply chain grievances.

One then gets on to the construction of the sites of the Games in Birmingham. Specific risks associated with the workforce must be addressed. Unions should participate in joint site inspections. Independent investigations of workplace accidents and injuries should be ensured and a grievance mechanism put in place. Similar approaches should be undertaken for the delivery and operation of the Games and, when we get to the competition itself, the human rights of athletes should be upheld and protected. Anti-doping and integrity measures should respect the rights of all participants. The risks to child athletes should also be specifically considered.

In the important area of legacy, event infrastructure must have a long-term future. That is vital for the sports legacy of any Games and should be at the heart of what happens in Birmingham. Events should be used as a platform for advancing the human rights relevant to host communities. Paris will do this for the Olympics. I have not stated a single item not being actively considered by the organising committee in Birmingham. If it can put that into a charter and work with government to make sure that that charter is in place, it can lead the world as it should.

For any mega sporting event life cycle along the lines I have outlined, but also for these Games in particular, transparency is key. One thing my noble friend Lord Coe did as chairman of LOCOG was ensure transparency and open engagement. Whenever a problem occurred, he would be the first on the phone to talk to the relevant parties. Transparency needs to be built into the charter to ensure that it is a public document which has been worked through with government and is available for everybody to consider. There should be an independent risk assessment. In my view, an independent risk assessment of a Games is an important step forward. If we had that, it would allow engagement with human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Both organisations, particularly Amnesty International, came to see me when I was chairman of the British Olympic Association throughout the whole build-up to the Games in Beijing. At our last meeting, they said they just wished the Olympic Games were always held in Beijing, because it allowed them to focus so much on what was happening there. I am not sure my noble friend Lord Coe and I were particularly supportive of that objective at the time, but we were very pleased to welcome engagement with them when the Games came to London four years later.

Requiring stakeholder engagement is important. Unfortunately, there are many examples around the world of journalists being jailed and there are risks and problems associated with mega sporting events. I do not believe that will be the case in Birmingham. Because of that, and because I believe Birmingham absolutely has these values at its heart, if we can bring it all together into a charter, supported by government and actively open as a public document, we would make an important move in leaving that as part of the legacy for future Commonwealth Games host cities.

In conclusion, I shall mention one thing we worked on in London. David Stubbs, head of sustainability for LOCOG, was quoted at the time as saying:

London 2012 is proud to have been the catalyst for ISO 20121”,

a piece of legacy that could transform how the world addresses sustainability and sustainable events. It was based on a British standard and it was decided that an international version of the standard should be created to coincide with the 2012 Olympics. It is good to see UNICEF beginning to work on this, and to see Birmingham working on it. At present, there is no guidance or information for event professionals on how to integrate child and human rights considerations in the current ISO 20121 standard. I very much hope that can be done, and that we can make progress on it in time for the Birmingham Games. I know that UNICEF is more than happy to continue working with Birmingham to achieve that.

We need outstanding governance, professional management and public accountability where lottery and Treasury support are directly or indirectly involved. We need to eradicate conflicts of interest, we need transparency in the organisations that run the Games, and we need good governance in sport and for the Commonwealth Games, along the lines required for FTSE companies. That is essential if we are to protect the interests of athletes in the future.

In closing, I thank my colleagues in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sport, Modern Slavery and Human Rights.