Agriculture

Christmas: a season to share, rejoice – Cleric

Christmas
By Perperpetua Onuegbu/Constance Athekeme
Abuja, Dec. 18, 2018 (NNN) Pastor Micheal Oluwole has called on Christians to see the Christmas season as a time for sharing with the under privileged and to rejoice about the goodness and grace of God on mankind.

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Christmas
By Perperpetua Onuegbu/Constance Athekeme
Abuja, Dec. 18, 2018 (NNN) Pastor Micheal Oluwole has called on Christians to see the Christmas season as a time for sharing with the under privileged and to rejoice about the goodness and grace of God on mankind.

Oluwole, who is also the Director of Finance, Federal Radio Corperation of Nigeria (FRCN) made the call at the Christian Media Fellowship Practitioners in Nigeria (CMFPN) Christmas Carol with the theme: Experience Christmas 2018, in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, the love of God is impartial and comes from Jesus Christ, and the same love should be showed to others through how we relate with others.

 

Oluwole urged Christians to use the season not only in  celebrating but to reach out to those who do not have anyone to care for them.

“Many people hoard food items until they are eaten up by rodents and ants in the house which is against the spirit of Christmas,’’ he said.

The cleric, who quoted the scripture from the book of Isaiah, Chapter 9, Verse 6 said: “We hold carol to remember the call of God upon our lives.’’

“God gave his only son and redeemed us from death, from snares of fowlers, perdition, and to appreciate his presence in our mist, we celebrate Christmas with carols.

“The season that we are in is the season of love and sharing; it is the appropriate time to show that Jesus loves us.’’
Oluwole said that the season was also to appreciate God’s presence amidst of men because the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus, who was born during this period.

 

Pastor Emmanuel Zakari, the President of CMFPN said it was a rare privilege to be called a Christian, adding that the purpose of the fellowship was to unite government-owned media in Christ.

Zakari appreciated News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) being of part of the 2018 Christmas carol.

 

He congratulated NNN on the near completion of its chapel, saying the members were able to move from behind the building close to the generator house to a permanent structure.

The government media houses which participated in the Christmas carol are the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), News Agency of Nigeria (NNN), Voice and Nigeria (VON) and Federal Ministry of Information. (NNN)
PUO/COA/GY
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Edited by Grace Yussuf

https://nnn.ng/christmas-a-season-to-share-rejoice-cleric/

Features

Buhari’s address at Ministerial Performance Review Retreat

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ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FIRST YEAR MINISTERIAL PERFROMANCE REVIEW RETREAT

STATE HOUSE CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA

7TH SEPTEMBER, 2020,

 

 

PROTOCOLS

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat. We are meeting a time that mankind is struggling to overcome the economic and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted life as we knew it. The consequences of the pandemic will no doubt influence our deliberations at this gathering, especially as we will have to adjust our policy approaches and methods of working going forward.

2.      I stressed at last year’s Retreat that the Nigerian people expect dedication and commitment by all of us in implementing policies, programmes and projects to improve the quality of their lives and set Nigeria on the path of prosperity. I also reiterated the resolve of this Administration to set the stage for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years. Even today, these remain our overriding objectives.

 

3.    The priorities we set for ourselves were around nine inter-related and inter-connected areas, which are: stabilizing the economy; achieving agriculture and food security; attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products; improving transportation and other infrastructure; driving industrialization with a special focus on SMEs; expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; enhancing social inclusion by scaling up social investments; as well as building a system to fight corruption, improve governance and strengthen national security.

4.      In the course of the past year, Ministers have rendered reports to the Federal Executive Council on their activities and outputs related to the achievement of these objectives. Some of the notable achievements include:

i.  Economic recovery prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. The economy recovered from a recession and we witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 0.8% in 2017 to 2.2% in 2019, but declined in the first quarter of 2020, as a result of the downward trend in global economic activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ii.   Implementation of a Willing Buyer, Willing Seller Policy for the power sector, has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to homes and industries. We are also executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in the transmission and distribution of a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023.

iii.  On transportation, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure. The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund projects are also progressing very well. These include the 11.9 km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and 375 km Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Expressway. At the same time, we are actively extending and upgrading our railway networks, as well as our airports which are being raised to international standard with the provision of necessary equipment, to guarantee world class safety standard.

iv.                                         The Government has continued to support the Agricultural sector, the key to diversification of our economy, through schemes such as the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme.

v. The work of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has resulted in Nigeria moving up 39 places on the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking since 2015 and Nigeria is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries. We are confident that the on-going ease of doing business reforms would result in further improvement of this rating.

vi.  Nigeria’s Law Enforcement Agencies have significantly scaled up their footprint across the country. As part of the efforts towards strengthening our internal security architecture, the Ministry of Police Affairs was created. Amongst others, we have increased investments in arms, weapons and other necessary equipment, expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen States of the Federation, and established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force. We have also approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of the Community Policing initiative across the country, as part of measures adopted to consolidate efforts aimed at boosting security nationwide[1] .

vii.  Efforts are also being made to empower the youth and provide for  poor and vulnerable groups by enhancing investments in our Social Investment Programmes.

5.      These accomplishments are a testament to the fact that all hands are on deck in establishing a solid foundation for even greater successes in future.

6.      Distinguished participants, when we met one year ago, little did we know that the world would be in a serious economic, social and health crisis that had left even the major economies in disarray, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Just as in other jurisdictions, the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria has experienced a severe shock.  Nearly 55,000 of our people have been infected with the virus while we have recorded 1,054 deaths by 4th September. The economy contracted by -6.1 per cent in the second quarter of this year; normal schooling has been disrupted; businesses are struggling and in certain instances completely closed; many people have lost their jobs and earning a living has been difficult. It has been a trying time for all of us and particularly for those in the informal sector who make their living from daily earnings.

 7.      It has not been any easier for Governments, Federal and State alike. As a result of the poor fortunes of the oil sector, our revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen drastically. Our revenues have fallen by almost 60%. Yet we have had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects. We acted to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan but we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down.

8.      The N2.3 Trillion Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP),  consists of fiscal, monetary and sectoral measures to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs and provide succour to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.  In addition to improving the health sector, the ESP lays emphasis on labour-intensive interventions in agriculture, light manufacturing, housing, and facilities management. It also complements on-going major infrastructural projects in power, road and rail by prioritising the building of rural roads, information and telecommunications technologies as well as providing solar power to homes which were not hitherto connected to the National Grid.

9.      Alongside interventions in these critical areas, including agriculture and food security, affordable housing, technology, health, and providing jobs for youths and women post-COVID; the ESP will also provide different avenues whereby Government will support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to enable them respond to the economic challenges of COVID-19.

This includes safeguarding about 300,000 jobs in 100,000 MSMEs by guaranteeing off-take of priority products; and Survival Fund to support vulnerable SMEs in designated vulnerable sectors in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguarding jobs from the shock of COVID-19.

10.    Under the ESP MSMEs component, both the Survival Fund (Payroll support), and the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme, GoS, are to impact about 1.7 million individuals within a three to five months timeline. Also, 45 per cent of total business beneficiaries will be female owned; and 5 per cent of total business beneficiaries will be dedicated to special needs business owners.[2] 

 11.     In addition, under the Survival Fund (payroll support) scheme; 250,000 new business names are to be registered at a discounted rate of N6,000 by the CAC, but this will be free for the MSMEs; while 330,000 transport workers and artisans will get one-time grants of N30,000 each.

 12.    Following an MOU to be signed by BOI and the FG, the total beneficiaries for Survival Fund Scheme tracks are about 33,000 beneficiaries per State; with a minimum payroll support at N30,000 and maximum support is N50,000.

 13.   The COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a severe downturn in the funds available to finance our budget and has severely hampered our capacity to ..one of the steps we took at the beginning of the crisis in March when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown, was the deregulation of  the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) such that the benefit of lower prices at that time  was passed to consumers.

This was welcome by all and sundry. The effect of deregulation though is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover we would see some increases in PMS prices.  This is what has happened now. When global prices rose, it meant that the price of petrol locally will go up.

 14.    There are several negative consequences if Government should even attaempt to go back to the   business of fixing or subsidizing PMS prices.  First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime . Today we have  60% less revenues, we just  cannot afford the cost.

The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration. Nigerians no longer have to endure long queues just to buy petrol, often at highly inflated prices. Also, as I hinted earlier, there is no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, simply because we are not able to afford it, if reasonable provisions must be made for health, education and other social services.[3]   We now simply have no choice.

Nevertheless, I want to assure our compatriots that Government is extremely mindful of the pains that higher prices mean at this time, and we do not take the sacrifices that all Nigerians have to make for granted.

We will continue to seek ways and means of cushioning pains especially for the most vulnerable in our midst. We will also remain alert to our responsibilities to ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens by   raising pump price arbitrarily .

This is the role that government must now play through the PPPRA. This explains why the PPPRA made the announcement a few days ago setting the range of price that must not be exceeded by marketers. The advantage we now have is that anyone can bring in petroleum products and compete with marketers, that way the price of petrol will be keep coming down.

 15.    The recent service based  tariff adjustment by the Discos  has also been a source of concern for many of us. Let me say frankly that like many Nigerians I have been very unhappy about the quality of service given by the Discos, but there are many constraints including poor transmission capacity and distribution capacity.

I have already signed off on the first phase of the Siemens project to address many of these issues. Because of the problems with the privatization exercise government has had to keep supporting the largely privatized electricity industry .

So far to keep the industry going we have spent almost 1.7 trillion, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls. We do not have the resources at this point to continue in this way and it will be grossly irresponsible to borrow to subsidize a generation and distribution which are both privatized.

But we also have a duty to ensure that the large majority of those who cannot afford to pay cost reflective tariffs are protected from increases. NERC the industry regulator therefore approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service.

Under this new arrangement only customers who are guaranteed a minimum of 12 hours of power and above can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply, or the Band D and E Customers MUST be maintained on lifeline tariffs, meaning that they will experience no increase.

Government has also taken notice of the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing.  Accordingly, a mass metering program is being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers – creating thousands of jobs in the process.

NERC has also committed  to strictly enforcing  the capping regulation which will ensure that unmetered customers are not charged beyond the metered customers in their neighbourhood.

 17.    In addressing the power problems we must not forget that most Nigerians are not even connected to electricity at all. So as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan, we are providing Solar home systems to  5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months.

We have already begun the process of providing financing support through the CBN for manufacturers and retailers of Off Grid Solar Home Systems and Mini-Grids who are to provide the systems . The Five million systems under the ESP’s Solar Power Strategy will produce 250,000  jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation [4] This means that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.

 18.    The support to Solar Home System manufacturers and the bulk procurement of local meters will create over 300,000 local jobs while ensuring that we set Nigeria on a path to full electrification. The tariff review is not about the increase, which will only affect the top electricity consumers, but establishing a system which will definitely lead to improved service for all at a fair and reasonable price. [5]

 19.    There has been some concern expressed about the timing of these two necessary adjustments.  It is important to stress that it is a mere coincidence in the sense that the deregulation of PMS prices happened quite some time ago, it was announced on 18 March 2020 and the price moderation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.

Similarly, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July but was put on hold to enable further studies and proper arrangements to be made.  This government is not insensitive to the current economic difficulties our people  are going through and the very tough economic situation we face as a nation, and we certainly will not inflict hardship on our people.

But we are convinced that if we stay focused on our plans brighter more prosperous days will come soon.  Ministers and senior officials must accordingly ensure the vigorous and prompt implementation of the ESP programmes, which will give succour to Nigerians.

 20.   In this regard, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has created credit facilities (of up to N100B) for the Healthcare (N100 Billion) and Manufacturing (N1 Trillion) sectors. From January, 2020 to date, over N191.87B has already been disbursed for 76 real sectors projects under the N1TRN Real Sector Scheme; while 34 Healthcare projects have been funded to a tune of N37.159B under the Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility.

The facilities are meant to address some of the infrastructural gap in the healthcare and manufacturing sector as a fall out to the COVID-19 pandemic and to facilitate the attainment of the Governors 5-year strategic plan.[6]

21.    Distinguished participants, to address our current economic challenges, and consolidate on our achievements over the past year, this retreat has been designed to:

                    Review the performance of each Minister in delivering the priority mandates, including programmes and projects assigned to them upon their appointment in 2019;

                    Identify key impediments to implementation; and

                    Re-strategize on how to accelerate delivery of results, given the current economic situation.

22.    The retreat would also provide the opportunity to effectively evaluate the activities of the Ministries over the last twelve months with regard to the delivery of our agenda and promise to Nigerians.

23.    The Ministers are urged to work closely with the Permanent Secretaries to ensure accelerated and effective delivery of the policies, programmes and projects in the priority areas. I have also directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to intensify efforts at deepening the work of the Delivery Unit under his coordination towards ensuring effective delivery of Government Policies, Programmes and Projects in the coming years. It is also my expectation that progress on performance of the implementation of the 9 priority areas will be reported on a regular basis.

24.    In closing, I encourage optimal participation and contribution by all participants, while observing all the necessary safety protocols and compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.

25.    On this note, it is my pleasure to formally declare this Retreat open. I look forward to a very fruitful session and stimulating exchange of views.

26.    Thank you.

27.    God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

https://nnn.ng/buharis-address-at-ministerial-performance-review-retreat/

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Ex-NAN staff emerges Acting Registrar, Federal Polytechnic Oko 

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The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu has approved the appointment of a veteran journalist, Mr Obini Onuchukwu as the Acting Registrar of Federal Polytechnic Oko, in Orumba North Council Area of Anambra.


Onuchukwu’s approval followed the recommendation of the Expanded Management Committee (EMC), the highest decision making body of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko.

The  approval of his appointment was contained in a statement by the Acting Registrar on Thursday in Awka.

The statement noted that his recommendation was unanimously made by members of the EMC consisting of the five principal officers of the Polytechnic and the representative of the Minister of Education.

It further noted that representatives of Executive Secretary of the Polytechnic’s regulatory body and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) were also among those who recommended his appointment during its regular meeting, recently.

Until his appointment, Onuchukwu served as the Public Relations Officer and Chief Protocol Officer of the Polytechnic for about 10 years.

 

He also served as a Deputy Registrar of the Institution for eight years.

 

The Acting Registrar started his career as a journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria .

He also served as a two term chairman of Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) where he won several awards.

Onuchukwu holds two master degrees in Information Technology and Mass communication from Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) and Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) respectively.

He equally holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Information Technology from FUTO and Higher National Diploma in Mass communication from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu.

He facilitated and participated in so many trainings of the Polytechnic with reputable Institutions of higher learning within and outside the shores of the country.

He also served in high profile committees​ and desks which include Communication Officer, World Bank Assisted Project, STEB-B as well as ABUJA Liaison  Officer, Federal Polytechnic Oko.

Onuchukwu replaces the former Registrar of the Polytechnic, Mrs Stella Njaka, who successfully served out her five year single tenure.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

https://nnn.ng/ex-nan-staff-emerges-acting-registrar-federal-polytechnic-oko/
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FG inaugurates committee for localisation of humanitarian responses

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The Federal Government has inaugurated a 128-member committee to drive the National Localisation Framework and ensure effective and efficient humanitarian response in the country.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the members of the committee were picked from different Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations and other government donors and partners from the six geo-political zones of the country.

Mrs Olusola Idowu, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, who inaugurated the Localisation Working Group (LWG), on Wednesday in Abuja, charged them to ensure their activities were locally driven to foster development.

Idowu, represented by Mrs Elizabeth Egharevba, Director, International Cooperation, said the government was already collaborating with donors, development partners as well as local and international non-governmental organisations to ensure operational change for humanitarian response in the country.

“With the current humanitarian crisis facing the country and influx of international organisations supporting us, localisation agenda has become imperative and provides the unique opportunity for the nexus of humanitarian, peace building and development efforts.

“You will recall that during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, the Grand Bargain on improving humanitarian efficiency and effectiveness was launched and was subsequently endorsed by more than 50 donors and aid organisations.

“Ten work streams commitments were agreed to lead the work and in a bid to operationalise these commitments, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), supported the implementation of Accelerating Localisation Through Partnership (ALTP), programme in four countries.

“The programme was activated in Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria and South Sudan by a consortium of Christian Aid (as the lead), CARE, Tearfund, ActionAid, CAFOD and Oxfam.

“The programme aims to accelerate localisation through the strengthening of local and national leadership of humanitarian response; it focuses on operational change for humanitarian response over the identified time frame and beyond,” Idowu said.

The permanent secretary added that on the long run, the programme was expected to help identify capacity, funding and coordination needs of local and national NGOs as well as proffer solutions to the identified gaps.

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, represented by Mr Charles Anaelo, a Deputy Director in the ministry,  said government was doing everything possible to ensure sustainability.

“It is important to note that the ministry focuses at ensuring grassroots mobilisation so that the response will get to all nooks and crannies.

“This programme is not focused on a specific area or geopolitical zone of crisis, but every aspect of Nigeria where there are humanitarian issues.

“We believe that this platform being set up is one of the veritable ways of creating strategic roadmap for exit plan for international partners and donors so that, with or without them,  we will have a framework of operation.

“Under the ministry, we have NEMA, we have Refugees Commission, NAPTIP and SDGs, but beyond that in terms of information, we are collaborating with the National Orientation Agency in all the LGAs in the country to ensure proper mobilisation.

“So, we are coordinating other partners and key stakeholders to ensure we deliver as one and the sustainability depends on government apparatus and administrative process and that is why partnership and collaboration is key to sustainability,” Farouq said.

Mrs Mimidoo Achakpa, Coordinator, Women in Humanitarian Response in Nigeria Initiative, who spoke on behalf of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), said they had been working on the programme for two years now.

“For us as CSOs, we have embraced the localisation agenda in Nigeria and on behalf of my colleagues in other geopolitical zones represented in the LWG we are going to domesticate this localisation agenda.

“For every activity that we plant, we must ensure that localisation agenda will definitely be part of the activities and we will spread the word in different networks we have because localisation cuts across every sphere of life, not only humanitarian,” she said.

NAN also reports that a document containing the operational framework for local and international NGOs in the country was also unveiled at the programme.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

https://nnn.ng/fg-inaugurates-committee-for-localisation-of-humanitarian-responses/
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Beijing 2022 racing towards green Games

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“Beijing!” The city’s name was called at an IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31, 2015 to be announced as the host city of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.


Five years on, Beijing, the first city to host both summer and winter Games, and the co-host city of Zhangjiakou, are en route to staging a ‘green, inclusive, open and clean’ Games as promised.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the Games’ competition venues and related infrastructure will be completed by the end of this year, with sustainability given priority from the very beginning, in line with reforms introduced through the Olympic Agenda 2020.

BUILDING ON THE PAST

Once an industrial complex, Shougang Park will stage the Big Air event, where top snowboarders will compete against a backdrop of coolant towers. Its iron ore storage towers were converted to house the headquarters of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee – where decisions were made to maximize the use of existing venues and facilities.

And thanks to a successful 2008 Games, legacies were abundant.

Of the 2022 Games’ 44 venues and facilities, 25 are renovated from existing ones, six are temporary, and six were part of the city’s plan before the bid. Only seven of them, or 16 percent of the total, are newly built for the Games.

The “water cube,” the swimming and diving venue from 2008, has been converted into the “ice cube” featuring a transferable rink for curling events.

“Thanks to the Winter Games, the facility was upgraded and energy consumption lowered. Its new form will bring new income, and the cost of water-ice conversion is much lower than building a new venue,” said Yang Qiyong, general manager of the venue.

This July 28, 2020 photo shows the iconic “Water Cube” swimming venue from the 2008 Olympics, which now has become the “Ice Cube”. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

This July 28, 2020 photo shows the iconic “Water Cube” swimming venue from the 2008 Olympics, which now has become the “Ice Cube”. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

The Bird’s Nest stadium, another symbolic legacy from 2008, will stage Beijing 2022’s opening and closing ceremonies, just as it did 12 years ago. The National Indoor Stadium, which hosted 2008’s gymnastics, trampoline, and handball events, will play host to the men’s ice hockey competitions, while the women’s event will be staged at the Wukesong Sports Center, a basketball venue from 2008, which is capable of switching between two kinds of playing surfaces within six hours.

According to Ding Jianming, deputy director of the Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office, venues in the Beijing competition zone will all be transferable between summer and winter sports.

In the Zhangjiakou competition zone, the Genting Snow Park, which will host freestyle skiing and snowboard events at Beijing 2022, was also renovated from the existing ski resort. Surplus stones after the evacuation and filling process were used in other parts, including building temporary roads and slope protection.

EYEING THE FUTURE

Ensuring Olympic venues are adequately used after the event is a challenging task facing every organizer, and Beijing is no exception.

The National Speed Skating Oval, the only newly-built ice sports venue for the 2022 Games, has seen its main structure completed. Nicknamed the “Ice Ribbon,” the site boasts the most extensive full ice design in Asia, with an ice surface area of 12,000 square meters.

“The purpose is to give full consideration to post-competition utilization and provide hardware support for mass fitness and to meet various needs,” said Ma Jin, design director of the ice making project.

He went on to explain that the ice in the oval has adopted a submodule control unit, which can divide the ice surface into several areas and make ice according to varying standards.

During ordinary times, it can hold more than 2,000 people and be utilized for ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating, curling, and other ice sports all at the same time.

The National Speed Skating Oval, also known as the “Ice Ribbon”, is the only newly-built ice sports venue for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

The National Speed Skating Oval, also known as the “Ice Ribbon”, is the only newly-built ice sports venue for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

Like the “Ice Ribbon,” all venues in Beijing will not only display international and domestic sports events but will open to the public after the 2022 Games.

Alpine skiing, bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge are not familiar sports for many Chinese people, meaning organizers needed to pay extra attention to post-game utilization when designing the National Alpine Ski Center and National Sliding Center in the Yanqing competition zone. Ski tracks will be developed in the surrounding area for primary and intermediate skiers while competition tracks will stay in place for high-level competitions.

Just like the 2008 Games, Beijing 2022 strives to leave legacies that will help fuel the passion for winter sports in the country and encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Sustainability is also reflected in the eco-friendly measures adopted along the process.

“To reduce the adverse impact on the ecological environment, Beijing 2022 will prioritize ecological protection in the whole process of venue planning, construction, operation and post-match utilization,” said Liu Xinping, director of the Sustainable Development Division of the Beijing 2022 General Planning Department.

In addition to the Olympic Village, all trees in the entire Yanqing competition zone for Beijing 2022 were registered and had their profiles marked with a QR code. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

In addition to the Olympic Village, all trees in the entire Yanqing competition zone for Beijing 2022 were registered and had their profiles marked with a QR code. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

At the bottom of the Xiaohaituo mountain in the Yanqing competition zone, a protected 20 hectares of trees constitutes part of the Winter Olympic Forest Park, which is currently under construction.

What makes them different is that each of them has a profile – scan the QR code attached to them and you can learn about their “life.”

“We tried our best to leave the trees where they were when we designed the competition courses. If that was not possible, we moved some of them to nearby sites, or transplanted them down to the Winter Olympic Forest Park,” Liu said.

In fact, a detailed investigation of local wildlife was conducted well before construction started in order to protect biodiversity. The contractor, Beijing Enterprises J.O Construction, formed an independent department to address ecological protection.

“Although we tried to avoid trees in designing construction sites when we tried to set up a tower crane, we found it may cause potential harm to the nearby trees if the machine was to be set at the optimal location. So we changed the plan, replaced it with a larger model with longer jibs, although it took us quite a lot of extra effort to re-design,” recalled company director Liang Dedong.

For animals, temporary migration paths were built and working times were cut short during the initial phase of construction to ensure they could migrate freely and safely.

“By spring 2019, over half of the birdhouses we set were occupied and our infrared camera also captured gorals, roe deer, wild boar and other animals that are commonly seen in the area,” Liang noted.

SETTING NEW STANDARDS

The 2012 London Olympics was a catalyst for ISO 20121, an international standard for sustainable event management, the certification of which every subsequent Olympic and Paralympic Games will be required to obtain.

Beijing 2022 was certificated in November 2019 and sought to push further. Its own sustainability management systems were the first of their kind in China to receive third-party certification. For the first time in Olympic history, it integrated three international standards for sustainability management, environmental management and social responsibility. Covering the entire process in all areas in Games preparation, Beijing hopes to set examples for future Olympics.

This photo taken on July 30, 2020 shows the construction site of the National Ski Jumping Center in Chongli District of Zhangjiakou City, north China’s Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

This photo taken on July 30, 2020 shows the construction site of the National Ski Jumping Center in Chongli District of Zhangjiakou City, north China’s Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

The “Evaluation Standards for Green Snow Sports Venues,” developed by governments of Beijing municipality and Hebei province, have filled the gaps at home and abroad in green venue construction.

“The green Winter Olympics is not only in terms of venue construction but also in the procurement of goods, projects and services related to the preparation and corresponding standards have also been formulated. We also push forward the ‘Low-Carbon Management Work Plan for Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games,’ which gives out specific numbers to reduce carbon footprint,” Liu said.

Technology came in to help as Beijing led the way.

“Using the wind of Zhangbei County to light up Beijing.” A poetic slogan explains how the world’s first flexible DC power grid with a 500 kV four-terminal ring structure functions – renewable energy generated in Zhangjiakou, where the county belongs, will be transmitted to Beijing, providing 10 percent of the total energy consumption in the capital and make it possible, for the first time, for all Olympic venues to achieve 100 percent use of green electricity.

All competition venues for Beijing 2022 are slated to be completed by the end of 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

All competition venues for Beijing 2022 are slated to be completed by the end of 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

For the first time, natural carbon dioxide will replace ozone layer-harming Freon as a refrigerant in ice-making in the venues, which will reduce carbon emissions equivalent to that of 3,900 cars a year, cutting emissions to nearly zero.

Building the country’s first bobsleigh, skeleton and luge track, the contractor started from scratch to develop multiple independent intellectual property rights and construction standards and finished the track with a 360-degree loop.

The awning of the track, the world’s first steel-wool structure, not only combines China’s traditional wood structure with the modern steel one but also “greatly reduce direct sunlight and preserve the heat, thus minimizing energy consumption,” as introduced by Li Changzhou, deputy general manager of the contractor.■

https://nnn.ng/beijing-2022-racing-towards-green-games/
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