Theodore Oben

Expert in designing and managing marketing communication

Theodore Oben Master Degree form University of Nairobi

Theodore Oben – The project paper was on “Greening Construction of Mega Sport Venues and Facilities: The Case of the London 2012 Olympic Games”. Areas of study for the degree programme included environmental impact assessment, environmental audit, monitoring and evaluation, human impact on the environment and environmental management and sustainable development, among others.


Theodore Oben – Managing Director and Business Development Manager

Theodore Oben Sport Management and Marketing Consulting, Environmental Impact and Audit Consulting and other businesses:

Successfully negotiated and implemented contracts as marketing agent for sports organizations and football clubs including:
– The Kenya Premier (soccer) League;
– Gor-Mahia Football Club;
– AFC Leopards Football Club;
– Sofapaka Football Club;
– Thika United Football Club;
– Nairobi City Stars Football;
– Muhoroni Youth Football Club.

Successfully negotiated and implemented a sports marketing campaign on rallying soccer fans back into football stadium to watch matches of the Kenya Premier League and to promote brand recognition for East African Breweries, the title Sponsor of the Kenya Premier League.

Successfully negotiated and implemented sports marketing contracts with several companies including Brook-side Dairies Limited (sponsor of Thika United Football Club).

Theodore Oben – UNEP Independent Environmental Assessment of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Theodore Oben – The publication reviewed the environmental impact of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. It looked at measures that implemented by China to address environmental concerns in Beijing during the preparatory phase of the Games. It also looked at the effectiveness of efforts that were undertaken by the Organizing Committee of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in line with the environmental commitments made by China when they submitted their bid to host the Games. It looked at how stakeholders across Beijing and China were integrated into the Games preparations and organization. The report concluded that in the lead-up to the Games several efforts were undertaken to address environmental problems, particularly the air quality problem in Beijing such as: the change in the energy mix of Beijing – from the over-dependence on coal power to the reliance on other sources of energy including renewable; the implementation of stringent vehicle emission standards with Europeans standards as the benchmark; and, the closing of high polluting companies in and around Beijing. It also concluded that China did not take advantage of the growing importance of climate change to aggressively implement projects to minimize and offset emissions given that the climate footprint of the Olympic Games were very high. Overall, the report concluded that the Games left an important legacy that if replicated help China easily integrate environmental and sustainability considerations in projects and development activities across the country.

Theodore Oben Programme Officer, Children and Youth & Sport and the Environment

Theodore Oben Successfully developed two UNEP’s long-term strategies on the integrating environmental considerations in sports and other mass-spectator events and on engaging children and youth in environmental activities, both adopted by UN member state at the UNEP Governing Council in 2003.

• Theodore Oben Led and supervised a project team of 10 staff at UNEP headquarters and in Regional Offices for the implementation of the strategies.

• Developed programmes and projects and provided administrative overview for the implementation of the long-term strategies. Also ensured that the projects are implemented on time and within budget.

• Theodore Oben Successfully organized two Global Forum for Sport and Environment and five International Children and Youth Conferences:

– 1997 UNEP Global Youth Forum in Seoul, Korea;
– 1998 International Children’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya;
– 2000 International Children’s Conference, Eastbourne, UK;
– 2001 Global Forum for Sport and the Environment, Tokyo, Japan
– 2002 International Children’s Conference, Victoria BC, Canada;
– 2003 Tunza International Youth Conference, Dubna, Russia;
– 2003 Global Forum for Sport and the Environment, Tokyo, Japan.

• Successfully fundraised with the local organizing committees US$ 1.2 million for each of the International Children’s Conference in 2000 and 2002.

• Engaged sport organizations on the integration of environmental considerations in their activities.

• Theodore Oben Represented UNEP in the UN Inter-Agency Coordination Committee on Youth Policies and Programmes and engaging other UN entities on promoting joint youth programmes and activities in the UN.

• Theodore Oben Developed and led the implementation of four agreements with host of children and youth conferences (in Seoul, Korea, 1997; Eastbourne, UK, 2000; Victoria BC, Canada, 2002; and Dubna, Russia, 2003).

• Coordinated the development of global and regional networks for children and youth and sport organizations.

Theodore Oben Chief at Outreach Unit of UNEP

Theodore Oben has Successfully developed relationships and implemented collaborative activities on the integration of environmental considerations in the work of sports organizations. These organizations including: the International Olympic Committee; FIFA; The International Motorcycling Federation; The International Powerboating Federation; The International Association of Athletics Federations; The World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry.

Developed, coordinated and monitored the implementation long-term strategies on engaging sports and children and youth organizations in environmental issues.

Led and managed UNEP’s cooperation framework and advisory and technical support on the greening of mass/sport events. Also managed complex and sensitive aspects of the integration of the sustainability dimensions of mass/sport events and supervised the work of international experts in support of these events.

Successfully coordinated UNEP’s cooperation framework with the 2010 Indian Premier League (IPL) and the UNEP-Puma “Play for Life” Campaign to engage fans on conservation issues.

Chief Editor of five UNEP independent environmental assessment reports of mass spectator/sport events.

Successfully coordinated the organization of 17 global conferences for sport and the environment and children and youth.

Developed proposals, fundraised and ensured administrative and budgetary control for the implementation of UNEP outreach activities.

Led projects, supervised and evaluated the performance of project teams of staff and consultants at UNEP headquarters and regional offices to implement UNEP outreach activities.

Coordinated the development and distribution of outreach and communications materials. Built and managed partnerships with external entities (private sector and NGOs).

Represented UNEP in the Sport and Environment Commission of the IOC; the UN Inter-agency Youth Development Network; UN Communications Group on Sport for Development and Peace.

Theodore Oben Lead & Managed UNEP’s Cooperation

Theodore Oben Lead and managed UNEP’s cooperation framework and advisory and technical support on the greening and sustainability of nine mass spectator/sport events. Also managed complex and sensitive aspects of the integration of the sustainability dimensions of sport/mass events, and supervised the work of international environmental and sustainability experts in support of these events:

Athens 2004 Olympic Games (implemented a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and organized several round table discussions for NGOs and stakeholders to make inputs into the Games preparations; liaised with key stakeholders.

Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games (implemented an MoU and Heritage Climate TORino (HECTOR) a carbon management programme launched to reduce and compensate for the emissions generated by the 2006 Games, engaged key stakeholders including NGOs on the implementation of the Games sustainability programme);

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (implemented an MoU, organized round table discussions for NGOs and Stakeholders to make inputs to the preparations of the Games. Coordinated two independent environmental assessments of the Games);

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games (implemented an MoU and a public communications campaign with organizers);

London 2012 Olympic Games (undertook a study on the effectiveness of the greening of venues and facilities and waste minimization efforts of the organizers);

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (implemented an MoU, coordinated the development of action plans for the Organizing Committee (areas included waste and resource management and minimization, communications, and ecosystems management); released 3 periodic environmental reviews and assessment reports in 2008, 2010 and 2011 on progress in implementing environmental objectives of the Games; Coordinated the development of GAP Analysis and action plans on the restoration of the main valley affected by the Games preparations, compensatory measures and comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plans); Coordinated efforts to engage external stakeholders (NGOs and other delivery agencies) in the planning and delivery of sustainability and environmental programmes of the Games;

2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany (implementation of an MoU and the Green Goal Programme).

Theodore Oben and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Theodore Oben led UNEP’s work on helping the Organizing Committee of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games to green their Games. He organized regular roundtable meetings between the Games environmental team and NGOs. He coordinated the release of an environmental assessment – one year before the Games – with recommendations on measures that should be implemented by organizers reinforce their environmental commitments.

Beijing 2008 Olympic

He also coordinated a highly acclaimed final environmental review of the Games, published six months after the Games. The report highlighted the successes and failures of the Games with regards to their environmental commitments 

Theodore Oben and the greening of the Olympic Games

Theodore Oben was one of the pioneers of environmental considerations in the Olympic Games and other sports and mass spectator events. As Chief of Sport and the Environment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), he helped Organizing Committees of Olympic Games to design their environment and sustainability programmes and monitored the implementation of those programmes. From the Athens 2004 Games; to the Turin 2006 Olympic Winter Games; the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games; the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games; the London 2012 Olympic Games; and the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. He worked more closely with the organizers of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. For Beijing, he coordinated two environmental reviews of efforts by the organizers to incorporate environmental issues in the preparations and staging of the Games. For the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, he coordinated several reviews of the implementation of the greening programme for the Games; held several roundtables with stakeholders and released regular reviews on efforts of the organizers to green the Games. He coordinated expert work on GAP Analysis and action plans for the restoration of the Mzymta Basin – an area that was heavily affected by the infrastructure for and access to the Games.

Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony 26
during the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Stadium

Oben was a member of the Sport and Environment Commission of the International Olympic Committee for several years. The Commission advises the Executive Board of the Olympic Movement on ways of integrating environmental issues in the Olympic Games.


Theodore Oben and the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was by far the Games that Oben felt he made his most important contribution. The Games organizers were faced with resistance from NGOs and civil society groups who were not happy with the location of some of the sliding venues, particularly the Bobsleigh venue. Oben led a UNEP expert team to review the location of the venue. The team and UNEP recommended to the International Olympic Committee that the location of the venue would pose serious challenges to the environment and migratory species (some of which were endemic). As a result of this recommendation, the venue was changed.

Theodore Oben subsequently led several UNEP expert teams to review progress on the implementation of the environmental commitments for the Games. He organized several rountable meetings between companies developing Olympic and tourism infrastructures around the Sochi Games and stakeholders to discuss cooperation on the preparations and staging of the Games.

He convinced all key stakeholders involved in the development of facilities in the Mzymta Basin – the main area that was heavily impacted by the facilities and infrastructures of the Games – to sign a commitment to work with all relevant stakeholders to restore the Mzymta Basin.

He subsequently led a UNEP expert team to develop GAP analysis and action plans on the restoration of the Mzymta Basin. The action plans were handed over to the Russian Government for implementation.

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