The International Olympic Committee has unanimously approved 40 recommendations designed to be a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic movement, including reforms to the bidding process for the Olympic Games. The approval of Olympic Agenda 2020 came at the 127th IOC Session in Monaco.

“Olympic Agenda 2020 is like a jigsaw puzzle,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “Now that you have approved all 40 recommendations you can see the whole picture. It is a picture of progress. It is a picture that ensures the uniqueness of the Olympic Games. It is a picture that promotes the Olympic values. And it is a picture that strengthens sport in society.”

The debate and voting on Olympic Agenda 2020 were scheduled to last two days, but support was strong enough that the process concluded on the first day. Each recommendation, voted on individually, received the full backing of the 96 IOC members in attendance.

Key to the reforms are changes to the philosophy of event bidding aimed at inviting potential candidate cities to present an Olympic project that best matches their sports, economic, social and environmental long-term planning needs. Some of the key areas addressed include reducing the costs of bidding; more flexibility in the composition of the sports program; the introduction of a policy of non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter; and the launch of an Olympic TV Channel. The changes will also allow for the organization of Olympic competitions outside the host city, or in “exceptional” cases, outside the host country.

Bach, who initiated the Olympic Agenda 2020 discussions, thanked the IOC for what he described as a “very important and positive day for the IOC and the Olympic Movement.”

“The speed at which Olympic Agenda 2020 was approved showed the great support and determination of the members to make it happen,” he said during a press conference following the meeting. “It was a very, very positive surprise. But it followed over a year of constructive discussions. Some of the recommendations were not easy for certain members to swallow. Some may have hoped for no recommendation or a different recommendation on a specific issue. So it was encouraging that regardless of their individual interests or positions, they were determined to make Olympic Agenda 2020 a success.”