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New IUCN guide sets out biodiversity roadmap for sports community

2018-04-11 08:42:00

Endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a new guide entitled Sport and Biodiversity aims to help sports organisations better understand how their activities impact on nature and identify new opportunities to enhance conservation.

Produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the world’s leading organisation for biodiversity conservation – Sport and Biodiversity was officially unveiled on 9 April during a workshop hosted by the IUCN at its offices in Switzerland. The event was attended by the IOC and a number of International Federations (IFs).

Sustainability drive

The IOC has been working closely with the IUCN since 2016, and the new guide is a tangible outcome resulting from the IOC’s Sustainability Strategy, which maps out a detailed action plan to address specific recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap.

“This guide produced by the IUCN is an example of our partnership in action,” commented Christophe de Kepper, Director General of the IOC.

“It provides an excellent overview of the synergies between sport and biodiversity and is a valuable complement to our own Sustainability Strategy arising from Olympic Agenda 2020.”

The guide offers practical advice and specific examples of how sport can make a positive contribution to nature conservation. These include preserving green spaces, enhancing natural habitats in urban environments, sharing biodiversity data collected during the development of venues, and supporting carbon offset projects that will also generate biodiversity benefits. The guide also outlines how decision-makers involved in all aspects of the sports industry – from planning and building venues to staging events – can reduce and avoid impacts on biodiversity.

Alliance between sport and nature

“From restoring degraded land in cities to preserving protected areas, the global sports industry is uniquely placed to help protect biodiversity on a scale that ranges from the local to the global,” said IUCN Director General Inger Andersen.

“Strengthening the alliance between sport and nature can provide a powerful contribution to halting biodiversity loss, ensuring a healthy environment that benefits all of society.”

The intention is that a broad range of stakeholders involved in the planning and implementation of sporting events will benefit from the guidance offered, including city authorities, planners, architects, venue owners, government officials, national and international sports federations and local organising committees.

The guide is the first in a series of publications that the IUCN will produce as part of its partnership with the IOC. Under the collaborative agreement, the IUCN has already provided key input on the Candidature Process for the Olympic Games 2024 and a range of other areas related to the IOC’s Sustainability Strategy.

Duty of care

“Our mutual goal is to work together to foster better understanding and protection of biodiversity through sport,” said De Kepper of the collaboration between the IOC and IUCN.

“We believe that everyone in the sporting community has an important duty of care – or stewardship – towards the natural environment and for protecting biodiversity. It is part of our natural world and a vital part of what makes sport so special.

“We hope this guide will inspire the sporting world to take a closer look at how their sports activities interact with the natural environment, and what they can do to foster biodiversity conservation.”

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