Attractions industry news

30 Jan 2018

World Rowing becomes first global sports body to commit to World Heritage protection

The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has become the first global sports body to make a commitment to World Heritage, teaming with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to protect endangered sites.

Developed as part of FISA’s Clean Water partnership with WWF and the WWF’s global campaign to strengthen the protection of natural World Heritage sites, the partnership puts into action a policy on natural and mixed World Heritage sites, which can be affected negatively when large sporting events are held there.

“Unesco World Heritage sites are some of our planet’s most special places,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International.

“Unfortunately, many are under threat, including from sports events and sports-related infrastructure. In pledging to respect them, FISA is showing real leadership.

"Our favourite sports must not risk these irreplaceable areas and their outstanding universal value to people and nature.”

According to FISA, the new policy will assess the potential effect of its events on such sites and their buffer zones and aim to reduce any impact. World Rowing also intends to raise awareness across the wider sport of rowing so that its member federations, governing bodies, clubs and regatta organisers understand how to avoid negative impacts on natural World Heritage sites and their buffer zones.

“As rowing is a sport that is intimately connected to nature, we recognise the importance of protecting natural sites,” said FISA president Jean-Christophe Rolland.

“World Rowing hopes that other international sporting organisations will follow in committing to preserve these areas of the world.”

Mechtild Rössler, director of the Unesco World Heritage Centre, added: “Unesco welcomes this landmark decision and we look forward to other sport federations and organisations in charge of large sports events, such as the International Olympic Committee, also taking on a similar commitment and putting such policies into practice.”

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