Unique initiative to link biodiversity with sports, worldwide

In a first-of-its-kind unique initiative to bring action for biodiversity from sports worldwide, 23 sports organisations, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a founding partner, and the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, have signed the Sports for Nature Framework.

Signatories to the Framework pledge to adhere to four key principles that will safeguard nature and contribute to the new global goals for biodiversity, which were later adopted by 196 countries under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the 15th Conference of the Parties meeting (COP15) in Montreal.

Co-created by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), IOC, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the Secretariat of the CBD, the Sports for Nature Framework aims to deliver transformative action for nature across sports, by 2030 and beyond.

The Framework brings together sports federations, leagues, clubs and events in a commitment to protect and avoid damage to important species and habitats, restore key ecosystems, create sustainable supply chains, and educate and inspire the wider sporting community to take action for nature.

Signatories to the Framework commit to develop and implement action plans for each of the four principles, and report on their progress annually to an expert panel who will confirm that the actions undertaken are credible and effective.

On behalf of the founding partners, IUCN will lead on coordination with the signatories to the Framework and provide signatories with technical support, tools and training in partnership with Sails of Change Foundation, a foundation dedicated to the protection and regeneration of biodiversity.

“There is an urgent need to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and everyone, including sports and recreation, must play a role. The Sports for Nature Framework is a step in the right direction. Thank you to the IOC, IUCN and UNEP for joining forces under the Convention on Biological Diversity in this ground-breaking initiative to bring action for biodiversity from sports worldwide,” said the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Mrema.

“It is encouraging to see this level of commitment from sports federations, leagues, clubs, and events, and I challenge all sports organisations to follow suit by taking urgent action for biodiversity.”

“The IOC believes everyone has a responsibility to care for the planet. As a founding partner of the Sport for Nature Framework, we want to help the sports community minimise any negative impacts on nature and inspire nature-positive action,” said IOC member Tricia Smith, participating in the launch.

“This commitment builds on the success of the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework, and the IOC’s own efforts to address the climate and biodiversity crises: reducing emissions by half by 2030, committing to a ‘no-go’ for any permanent Olympic construction within protected areas, setting high environmental standards for our food sourcing and creating an Olympic Forest to help restore degraded land in Mali and Senegal.”

More than 100 representatives from international federations, national Olympic committees, regional and national associations, local teams and athletes, along with experts from academia, non-government organisations, science advisors and sports sustainability consultants, provided input on the Sports for Nature Framework.

This input was gathered during six formal consultations during November 2022, as well as through an online form and one-on-one consultations.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

20221220-153003

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