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International sport bodies unite to combat climate change

International sport bodies unite to combat climate change
September 20, 2019

Signatories of the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework gathered this week in Switzerland to define the next steps for the sports community in addressing climate change.

Their meeting at the Olympic Museum in the Swiss city of Lausanne, the first official gathering of the Framework’s participants, was hosted by the International Olympic Committee in advance of the UN Climate Summit which starts next week in New York.

Commenting on the meeting, Prince Albert II of Monaco, IOC Member and Chair of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, stated “at a time of unprecedented momentum in the crucial global fight against climate change, the sports community is proving, once again, that its power extends well beyond the field of play.

“The UN Sports for Climate Action Framework provides a perfect opportunity to use this power to help the world address the threats of climate change to our planet.”

IOC Director for Sustainability, Marie Sallois added “from the development of the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework through to its implementation, the IOC is proud to be working hand in hand with UN Climate Change and other sports organisations to define how the world of sport responds to the climate emergency.”

A UN Climate Change Initiative, the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework was co-developed by the IOC and launched at the UN climate talks (COP 24) in December 2018. It calls on the sports community to jointly develop a climate action agenda for sport, adhering to five principles: promoting greater environmental responsibility, reducing overall climate impact, educating for climate action, promoting sustainable and responsible consumption, and advocating for climate action through communication.

The meeting served as the official launch of the working groups tasked with the implementation of the Framework. The participants discussed the scope of the Framework’s principles, potential gaps, mechanisms for measuring impact and the level of involvement of the various sports organisations in their implementation.

80 sports organisations have joined the Framework so far, including 14 International Sports Federations (IFs) and the Organising Committees for the next three Olympic Games editions: Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024.

Niclas Svenningsen, Manager for Global Climate Action at UN Climate Change, concluded “there are few sectors that are as powerful in engaging people as sport.

“Bringing the sports community on board the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework has therefore been a high priority for us. The IOC’s leadership role in this process has been extremely valuable. We look forward to working closely together on the Framework’s implementation.”

The meeting took place in the lead-up to the UN Climate Action Summit, which will take place on 23rd September 2019 in New York. The Summit aims to boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change by showcasing concrete commitments from governments, businesses and civil society.

Sustainability is one of the three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020 – the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement – and climate change is a key element of the IOC’s sustainability work, in line with its vision of “building a better world through sport”. As the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC assists IFs and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in integrating sustainability within their operations, and empowers athletes to leverage their reach and influence to advance global sustainability.

Click here to view the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.

To find out more about the IOC’s work on sustainability, go to

Image: Signatories of the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework after their meeting at the Olympic Museum in the Swiss city of Lausanne this week.

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