World Rowing pledges to protect UNESCO World Heritage sites

World Rowing has become the first sporting body to pledge to protect UNESCO World Heritage sites. The news comes shortly before the start of the Winter Olympics in Korea.

World Rowing has pledged to ensure its events and rowing activities under its control will not negatively impact on UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The sporting body is setting a new standard in sustainable sports management and demonstrating the critical role that all sports organizations can play in safeguarding the world’s most iconic places.

WWF supported the news in a statement, saying that UNESCO World Heritage sites are some of our planet’s most special places.

However, many of these sites are under threat from activities such as sports events and sports-related infrastructure.

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, commented in the statement: “In pledging to protect World Heritage sites, the World Rowing Federation is showing real leadership. Our favourite sports must not risk these irreplaceable areas and their outstanding value to people and nature.”

UNESCO World Heritage sites represent the world’s most ecologically, geologically and culturally important places.

While World Rowing’s venues do not impact directly on World Heritage sites, the organization’s pledge demonstrates the growing awareness of sports institutions of the impacts they can have on our global shared heritage, according to WWF.

World Rowing is the first sport to respond to concerns raised by UNESCO of past negative impacts by other sports on World Heritage sites.

“This commitment must be the start of a broader transition in sport. With the eyes of the world on the upcoming Winter Olympics, other sports must follow World Rowing in adopting policies that manage the risk of sports events and associated infrastructure developments on the environment,” concluded Lambertini.

Photo credit: Steve Burt/ CC BY-SA 2.0

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