Presenting to an audience of over 200 from over 20 nations at the inaugural IRF World White Water Rafting Summit, Ian Ponce, Programme Officer of the UNFCCC Programme Secretariat, shared the five key principles of the UNFCC programme and introduced the Sports for Climate Change initiative.
Ian gave an overview of progress to date and highlighted that the IRF will take a lead as one of the two co-chairs of the working group for Principle 5: Advocate for climate action through communication.
The International Rafting Federation (IRF) is one of the initial leading sports federations to be signatories to this United Nations initiative. Fellow international federations (IFs) committed to this Climate Change initiative are the International Olympic Committee, Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), World Sailing, International Ski Federation (FIS), International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), 2020 Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), and World Surf League (WSL), amongst dozens of others.
The presentation followed on from IRF representative Sean Clarke’s attendance at the first working meeting of the UNFCC Sports for Climate Change in Lausanne, Switzerland in September, hosted by the International Olympic Committee at the Olympic Museum. The meeting was well attended by leading IFs where the ground work was set on defining the remit of each of the working groups to take on each of the Five Principles.
The IRF is committed to green and clean events and has led in the past with the first ever certified carbon neutral sports world championship with their 2011 World Rafting Championship in Costa Rica. The IRF are taking bold steps and working with event organisers to ensure that all their future World and Continental level championships abide by the ethos of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and ask that all event organisers commit to being carbon neutral through actions rather than paid carbon credits.
Changes are proposed to the IRF Race Rules for 2020 to introduce mandatory sustainability obligations on participants in addition to host organisers. The IRF are committed to saving our planet. Rafters can be the forefront for climate action. They see the devastating impacts of climate change every time they get on a river. It’s time to come together with all other sports and share experiences and take positive actions to limit or reverse the impact that humanity has on our planet.
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