inteRnational feDerations keep susTainability toP of tHe agendA at if Forum 2017
With over 350 delegates from 109 International Federations (IFs) and associate members, as well as 7 GAISF Observers, the 11th IF Forum in Lausanne focussed on “leading the way towards a sustainable agenda”.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach was in attendance as he and GAISF President Patrick Baumann signed a Memorandum of Understanding, and Bach took the time to speak about the importance of sustainability in sports competitions in his opening address.
“There has never been a better time to talk about sustainability in sport. This must be a team effort, no one organisation can do it alone,” Bach said. “We have to put sustainability in action, it is up to us, the IOC and each international federation, to put into practice these methods.”
President Baumann said that each IF had a responsibility to consider the sustainability of sporting competition, not just from an environmental angle but also the social and economic impacts which come from hosting events.
“GAISF has a clear duty of care, not only to the future of sport but also to our world and our environment. Sport must be sustainable for the next generation,” he said. “These past few days have allowed us to get to the core of some of the issues, and we have had some fantastic insight, not least from within our own organisation.”
From the International Golf Federation’s sustainable golf courses and World Rowing’s efforts to protect water, to FIFA’s presentation on human rights and the International Fencing Federation’s recycling of sports equipment, the second day of the conference was dedicated to practical examples from GAISF’s own members. There were also case studies presented by the IFs from equestrian, mountaineering, floorball, skiing and powerboating.
As well as these case studies, delegates also had the opportunity to hear talks from Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie, IKEA, Connect4Climate and the IOC’s Sustainability and Legacy Commission.
On the final day, interactive workshops encouraged delegates to think about sustainability in their current and future events. In closing, Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medallist and current World Rowing president Jean Christophe Rolland said that IFs should keep sustainability at the top of their agenda.
“Over the last three days we have heard some fantastic examples of what has already been done, and we have been sharing ideas and visions for the future. Now we must transform these challenges into opportunities together.”
GAISF first vice-president Raffaele Chiulli gave the closing remarks, where he reinforced the importance of focussing on sustainability to ensure a long-term strategy for hosting sports events.
“Now is the time for us to create a culture of sustainability with the sports movement. It must come from every international federation, from the most established to our newest members, and only then we will succeed.”
Delegates will now turn their attention to the Sport Accord Convention, which takes place on 14-15 April 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand.