Article | 24 Oct, 2023

IUCN welcomes first motorsports industry pledge to safeguard World Heritage

IUCN welcomes WRC Promoter’s commitment to safeguard World Heritage sites, making the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) the first FIA championships and motorsport stakeholders to take this pledge.

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Photo: IUCN Geoffroy Mauvais

The new commitment follows a process of dialogue with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) among other stakeholders, and follows the new UNESCO Guidance for the World Heritage ‘No-Go’ Commitment.

In their commitment, WRC Promoter pledges not to negatively risk nor impact current and future designated natural and mixed World Heritage sites, including their buffer zones, in the framework of the competition activities of the WRC and ERC championships.

Organizing more than 20 rallies around the world annually, the WRC and ERC collectively attract more than three million onsite spectators and a television audience of over 840 million people. With many rally events taking place in the natural environment, the practice of rallying holds a close connection and an interest in securing healthy and well-preserved ecosystems.

Kenya Lakes (pictured), is the location of the next championship that was identified in the screening process. WRC Promoter pledges to only allow competition activities that can demonstrate appropriate management against adverse impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of World Heritage sites, assessed in line with international best practice standards and with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context

“We are pleased that WRC Promoter is joining in the recognition of the shared responsibility in conserving the world’s most iconic places. This is an important step for the motorsports industry and sports more broadly to ensure they can continue to be enjoyed without harming our heritage,” said Tim Badman, Head of IUCN Heritage and Culture Team.

The pledge also includes WRC Promoter’s intention to raise awareness among spectators and other motorsport stakeholders on the importance of World Heritage sites, and encourage the wider sport sector to work towards protecting World Heritage sites.

WRC Promoter now joins the World Rowing Federation as the only two global sports associations with a commitment to protect World Heritage sites.