IUCN recognises that sport can negatively impact biodiversity through land use to build permanent or temporary sports venues and facilities, as well as through the pollution, noise, waste, lighting, traffic and resource demand resulting from the staging of sporting events attended by hundreds or thousands of spectators. However, at the same time, sport, through its global reach, can be an important catalyst for raising awareness about the need for biodiversity conservation, and promoting and supporting efforts to enhance biodiversity.
Building on the successful collaboration during 2016, IUCN and the IOC have signed a four-year partnership from 2017-2020. Under the collaborative agreement, IUCN’s work focuses on two priority areas:
Support to the Olympic Games candidature process
Under the agreement, IUCN is supporting the Olympic Games candidature process as well as additional actions related to the IOC's sustainability strategy.
In 2016 and 2017, IUCN and the IOC worked together to ensure conservation and sustainability were integrated into the bids of the four candidate cities competing to hold the 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. IUCN's Business and Biodiversity Programme reviewed information the cities supplied on their natural environment, including areas key for biodiversity, and examined how they would manage air and water quality and energy resources, as well as their sustainable construction policies. IUCN also reviewed their biodiversity conservation and restoration plans, and provided advice on the risk analysis process.
In 2018, IUCN has also provided maps using the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) to support the initial contacts between IOC and the cities that are considering their candidature for the Winter Olympic Games in 2026.
Develop best practices for the sport industry
IUCN will also develop a series of guides focusing on how the sport industry can mitigate its impacts on biodiversity and capture the opportunities. The first guide is an overarching introduction of the linkages between sport and biodiversity. A second guide, which will be released at the end of 2018, will focus on the mitigation of biodiversity impacts associated to the construction of new venues. A third guide, planned for mid-2019, will focus on how to mitigate the impacts on biodiversity associated to sporting events.
Other areas of collaboration
IUCN’s Director General Inger Andersen is a member of the IOC's Sustainability and Legacy Commission, which provides strategic advice to the IOC and the Olympic Movement.