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.
IUCN and the IOC work together to ensure conservation and sustainability are integrated into the bids of the candidate cities competing to hold the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. IUCN's Business and Biodiversity Programme reviews 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 reviews their biodiversity conservation and restoration plans, and provides advice on the risk analysis process.
IUCN also provides 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 Olympic Games. So far, IUCN has reviewed the information related to the Summer Olympic Games 2024 and 2028, and the Winter Olympic Games 2026.
Develop best practices for the sport industry
In addition, IUCN develops guides focusing on how the sports industry can mitigate its impacts on biodiversity and capture opportunities for conservation. The first guide, introducing the linkages between sport and biodiversity, was published in 2018. A second guide, focused on mitigating the biodiversity impacts of new sport venues, was published in 2019. A third guide, exploring the potential impacts on biodiversity associated with sporting events, will be published later this year.
Other areas of collaboration
Also, separate from the collaboration agreement, IUCN’s Director General is a member of the IOC's Sustainability and Legacy Commission, which provides strategic advice to the IOC and the Olympic Movement.