IOC and UNEP oversee Mountain Summit to produce guide and ‘top tips’ for sustainable sports events to conserve mountain areas
Eleven sports federations and organisations will produce a guide promoting sustainable events in mountain regions to protect the under threat areas.
Federations, including the International Luge Federations, the International Ski Federation, the International Biathlon Federation, the International Cycling Federation and not-for-profit advocacy group Protect Our Winters Switzerland are among the organisations involved.
The coalition, known as the Mountain Summit, is being led by the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations Environment Programme. The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations, the International Federation of Sport Climbing, the International Slackline Association, the International Ski Mountaineering Federation, and the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation are also involved.
Marie Sallois, the IOC’s director for sustainability, said the guide and a ‘top tips’ for mountain protection also being produced will “facilitate exchanges of best practice” and provide the tools needed to minimise the negative impact sport can have on mountains.
According to statistics highlighted by the IOC, mountains occupy almost a quarter (22%) of the planet’s land area and are home to 13% of the world’s population.
Mountain tourism – which includes sporting activities like skiing, climbing and hiking – accounts for around 20% of the global tourism industry.
But mountain regions remain particularly fragile areas. The United Nations Environment Programme’s Waste Management Outlook for Mountain Regions estimates that 140,000kg of waste remains after 60 years of expeditions to Mount Everest in Nepal.
Mountain regions are also being adversely affected by climate change, with many ranges losing snow cover year-on-year.
“Mountains are less often in the spotlight than oceans when we talk about the environment, and yet they face serious threats from a wide range of human activities,” Sallois added.
The Mountain Summit is part of a larger portfolio of sustainability operations being led by the IOC, which has also taken a prominent role in the evolution of the UN Clean Seas initiative and the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework.