News: October 2017

United Nations Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) Dialogue on Sport and Climate Action in Bonn, Germany

Michael Pedersen accepted an invitation to participate in United Nations Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) Dialogue on Sport and Climate Action. The Dialogue took place at the UNFCCC headquarters in Bonn, Germany on 30-31 October 2017, just before the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23).

Bringing together approx. 40 experts from across sports, countries and stakeholder groups, the Dialogue was focused on identifying collaborative approaches and platforms required for sport to play its important role in achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On the basis of the Dialogue, a Climate Action in Sport Programme is expected to be launched at COP24 in Katowice, Poland in December 2018 with the signing of a Climate Declaration for Sport.

During the two-day Dialogue, Michael Pedersen particularly advocated the further development of approaches to utilize the unique power of sport in engaging athletes and fans in the fight against catastrophic climate change. He also shared the very promising initial results from a global project that he is leading, which seeks to create a tool for sport event organizers and athletes to become very effective in motivating fans to change their behaviours in support of the fight against catastrophic climate change.

In her keynote address in the context of the Dialogue, Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Director, said:“Just like athletes need a strong foundation to compete at their very best, the planet is no different. We need the right conditions to maintain peak performance. For too long we have treated the planet as if we are in a sprint - using all our energy and resources in one short blast. We must understand that far from a sprint, we are, together, in the longest of marathons. And if we are to be successful over time, we must make a commitment to our own well-being and longevity.”

In conclusion of the Dialogue, it was agreed to initiate two work streams in the context of the proposed UNFCCC Climate Action in Sport Programme:

  • Reduce negative climate impact of sport events
  • Use sport as a positive public communication tool and unifying force to encourage fans to take individual action in support of fighting climate change

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