FISA-WWF Strategic Alliance

Committing to Clean Water

With the increasing pressures on our environment and countless experts alerting us to impending crises, it is worth remembering that there is just one natural resource on which all life on our planet depends - but which most of us take for granted: H2O - Water.  But for the 1.1 billion people who currently have no access to safe, drinking water, and the 4 billion for whom WWF projects it will be a scarcity by 2050, this shortage is a matter to be taken very seriously.
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For this reason, any single body of fresh, clean water is already sought after by many different groups, whether by flora, fauna, industry, agriculture, municipalities or, those who just like to row.

Rowing is a clean water sport, and so rowers have a number of very good reasons to be part of the "Clean water movement". On the one hand, our sport and its future depend on it; but on the other hand, we cannot be selfish in our approach to its use.  As a sports federation, FISA believes that we all have a responsibility to apply environmentally-sustainable practices in the use and management of water. But we must do more and we must encourage others to do the same.  

Fortunately, we have a great number of knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic people within our rowing family around the globe. And we know that sport is a very powerful means of communication to all age groups.  So FISA has decided not to just take part in the debate, but to take a leadership position.
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In 2011 we commenced a Strategic Alliance with WWF International (World Wide Fund for Nature). WWF is the world’s largest and most respected independent nature conservation organisation, with more than 5 million supporters and a network active in more than 100 countries across all continents. Since its creation in 1961, it has maintained a constant record of success. Today, WWF runs about 1,300 projects around the world at any one time and employs more than 5,400 people worldwide. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

Significantly, WWF is working to protect freshwater ecosystems and improve water access, efficiency, and allocation for people and the environment, which is why our partnership is a perfect fit in promoting clean water, one of the main priorities of WWF.

 

How will World Rowing contribute?

By raising awareness about the many issues relating to Clean Water, we and all rowers should be seen as “Ambassadors” for a cause that affects every human being on our planet. And with a Call for Action for all rowers to do something about improving the health and / or management of water bodies, we will demonstrate that we stand by this belief:

a.    We will communicate Clean Water messages in conjunction with all coverage of our World Rowing regattas. This will include televised banner signage and references to its significance in interviews, articles and publications.
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b.    We will continue to improve rowing’s sustainable event management practices. In fact, with input from WWF’s experts, FISA’s Environment Working Group has already updated and re-published our Environmental Sustainability Policy & Guidelines and it is our joint objective to further improve them to the extent that they become “Best in Class” for venue development and event organisation.

c.    We will engage our many different rowing communities and our privileged relationship with so many schools and universities, to help educate and convince others about the importance of sustainably managing our water resources.

d.    We shall encourage all our national federations their clubs and all their individual members to engage in joint implementation of local initiatives relating to water – and, we want to know about them, build a data base of good ideas and make this available to the rowing world.
 

What can YOU do?

It neither matters what kind of rower you are and to which rowing organisation you belong, nor does it matter where you live, what language you speak or where you row. It only matters that you respond to this call for action and feel a sense of stewardship towards the water on which you row, both for yourself and others after you. Here are some ideas:
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a.    If you are a rower
i.     Read our 10 tips towards a greener boathouse and cleaner water in your rowing environment and start to make them part of your boathouse behaviour.
ii.    Speak to your club captain or environmental officer about implementing a clean water policy in your rowing club.
iii.    Be featured on WorldRowing.com! Let us know about any “Clean Water” projects or initiatives in which you or your school, university or club is involved in, that will help to raise awareness about, or improve the health of, that water and you could be our feature club on WorldRowing.com/environment.

b.    If you are also a Club President or Event Organiser, etc.
i.     Read our 10 tips towards a greener boathouse and cleaner water in your rowing environment.
ii.    Integrate a Clean Water theme into your regattas; encourage awareness amongst the officials, participants, volunteers and the public.
iii.   Organise a range of activities such as the cleaning of lake/riversides, and environmental awareness campaigns
iv.    Tell us YOUR story about the progress you make and any tips you may have with us and we could feature your club on WorldRowing.com/environment.

c.    If you represent a National Federation
i.    Translate the Environmental Sustainability Policy & Guidelines into your language and distribute as a booklet to as many rowing clubs and rowing schools etc., in your territory as is possible.
ii.    Make contact with your national WWF office and consider a local co-operation to help communicate and promote the Clean Water cause. And if you inform World Rowing of your intentions, they can give advice and examples of other, successful local co-operations.
iii.   Promote Clean Water tips to your clubs and on your website, and encourage them to submit their Clean Water stories to WorldRowing.com/environment.
 

Publications, materials and links that we think you might find useful

Along with the WWF, FISA's Environmental Working Group has developed a number of documents that we hope you will find helpful in understanding our committment to clean water and the part people involved in our sport can play in preserving this precious resource. Please CLICK HERE to find out more!

To find out more about WWF's work to preserve our planet's freshwater ecosystems CLICK HERE.