French rowing keeps environment on their agenda
The relationship between sports organisations and the environment is continually progressing. National rowing federations and rowing clubs are undertaking significant efforts to strengthen this link as the recent IOC Sport and Environment Award for Africa going to the Kenya Rowing and Canoe Association points out.
With Aiguebelette, France hosting the second World Rowing Cup for 2014 and also the 2015 World Rowing Championships, the sport of rowing highlights France's environmental agenda.
For more than 20 years the French Rowing Federation has had an environmental working group. This grew into a Sustainable Development in Sport policy following the French National Olympic Committee's realisation of Agenda 21, the United Nations action plan for sustainable development.
Pierre Trichet deals with environment and sustainability issues for the French Rowing Federation and he says the first concrete action was the campaign of awareness on the environment that was presented to educators and to young rowers. The programme was developed along with environmental and nature organisations. They monitor the flora and fauna as well as track what is happening to waste at rowing sites.
In 2008 the federation adopted the 'sustainable development chart.' This appears on the federation website and states the 'three pillars' for sustainable development. These include environmental, economic, social and also a fourth pillar that looks at governance. They show the understanding of the impact that rowing has on society.
The chart also recognises that sustainable development needs the support of everyone involved through shared experiences, shared resources and expertise in carrying out projects.
In practical terms every year during the 'National Sustainability Week' the French Rowing Federation helps rowing clubs mobilise to clean their sites and undertake other environmental initiatives.
The federation's sustainable development group works with other sports and tourism groups and is currently working to build a national 'Agenda 21' as well as keep building on sustainable experiences. The sustainable development points will be integrated into the regulations and guidelines of French rowing events.
"The preparation of the 2015 World Rowing Championship in Aiguebelette in respect to FISA's sustainable development guidelines is a great challenge for the French Federation," says Trichet. "This is all the more important because of the ecological value of this lake."
The French Rowing Federation is thus working closely with the International Rowing Federation to find the best solutions for the short and long term.