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Sports for Climate Action: a movement for climate action


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) set up a framework agreement “Sports for Climate Action” in 2018. According to Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu, Lead Sports for the UNFCCC, this agreement aims “to support and guide sports actors in achieving global climate change goals”.


Simon Laville, Project officer, Sport and Citizenship Think Tank

The “Sports for Climate Action” framework agreement has two objectives: achieving a clear trajectory for the global sports community to combat climate change, through commitments and partnerships; using sports as a unifying tool to federate and create solidarity among global citizens for climate action.

To do this, sports organisations need to take responsibility for their climate footprint, which will ultimately incentivise climate action beyond the sport sector. For Lindita Xhaferi-Salihu, this agreement should encourage signatories to develop their own sustainability strategies and include environmental considerations in their decision-making. By joining the movement, participants commit to adhere to a set of five principles developed by the United Nations and report back annually on the efforts and actions undertaken to reach the final goals. In 2021, 5 years after the start of the initiative, over 280 sports organisations across the world were committed to attaining the priority objectives which aim to bring sport into line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.


“ Halving emissions by 50% by 2030 and aiming to achieve net zero by 2040 ”


The organisations are faced with the challenge of halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2040. In order to do this, Sports for Climate Action has made a platform available to all the organisations, to ensure that climate actions are carried out coherently and collaboratively, to ensure genuine cooperation between members and to provide tools in common areas of interest. Various campaigns have also been launched to unite organisations behind this issue and refine the different roadmaps. In 2021, the United Nations launched the “Race to Zero” campaign to incite leaders of non-governmental bodies to work in for the climate and a zero-carbon world. Various sport organisations took part, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who “immediately invited every other sport organisation to follow this example”.


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Journal 53, sport and citizenship 53

Sport et citoyenneté