The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has announced plans to follow up the launch of its sustainability programme last year with two major projects during the 2019 season as it continues to raise awareness of environmental issues.
The ICF will partner the organisers of the 2019 Canoe Slalom and Wildwater World Championships in Spanish town La Seu d'Urgell and the Junior and Under-23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Romanian city Pitesti to build on the project which was launched in Augsburg in Germany in 2018.
A workshop involving the ICF, the La Seu d'Urgell 2019 Organising Committee, key stakeholders and project supporters International Academy of Sport Science and Technology identified several key strategies which will be put into place for the Canoe Slalom and Wildwater World Championships from September 25 to 29.
A similar meeting with organisers of the Junior and Under-23 Canoe Sprint World Championships, due to be held from August 1 to 4, will take place later this month.
"We are absolutely thrilled to once again have enthusiastic and resourceful partners to help us raise awareness on this very important global issue," ICF sustainability manager Catherine Wieser said.
"Last year’s project in Augsburg was a great starting point.
"Now we have the involvement of the host organisers of two of the biggest events on the ICF’s 2019 calendar, which will help us showcase what our sport can do to help reduce our environmental footprint.
"Environmental sustainability is an important issue for our athletes, our volunteers and our broader canoeing community.
"As an experienced International Federation and a proud member of the Olympic family, we are excited to take a leading role in projects like this."
The chair of the La Seu d'Urgell 2019 Organising Committee, Ramon Ganyet, claims his team is looking forward to playing its part in creating a more sustainable canoe event.
"La Seu is such a beautiful location and the local community is very environmentally aware," he said.
"We love hosting major events like this and to also use this as a platform to promote ways to be more sustainable is a great opportunity for us.
"We have already had a fantastic workshop and the level of enthusiasm from everyone involved was fantastic.
"This is going to be a great partnership."
The ICF has demonstrated its commitment to the environment by joining several global initiatives, including the CleanSeas programme being run by the International Olympic Committee and United Nations Environment.
Two-time Olympian Mike Dawson of New Zealand canoed Africa’s fourth largest river, the Cuanza in Angola, to help raise awareness of the problem of plastics in the world’s waterways.
This year’s projects in La Seu d'Urgell and Pitesti intend to build on the foundations laid in Augsburg last year, using initiatives revolving around the three pillars of environment, economy and social.
These included promoting re-usable drink bottles, avoiding disposable items and food waste, providing local art and craft, and organising involvement from schools.
The organiser is teaming up with a local waste management company, Mobile Education Unit, which will provide an award for the most successful recycling team.
The Catalan Waste Agency will sponsor the sustainability programme approved jointly in the meeting, with the aim of recycling 80 per cent of waste generated and completely eliminating waste plastics.
"We want to improve our understanding of how host Organising Committees are involved in sustainable action, and how we can support them in the best manner," Wieser added.
"We will collect plenty of data during the events, including interviews with athletes and organisers, and will oversee an info session on sustainability as part of the event observer programme."