Tue 24 Oct 2023

WRC commits to protection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

WRC Promoter has pledged its commitment to the safeguarding of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) the first FIA championships and motorsport stakeholders to take this step. WRC Promoter joins World Rowing as the only sporting organisations having logged a commitment to protecting UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In 2022, WRC exemplified its dedication to steering towards a more sustainable future by becoming the first FIA World Championship to adopt 100 per cent sustainable fuels. This remarkable feat was coupled with the introduction of pioneering hybrid-powered Rally1 vehicles.


However, future-proofing rallying goes beyond more sustainable vehicles. With WRC and ERC events taking place in the natural environment, the practice of rallying holds a close connection with and an interest in securing healthy and well-preserved ecosystems, thus WRC Promoter´s commitment toward UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their outstanding universal value and foundation for ecosystems and biodiversity conservation.


In its capacity to formulate the WRC and ERC calendars, as well as its regulatory right of approval over event itineraries, WRC Promoter commits to not negatively impacting current and future designated natural and mixed UNESCO World Heritage Sites and their attached buffer zones.

Furthermore, by recognising both the potential negative impacts of sporting events and the ability of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to support sustainable development, WRC Promoter commits to implement, in current and future WRC and ERC events, a nature management tool – comprising of an impact and spatial risk assessment– when a competition activity takes place at a natural or mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site and/or their buffer zones.


Only competition activities at natural or mixed UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can demonstrate appropriate management against adverse impacts on their outstanding universal value will be maintained as part of the sporting itinerary of WRC and ERC events.


WRC Promoter also intends to raise awareness among spectators and other motorsport stakeholders on the importance and relevance of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and encourage the wider sport sector to work towards avoiding negative impacts on these sites and their buffer zones.

WRC Promoter Managing Director Jona Siebel said of the commitment: “As championships, the WRC and ERC traverse some of the most diverse and unique places in the world, relaying imagery around the globe of the incredible beauty we live in. Protecting the outstanding universal value of UNESCO World Heritage Sites through best practices, and educating our fans is integral to future-proofing our sport.”


For its part, the Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Mr. Lazare Eloundou Assomo, commented on WRC Promoter´s pledge: “Protecting UNESCO World Heritage sites for present and future generations is a shared responsibility. We warmly welcome the landmark commitment by WRC Promoter, the first motorsport stakeholder to pledge for the protection of UNESCO World Heritage sites. By taking this commitment, WRC Promoter recognises its responsibility to ensure these unique but fragile sites are not impacted by their sports events. We hope that this commitment will inspire other sports stakeholders to take similar steps.”


Head of Heritage and Culture at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Tim Badman added: “We are pleased that WRC Promoter is joining in the recognition of the shared responsibility in conserving the world’s most iconic places. This is an important step for the motorsports industry and sports more broadly to ensure they can continue to be enjoyed without harming our heritage.

WRC Promoter will assess the necessary steps and work closely with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and its advisory bodies (International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)) in order to expand its commitment to cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


WRC Promoter will work in synergy with all WRC and ERC event organisers in the implementation mechanisms of this commitment.

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