Posted on 25 September 2017
When the starting light turned green for the first time in Sarasota, Florida on September 24th, it signalled the beginning of not only the 2017 World Rowing Championships but also another major moment in the groundbreaking partnership between WWF and the World Rowing Federation (FISA).
While over 900 rowers from 69 countries will be straining every sinew to take home the medals, FISA and WWF will be continuing their global campaign to raise awareness about the need for urgent action to ensure enough clean water for people and nature.
“Just as rowers can only triumph by pulling together, FISA and WWF have achieved far more through this partnership than we could have alone,” said Stuart Orr, WWF Leader, Freshwater Practice.
“Along with memories of some remarkable races, millions of rowing fans now have a much clearer understanding of the main threats to the world’s clean freshwater supplies – and how we can tackle them,” added Orr.
Since its launch in 2011, the strategic alliance between the world’s oldest international sports federation and one of the largest independent conservation organizations has focused on the provision of clean water – a global priority for both partners.
And an absolutely critical issue for communities, businesses and governments around the world.
“Clean water for all is one of the key Sustainable Development Goals and FISA is committed to working with all our national federations and all the world’s rowers to help achieve it,” said Jean Christophe Rolland, President of FISA, which boasts 151 national rowing federations.
“Rowers support this campaign because training and competing in dirty water is not fun, but mainly because they know that polluted water resources are a matter of life and death – and that they can help to make a difference,” added Rolland.
Including ‘Partners for Clean Water’ banners at every televised World Rowing event is guaranteed to generate debate (and great photographs), as well as help to focus attention on the global clean water crisis and a host of other freshwater issues – including the development of the unique Kafue River & Rowing Centre (KRRC) in Zambia.
Adopted as a priority project by both FISA and WWF, the Centre will provide an opportunity for water management research, education and training, for students and local communities to learn more about the river and water use in general, and to help develop the sport of rowing in this region.
“The Centre involves an important collaboration to improve water management strategy worldwide and will have a tangible impact on the lives of people in the Kafue region,” said Kim Brennan, Australia’s former World and Olympic Champion.
After visiting the site in Zambia, Brennan said, “More than anything I learned that clean water is about the people. It is about learning and stewardship. Rowing is a great fit in the partnership – it teaches joy, teamwork and pride in water.”