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IUCN and The Ocean Race join forces in unique partnership

by The Ocean Race 8 Jun 14:05 BST
The Ocean Race is the premiere fully-crewed, around the world race. Visiting 10 international cities, the Race provides a unique combination of top-level sport and Racing with Purpose, through its award-winning sustainability programme. © Amory Ross / 11th Hour Racing

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has established a unique collaboration with The Ocean Race to work together to organise impactful sports events and global activities that will amplify awareness towards sustainability.

This alliance between the world's largest environmental organisation and network and the leading international ocean racing event will, by using the power of sport, provide the global drive and focus for a broader understanding of key environmental issues.

IUCN is composed of over 1,200 member organisations from across 208 states and government agencies and civil society groups. It benefits from the input of more than 15,000 experts and is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

The Ocean Race, with the support of 11th Hour Racing, the Founding Partner of its award-winning sustainability programme, Racing with Purpose, acts as a catalyst of positive change to help restore ocean health by addressing the issues head on, and developing a roadmap to inspire action and create tangible outcomes.

"We are delighted to be able to announce this collaboration on World Oceans Day, especially in 2020, which has been underlined as a critical year for Nature," says Richard Brisius, Race Chairman, The Ocean Race. "With the global pandemic pushing the pause button on most of the key environmental summits that were due to be held this year, it is critical that as ocean advocates, we join forces to increase global awareness of the very real issues that are facing both the Ocean and Nature as a whole."

Since 1973, The Ocean Race has provided the ultimate test of a team and a human adventure like no other. Over four decades it has kept an almost mythical hold over some of the greatest sailors and been the proving ground for legends in the sport.

This is very much a two-way relationship that will allow The Ocean Race, one of the world's toughest ocean challenges, to use its global platform of millions of social media followers to magnify the key ocean messages to its audience, as well as support IUCN to energise world opinion providing the opportunity for a broader understanding of our complex environmental issues.

In turn, the IUCN organisation is central to the global environmental discussion and keen to encourage and support a wider understanding of these issues. Through their network of policymakers and key influencers, both entities will be able to develop initiatives to encourage joined-up thinking and collaborative action.

"The global pandemic has given us the opportunity to stop, recharge, rethink and refocus on what we want the world to look like. It has shown what is important is a shared focus on what we should prioritise as a community. Working with an organisation such as The Ocean Race gives us a unique opportunity to drive increased public awareness of sustainability and related matters," comments Minna Epps, Director of IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme.

"The collaboration will allow both IUCN and The Ocean Race to create mutual initiatives for common areas of action and work together to enhance the outreach and engagement of each initiative. During the course of The Ocean Race, IUCN will be able to help us identify, for example, the key local conservation NGOs at each stopover city, so that we are able to work with them to develop a sustainable legacy from the Race. We will also be looking to see how we can support the IUCN Science programme reach a wider audience, as well as integrate this into our existing science and learning programme," concludes Brisius.

Relay4Nature, instigated by Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary General's Envoy for Oceans that sits in the custodianship of The Ocean Race, with the ambition to connect and communicate the ambitions of the key environmental summits, will be one of the initiatives in the partnership. This global relay event will start from the rescheduled 2020 IUCN Conservation Congress that will be held in Marseille, France, from 7-15 January 2021.

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