UNESCO welcomes the first-ever motorsport commitment to safeguard World Heritage: WRC Promoter

Tuesday, 24 October 2023
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WRC Promoter, the company responsible for the promotion of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) World Rally Championship (WRC) and European Rally Championship (ERC), has announced a commitment to safeguard natural and mixed UNESCO World Heritage sites, making it the first-ever motorsport organization to pledge its support to World Heritage. WRC Promoter will also assess the steps needed towards expanding its commitment to cultural sites included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Organizing more than 20 rallies around the world annually, the WRC and ERC collectively attract more than three million onsite spectators and a television audience of over 840 million people. With many rally events taking place in the natural environment, the practice of rallying holds a close connection and an interest in securing healthy and well-preserved ecosystems. WRC Promoter has therefore committed to avoid damage to natural and mixed UNESCO World Heritage sites and their buffer zones.

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 recognizes 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.”

WRC Promoter will apply its Nature Management Tool, a type of impact and spatial risk assessment, whenever its rally events could affect natural or mixed UNESCO World Heritage sites. These studies are guided by Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessment in a World Heritage Context and the UNESCO guidance for the World Heritage ‘No-Go’ commitment: global standards for corporate sustainability. Only activities that can demonstrate appropriate management against adverse impacts on the sites’ Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and positively contribute to their protection will be maintained.

The World and European Rallycross Championships 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 World Heritage sites through best practices, and educating our fans is integral to future-proofing our sport”.

WRC Promoter also intends to raise awareness among its rally spectators and other motorsport stakeholders on the importance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as encourage the wider sports sector to work towards avoiding negative impacts on these sites.

About UNESCO’s engagement with the corporate sector and the World Heritage ‘no-go’ commitment: 

UNESCO has collaborated with the corporate sector for more than two decades to ensure that companies avoid damage to UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites from their business operations. It has resulted in more than 50 major public and private companies, industry associations and other corporate actors across various sectors taking a commitment to protect UNESCO World Heritage sites. Companies have often demonstrated this by adopting strategies and policies that respect UNESCO World Heritage sites as no-go areas for harmful activities, which is generally known as the World Heritage ‘no-go’ commitment.

For more information, visit: https://whc.unesco.org/en/no-go-commitment  

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre thanks the on-going support of the Government of Flanders in promoting its work on World Heritage and corporate sustainability.