top of page

Open letter to the IFSCNEOM Beach Games and IFSC environmental and ethical policy

Acts For Our Summits (ACTS

and the sport climbing community,

 

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF SPORT CLIMBING

www.ifsc-climbing.org

IFSC, Corso Vinzaglio 12, 10121, Torino, ITALY

+39 011 385 3995


    

                Dear Mr. Scolaris,

                Dear IFSC Council members and executive board, 

       From the 22nd to the 24th of November, the International Federation of Sport Climbing organized the IFSC NEOM Masters 2023 as part of the NEOM Beach Games, a sequence of sporting events strategically organized for the promotion of the overarching NEOM project. It is with great sadness and disappointment that we, the undersigned, learned of this event and its implications.

 

       NEOM is a $500 billion futuristic megacity project being built on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. Greenwashing (7), massive lobbying (3), expropriations (8,9,10),... According to Amnesty International and ALQST (independent Saudian human right NGO), NEOM is an ecological disaster and a violation of human rights (6,9,10).The climbing community cannot accept that its federation is promoting a project of the sort from the Saudi dictatorial regime (1,4). This project results in the violent expropriation of indigenous populations (10), the killing of political opponents (9) and the irreversible destruction of ecosystems. What was the opinion of the IFSC ethics commission when it was decided that climbing would be part of the NEOM Beach Games? 

       Moreover, this leads us to a more global environmentalist critique: our attachment to nature and respect for human dignity, inherent in our practice, compels us to ask the IFSC to take its responsibilities in the ongoing fight against the destruction of all living species.

 

       Through this event, we consider that the IFSC has not respected its proclaimed vision "to make the world a better place through sport climbing", its mission of "promoting Sport Climbing through sustainable events", and its value of "preserving the environment in organizing and promoting activities" (5).

 

       In full awareness of the urgent need to act upon climate change and the current ecological and social crisis (2), we, the climbing community, represented by the undersigned, call on the IFSC to readjust and respect its strategic plan 2020-2028 in order to better integrate the environmental and social issues we are facing.

 

       Our specific requests are outlined as follows:

    

  • The creation and financing of an independent Environmental and Ethical Committee in order to ensure the IFSC truly respects its ecological values. This committee would set up the strategy of the federation for its ecological transition, and report with transparency on the concrete completed actions, with the aim of respecting the Paris Agreement (COP21) and the framework of "Sports for Climate Action” (Sports for Climate Action | UNFCCC). This committee would also have the mission of quantifying the carbon footprint, environmental and social impact of IFSC events.

  • In terms of sponsoring and events, the renunciation of partnerships with companies that have a proven significant negative ecological and human impact (sector with high GHG emissions: fossil fuels, aviation, automobiles; waste generators: single-use plastic; food products harmful to health, etc.). Thus, we ask the IFSC to end its partnership with "Japan Airlines" and "Toyo Tires".

  • A requirement for all members of the IFSC board and its main stakeholders to participate in a substantial education program on the issues of the ecological and climate crisis, as well as a mandatory ecological awareness training module for international athletes and coaches. Guidelines and programs regarding the education and awareness of athletes and stakeholders from the different national federations should be created and implemented. 

       As a community, we strongly believe that climbing should remain an ethically exemplary sport. Please remember that Sport Climbing won’t be possible in a world “above 4°C” (2).

       The ecological crisis is the hardest climb we have faced, let's climb it together!

       Sincerely, 

They signed :

Public figures who joined:  

Tommy Caldwell, USA, Professional climber, conservationist, lobbyist

Adam Ondra, CZE, IFSC Athlete

Brooke Raboutou, USA, IFSC athlete, climbing legend

Catherine Destivelle, FRA, Climbing legend

Josune Bereziartu, ESP, Climbing legend

Kilian Jornet Burgada, ESP, Alpinist 

Alexander Megos, GER, IFSC Athlete

Margo Hayes, USA, former IFSC Athlete and professional climber

Angy Eiter, AUS, Climbing Legend

Solènne Piret, FRA, IFSC Athlete

Laura Rogora, ITA, IFSC Athlete

Campbell Harrison, AUS, IFSC Athlete and Paris 2024 Olympian 

Jesse Grupper, USA, IFSC Athlete and Paris 2024 Olympian 

Sascha Lehmann, SWI, IFSC athlète

Hannah Meul, DEU, IFSC Athlete

Molly Thompson-Smith, UK, IFSC athlete

Heidan Roberts, UK, professional climber

Sasha DiGiulian, USA, professional climber
Liv Sansoz, FRA, Former climbing world champion
Eva Lopez-Rivera, ESP, climbing legend and coach
Stéphanie Bodet, FRA, climber and writter
Florence Pinet, FRA, IFSC setter and ex-pro climber
Nina Williams, USA, professional climber

Simon Lorenzi, BEL, IFSC Athlete

Paul Jenft, FRA, IFSC Athlete

Manon Hily, FRA, IFSC Athlete

Filip Schenk, ITA, IFSC athlete

Marcello Bombardi, ITA, IFSC athlete

Camille Pouget, FRA, IFSC Athlete

Julia Chanourdie, FRA, IFSC Athlete and professional climber

Hannes Vanduysen BEL, IFSC Athlete

Nailé Meignan, FRA, IFSC Athlete

Nao Monchois, FRA, IFSC Athlete

Katherine Choong, SUI, Professional climber and IFSC Athlete

Nicolas Collin, BEL, IFSC Athlete

Ties Vancraeynest, BEL, IFSC Athlete
Caroline Ciavaldini, FRA, professional climber and former IFSC Athlete

Tina J. Hafsaas, NOR, IFSC Athlete and Bsc Ecology

Thomas Joannes, FRA, IFSC Athlete

Didier Berthod, SUI, Climbing Legend

Jorge Díaz-Rullo Calvo, ESP, Professional climber

Marine Thevenet, FRA, top mondial boulderer

Lempereur Sven, BEL, IFSC Athlete

Antoine Kauffman, BEL, Youth Belgium national coach
Nicolas Favresse, BEL, Professional climber

Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll, IRL Professional climber 

Julia Cassou, FRA, Professional photographer

James Pearson, UK, Professional climber

Symon Welfringer, FRA, Professional climber and Alpinist

Caroline Sinno, FRA, professional climber

Siebe Vanhee, BEL, Professional climber

Anthony Gullsten, FIN, Professional climber

Bronwyn Hodgins, CAN, Professional climber

Robbie Phillips, UK, Professional Climber and Filmmaker

Arnaud Petit, FRA, Professional climber and High mountain guide
Lena Müller, GER, Professional climber and ecologist

Emma Twyford, UK, Professional climber

Lionel Daudet, FRA, Mountaineer/adventurer/writer

Sofie Paulus, GER, Climber, researcher, coach

Frank Kretschmann, GER, Professional filmmaker and production company for outdoors

Christophe Dumarest, FRA, Professional climber and High mountain guide

Xavier Cailhol, FRA, High mountain guide

Diego Fourbet, FRA, IFSC climber

Natalie Bärtschi, SWI, IFSC athlete
Romaric Geffroy, FRA, IFSC athlète
Eva Hammelmüller, AUS, IFSC athlete
Arsène Duval, FRA, IFSC athlète
Jules Marchaland, FRA, IFSC athlète

Andrea Kümin, SWI, IFSC athlete
Jordi Poles, FRA, IFSC athlete
Kintana Iltis, FRA, IFSC athlete
Guillaume Moro, FRA, IFSC athlete
Martina Demmel, DEU, IFSC athlete
Savina Nicelli, ITA, IFSC Athlete
Sandeck Fin, DEU, IFSC athlete

Mattea Pötzi, AUS, IFSC athlete
Clemence Julien, SWI, IFSC athlete

Michael Piccolruaz, ITA, IFSC athlete

Louison Burtin, FRA, climber

….

Organizations (company, NGO, federation ...) or media: 

Belgian Alpine Club (CAB)

Patagonia

Éditions du Mont-Blanc

Kilian Jornet Foundation

Protect Our Winters

Resilience Montagne
Le Camp de Base
El Capp Fest

Edelrid
Mountain-Riders 

Allez! Podcast

Game Earth Fund 

Yak Media

Le pont de Monvert

Kayoo Youtube channel
Aroyo résilience

The Enormocast
Ecopoint Frankenjura 

Boulderhalle E4 

GREENSPITS
Une bouteille à la mer
HORUS - sustainability consulting

CEO Sport 1.5
Fanatic Climbing
Squamish Earth First
Women's Bouldering Festival

L'Escale

Au Perchoir

Clean Climber France

Vertige Media

WOGU

Planet Mountain

Vent Debout

Wildflower Climbing Foundation

Drafting editorial group:


Nolwen Berthier, professional french climber and ecologist
Soline Kentzel, french climber and activist
Sébastien Berthe,  professional belgian climber and activist
Tess Rougemont, french climber and activist
Romane Baze, french climber and activist
Hugo Parmentier, professional french climber and activist
ACTS governing board

WE ARE ALREADY:

Bibliography

    

  1. Amnesty International. « Arabie saoudite : la situation des droits humains ». Consulté le 28 novembre 2023. https://www.amnesty.org/fr/location/middle-east-and-north-africa/saudi-arabia/report-saudi-arabia/.

  2.  Calvin, K., Dasgupta, D., Krinner, G., Mukherji, A., Thorne, P. W., Trisos, C., Romero, J., Aldunce, P., Barrett, K., Blanco, G., Cheung, W. W. L., Connors, S., Denton, F., Diongue-Niang, A., Dodman, D., Garschagen, M., Geden, O., Hayward, B., Jones, C., … Péan, C. (2023). IPCC, 2023 : Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, H. Lee and J. Romero (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland. (First). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). https://doi.org/10.59327/IPCC/AR6-9789291691647

  3. Caramazza, G. (2020, juin 25). Saudi spends $1.7 million on NEOM megacity PR plan. Https://Www.Newarab.Com/; The New Arab. https://www.newarab.com/news/saudi-spends-17-million-neom-megacity-pr-plan

  4. Human Rights Watch. « Arabie saoudite: Événements de 2022 ». In Rapport mondial 2023, 2023. https://www.hrw.org/fr/world-report/2023/country-chapters/saudi-arabia.

  5. « IFSC UNVEILS 2020-2028 STRATEGIC PLAN ». Consulté le 28 novembre 2023. https://www.ifsc-climbing.org/index.php/news/400-ifsc-unveils-2020-2028-strategic-plan.

  6. Musset, A. (2023). Neom et The Line (Arabie saoudite) utopie futuriste ou cauchemar urbain ? L’Information géographique, 87(1), 139 161. https://doi.org/10.3917/lig.871.0139

  7. NEOM : Made to Change. (s. d.). Consulté 28 novembre 2023, à l’adresse https://www.neom.com/en-us

  8. Saudi Arabia : ALQST documents worsening judicial harassment against Al-Howaitat members protesting NEOM megaproject; incl. co. responses. (s. d.). Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Consulté 28 novembre 2023, à l’adresse https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/saudi-arabia-al-qst-documents-worsening-judicial-harassment-against-al-howaitat-members-protesting-neom-megaproject-incl-co-responses/

  9. Saudi Arabia : Mass demolitions and forced evictions marred by violations and discrimination. (2022, juin 22). Amnesty International. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/06/saudi-arabia-mass-demolitions-and-forced-evictions-marred-by-violations-and-discrimination/

  10. The Dark Side of Neom : Expropriation, expulsion and prosecution of the region’s inhabitants. (2023, février 16). https://alqst.org/post/the-dark-side-of-neom-expropriation-expulsion-and-prosecution

bottom of page