The International Ski Federation (FIS) has faced a lot of criticism over the years from various quarters for its attitude towards protecting the environment.
However back in 1994 the organisation had met on the Island of Mainau in Constance, Germany, and agreed the “FIS Mainau Manifesto” which articulates the orgamisation’s commitment to supporting the sustainability of skiing through concern for nature and the environment.
This month leading experts in the area of sustainability and climate change gathered again from 20th to 22nd November on the Island of Mainau for the fourth edition of the FIS Mainau Forum. This included a forum “The Future of the Mountain Population”, organised by Environment Expert, Erwin Lauterwasser.
The Forum is reported to have reviewed the latest scientific knowledge related to climate change and its impact on mountain populations and ski sport; stress the need to step up to the challenges posed by climate change with tangible action; update the FIS Mainau Manifesto with the acquired knowledge and experience and define and action the responsibilities of FIS within the UN Sport for Action Framework.
The FIS’s outgoing president Gian Franco Kasper said “The forum achieved its objectives of focusing on climate change and the core responsibility in regard to the destiny of the mountain population, as well as reaching out to the science community to ask for their advice and expertise.”
Experts at The Forum pointed to the risks from sustained warming and a marked increase in the variability and persistence of weather patterns, which leads to more extremes. In the short-term it is possible to compensate with technological measures such as better predictions and machine-produced snow to combat the effect of climate change.
The Forum found that to ensure that the next generations of sports have an intact environment, sustainable concepts must be implemented. Technological and organisational innovations to adapt to the consequences of climate change are necessary to safeguard winter sports. Winter sports must also reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and promote CO2 reductions.
The FIS will publish the new Manifesto once it is finalised and accepted by the FIS Congress 2020.