In an effort to leave a positive mark in the UAE, SailGP has chosen Goumbook’s “Trees Matter – Restoration and Reforestation” initiative as their “Official Impact Project” for Season 4. This collaboration kicked off during the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which took place on January 13 and 14, 2024.
To raise awareness about the importance of mangrove ecosystems, a group of Inspire Candidates and SailGP athletes engaged in a unique awareness activation in January. Navigating the mangroves on Abu Dhabi’s Jubail Island by kayak, participants delved into the intricacies of this unique ecosystem, learning about the vital role these special trees play in environmental health. The event culminated with the symbolic planting of mangrove saplings, fostering a hands-on connection to the restoration and preservation efforts.
SailGP has committed to planting 1,400 mangrove trees in the UAE throughout the sailing season. Volunteers planted some saplings during the awareness activation, while the remaining trees will be gradually added to existing mangrove forests across the UAE. All trees planted will be reported as part of the UN Trillion Trees Campaign, underlining the global significance of this initiative.
As part of SailGP’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, Goumbook’s founder, Tatiana Antonelli, was invited to contribute to the Champions for Change event in Abu Dhabi in January under the theme “The Second Half – The Race for the Future”. Speaking at the Nature and Oceans panel, she shared insights into the critical role of mangroves in environmental conservation. Champions for Change is SailGP’s global thought leadership network, fostering collaboration among leaders and sustainability champions to address climate action and inclusivity in sports, and Goumbook contributed with insights into the organization’s work for mangrove conservation in the UAE.
By choosing “Trees Matter” as their Official Impact Project in the UAE, SailGP align themselves with the UAE government’s national target to plant 100 million mangrove trees by 2030, contributing significantly to this ambitious environmental goal. Mangrove ecosystems offer numerous benefits, from providing coastal protection and supporting biodiversity to sequestering carbon and promoting sustainable fisheries and ecotourism opportunities. Educating stakeholders, including SailGP athletes and the wider community, about the importance of mangrove trees for mitigating and adapting to climate change is crucial.
The link between a global sailing league and ocean protection is evident: With a mission to be the world’s most sustainable and purpose-driven sports league, SailGP recognizes the role it plays in inspiring change and raising awareness about marine protection. The collaboration between SailGP and Goumbook’s “Trees Matter” initiative exemplifies the power of sports in driving positive impact. By supporting Goumbook’s efforts in mangrove restoration, SailGP not only contributes to local initiatives to preserve natural resources but also amplifies the message of the potential for global sports events to be catalysts for positive change.