The IOC takes a new climate-positive step in Africa with its 'Olympic One' project

The IOC takes a new climate-positive step in Africa with its 'Olympic One' project

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday announced the details of its “Olympic Forest” project, under the Great Green Wall initiative, which aims to restore degraded landscapes in Mali and Senegal.

The project will involve planting around 355,000 native trees across approximately 90 villages in both the African countries – host of the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026 – and will cover a combined area of around 2,120 hectares.

The IOC aims to work hand in hand with local communities to contribute to their food and economic security. “The Olympic Forest will support communities in Mali and Senegal by increasing their climate resilience, food security and income opportunities, and will help the IOC become climate positive already by 2024. The Olympic Movement is about building a better world through sport,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The project, which will be helped by Tree Aid, will also increase local biodiversity and enable sustainable agricultural practices, such as agroforestry, and the commercial use of non-timber products, such as nuts, fruits and fibres.

The IOC has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2024, and by 45 percent by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement. The Olympic Forest will help IOC become “climate positive” by 2024 by compensating for more than 100 percent of the organisation’s residual emissions.

In addition to its own efforts to become climate positive, the IOC announced in March 2020 that all Olympic Games will be required to be climate positive from 2030 onwards – removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit.