FIFA Council member Isha Johansen talks climate change and football at COP26

3 Nov 2021

FIFA Council member Isha Johansen has addressed the COP26 summit about the importance of taking action on climate change and the role football can play. Attended by many world leaders, the COP26 summit in Glasgow is considered a crucial assembly after a recent United Nations stating that climate change is a "code red for humanity". ”We are at this critical moment in time [where] we need to accelerate and intensify climate action,” said Johansen, the long-serving president of the Sierra Leone Football Association and one of the few women to have headed a national football association. “And as the FIFA President announced today, FIFA has developed a comprehensive climate strategy, which continues to put our intention into action.

“FIFA is resolutely committed to investing substantial resources towards helping FIFA and football reach the ambitious yet thoroughly necessary objectives and principles of the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action [Framework]. These being to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and to reach net-zero by 2040. “Ladies and gentlemen, we need to do more. This is not the first time, or we’re not just starting now. In 2016, FIFA was one of the first sporting institutions, establishments to team up with the UNFCCC. “Football has the power to radically shift mindsets on climate change and mainstream climate action, and these are the main reasons why we urge our stakeholders, particularly our football fans who are major stakeholders, to join us in working towards changing the mindset and seeing what it is that we can do together as a team. “More than 3.5 billion people watched the [FIFA] World Cup in Russia in 2018, and with 1.1 billion tuning in to watch the Women’s [World Cup] in France, in 2019, we have a huge and massive, attentive and receptive audience. And with this audience and this platform, we can send, we can amplify key messages that will help to educate fans on climate change and encourage them to play their part in protecting the planet and this beautiful game. “There isn’t much more that I can say that hasn’t already been said by FIFA President Infantino, but what I would like to add is we are all players on this massive, big stage. One of my favourite authors is Shakespeare. ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’”