The annual edition of the Global Canal Rowing Action was held last weekend in Dubai on the occasion of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28).

 Cities around the world, such as Yangzhou, China, as the origin city of the Grand Canal, or Dubai, UAE, joined hands on the same day to promote the canal culture and the concept of low-carbon environmental protection for sustainable development.

According to Ken Lee, co-initiator of the Global Canal Rowing Action, this year’s event started from Yangzhou to America and Africa, and completed the year-round event on the canal in Dubai on December 2. “This year our action has reached more than 160 cities in 34 countries and regions, with more than 7,000 people participating, to jointly convey the environmental protection concept of “zero carbon, clean water”.

The grand finale was held in Dubai during the COP 28. On this occasion, the “GCRA 100+ Cities Finale @ Dubai UAE”, the most important and influential event of the 2023 Global Canal Rowing Action, saw a parade of rowing boats in the Dubai Marina – including a quadruple sculls stroked by World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland.

By sharing the same value of sustainability and cultural exchanging, we collaborate with the UAE Rowing and Sailing Federation and Dubai Marine to expand the influence of the Sustainability Campaign – Global Canal Rowing Action said Ken Lee. “We hope that through rowing, we can call more people to pay attention to the issue of climate change”, added Wang Shi, founder of Vanke Group and initiator of the Global Canal Rowing Action.

On the very same day, the COP 28 ushered in the “Canal Day” event, themed on “Canal City-Eye of the Climate Change Storm” on the 3rd in its official side event agenda, to discuss the sustainable development of canal cities in the eye of the climate change storm. Jean-Christophe Rolland took the Global Canal Rowing operation launched by Wang Shi, the founder of “Biosphere 3” in 2021, as an example.

This operation combines people and nature, people and sports, communication among the public, and it arouses people’s awareness of protecting water resources while rowing. Awareness is the first step and we must engage more people in this huge challenge of climate change,” he said.

The event was also attended by the leaders of World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Inland Waterways International (IWI), World Historic and Cultural Canal Cities Cooperation Organization (WCCO), Deep Dive, and Wang Shi, Honorary President of Asian Rowing Federation.