Cooperation with the UN


“Olympic principles are United Nations principles”
            – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the 2009 Olympic Congress in Copenhagen

IOC and UN collaboration: Tapping the full potential of sport

The United Nations (UN) has long recognised the contribution of sport for development and peace, and collaboration between the IOC and the UN has played a central role in spreading the acceptance of sport as a means to promote internationally agreed development goals. In 2015, in a historic moment for sport and the Olympic Movement, sport was officially recognised as an “important enabler” of sustainable development and included in the UN’s Agenda 2030.

In line with Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement unanimously adopted in December 2014, the IOC believes in the potential of sport to help achieve four of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) established by this UN Agenda 2030: Ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (SDG 3); Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (SDG 5); Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11); and Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development (SDG 16).

In recent years, a few historical milestones significantly reinforced the partnership between the IOC and the UN, which dates back to 1922.

  • In 2009, the UN General Assembly granted the IOC Permanent Observer status. This decision enables the IOC to be directly involved in the UN Agenda and to attend UN General Assembly meetings where it can take the floor, thus providing the possibility to promote sport at a new level.
  • In April 2014, the UN and the IOC signed an agreement aimed at strengthening collaboration between the two organisations at the highest level. The agreement underlined that the IOC and the UN “share the same values of contributing to a better and peaceful world through sport.” Learn more about the IOC and UN agreement here.
  • It was then also announced that IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge had been appointed as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Youth Refugees and Sport.
  • In November 2014, the UN formerly recognised the autonomy of the IOC and sport. The UN Resolution acknowledges “sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace”, and highlights the important role of the IOC and the Olympic Movement in achieving these goals. Learn more about this UN recognition here.
  • Read the full text of the Resolution here.
Using sport to build a better world

In 1993, the UN General Assembly approved a Resolution that further solidified IOC-UN cooperation with the decision to revive the Olympic Truce, by adopting a Resolution entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal,” which calls upon Member States, before every edition of the Games, to observe the Olympic Truce and to cooperate with the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee in their efforts to use sport as a tool to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Read about Ban Ki-moon calling for all warring parties worldwide to observe the Olympic Truce during the Olympic Games Rio 2016

Learn more about the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace