The second edition of the International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development came to a close today at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland) with the adoption of a list of recommendations aimed at leveraging sport as a tool for positive change.
Jointly organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the UN Office on Sport for Peace and Development, the two-day Forum featured sessions on how to position sport as a catalyst for achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, how major sport events such as the Olympic Games can deliver on legacy, and how to foster a culture of peace through sport.
The recommendations include a call on the UN to include access to sport and physical education as an indicator in its human development indexes; a call for common evaluation tools to monitor the impact of sport on social and economic development; and a call on UN Member States to cooperate with, and abide by, the Olympic Truce.
“The recommendations agreed upon today are the latest in a series of steps we have taken with the UN to promote peace and development through sport in proactive, concrete ways,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said Wednesday. “It is not a question of whether sport contributes to the betterment of society; we are all in agreement that it does. The real question is how to make it contribute in more impactful, tangible ways.”
On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also addressed the Forum, which was attended by more than 350 experts from over 100 countries.
“Sport has become a world language, a common denominator that breaks down all the walls, all the barriers,” said Secretary-General Ban. “It is a worldwide industry whose practices can have a widespread impact. Most of all, it is a powerful tool for progress and development.”
The International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development is just one of many examples of the IOC and UN working together. By using sport as a tool, the IOC and its UN partners implement various activities around the globe in fields such as humanitarian assistance, peace-building, education, gender equality, the environment and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In Haiti, for example, the IOC and World Food Programme are working together to provide food, schooling and basic sports equipment (IOC Sports Kits) to children in some of the poorest areas of the country, which was ravaged by an earthquake in January 2010. In Namibia, the IOC has teamed up with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to launch a three-year sport and education programme for the thousands of young people living in a refugee settlement there.
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The International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development brings together various experts from the world of sport and development, including representatives from national governments, aid organisations and universities. This year, speakers included Hungarian President and IOC Member Pál Schmitt, UK Minister for Sport and the Olympic Games Hugh Robertson, Chairman of the IOC’s International Relations Commission Mario Pescante, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke.
To download free, broadcast-quality footage of the collaboration between the IOC and World Food Programme in Haiti, please click here
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To learn more about the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace and the activities of other UN entities in this field, click here
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1st edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Innsbruck, Austria,13 to 22 January 2012. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.