Sport was considered as an important tool for education, development and peace by world leaders during a summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that took place in New York from 20 to 22 September.
The role of sport to “promote cooperation and solidarity, tolerance, understanding, social inclusion, and health, at local, national, and international levels” was mentioned in the official outcome document of this high-level United Nations (UN) meeting, which aimed to assess and accelerate the efforts made towards achieving the eight global goals by the deadline of 2015.
More to be done
Nawal El Moutawakel, an Olympic champion and IOC Executive Board member, addressed the UN General Assembly on behalf of the IOC and said: “We are now just five years away from the deadline which was set by the UN for achieving the goals. Time is short; the list of needs is still long. The IOC shares your sense of urgency.” She added: “The Olympic Movement — the IOC, the International and National Sports Federations and the 205 National Olympic Committees — is using the power of sport to promote the MDGs in countries across the world and cooperate to this end with all sectors, from governments to UN agencies, funds and programmes, NGOs, the business community and civil society at large. While we indeed are doing our best, we are fully aware that more must and can be done. All of us in sport can and must do more. This is a clarion call to sports organisations and the billions of sportspersons, their supporters and fans throughout the world, to play their part.”
Read the full statement here.
During a roundtable that took place at the sidelines of the summit and focused on the value of sport as a development tool, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “We use sport in many of our programmes. Some of the world’s greatest athletes are helping us to raise awareness of important issues, such as hunger, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, education and environmental care.” He added: “Here at the MDG Summit, we will hear much talk about the need for stronger partnerships in making the Goals a reality. Sport exemplifies that very spirit: teamwork… fair play… people collaborating for a common goal.” At the same event, Wilfried Lemke, the Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace, said: “We need to re-engage governments and review how to use sport in development plans and policies.”
About the IOC’s activities in sport and development
As the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC strives to act as a catalyst for collaboration with the ultimate objective of making the world a better and more peaceful place through sport. By using sport as a tool, the IOC and its partners implement various activities across the globe in fields such as humanitarian assistance, peace-building, education, gender equality, the environment and the fight against HIV/AIDS, hence contributing to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Last year’s decision to grant the IOC UN observer status pays tribute to these efforts and is a sign of the strong bonds between the IOC and the UN, which share the same philosophy and values.
About the Millennium Development Goals
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed upon by all of the world’s countries and all of the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanised unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.