Maintaining a tradition rooted in ancient Greece, the United Nations General Assembly today called on nations around the world to observe an Olympic Truce for the 2012 London Games.
The UN Truce resolution, entitled “Building a better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, also urged nations to support the International Olympic Committee “in its efforts to promote peace and human understanding through sport.” The General Assembly has approved a similar resolution before every edition of the Games since 1993.
The modern Olympic Truce was inspired by similar agreements that allowed competitors and spectators to travel safely to the ancient Olympic Games in Greece.
“The Olympic Truce is one small step for mankind, yet one giant leap for humanity,” Mario Pescante, the IOC’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, told the General Assembly before the vote, paraphrasing the first words uttered on the moon.
Pescante also cited several examples of sport’s ability to ease conflicts, including “ping pong diplomacy” between the US and China in the 1970s and the combined delegation of Olympic athletes from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea during the Opening Ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Games.
“This is not rhetoric; these are the chronicles of what we have seen during the event that is the Olympic Games, global like none other in these times of globalisation,” he said.
Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Games (LOCOG), formally submitted the resolution to the General Assembly on behalf of the United Kingdom. LOCOG and the UK have embraced the concept of the Truce and are using it as a learning tool. The London 2012 Olympic Truce Programme provides resources to every school and college across the UK to promote the goals of peace and tolerance that underlie the Truce resolution.
Coe said the strong international support for the Truce also reflected support for the timeless values symbolised by the Truce and by the Olympic Movement, and was a testament to the relevance of the Olympic values, such as respect and friendship, in a time of global challenges.
The UN resolution also reaffirmed the General Assembly’s decision to grant the IOC Permanent UN Observer status, noted the success of the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last year and expressed support for the first Youth Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck next January.
All the 193 UN member states co-sponsored the resolution.
Furthermore, the International Olympic Truce Centre has today announced the launch of the new Olympic Truce website and forum, www.olympictruce.org, with the slogan “Imagine Peace”, ahead of the London 2012 Games. The Centre is responsible for the implementation of projects related to the global promotion of a culture of peace through sport and the Olympic ideal.
Complete text of the resolution
Learn more about the Olympic Truce
Read the press release from London 2012