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"The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity." Fundamental Principles of Olympism, Olympic Charter.
The IOC President, Thomas Bach, regularly emphasizes that "sport is not just physical activity; it promotes health and helps prevent, or even cure, the diseases of modern civilization. It also is an educational tool which fosters cognitive development; teaches social behaviour; and helps to integrate communities".
The IOC cooperates with partners, including numerous United Nations agencies, as well as international governmental and nongovernmental institutions, on projects which use sport as a tool for development and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
National Olympic Committees also support these activities locally through their sports expertise and networks. Several International Federations have also developed initiatives in this field.
The IOC was founded in 1894 on the belief that sport can contribute to peace and to the harmonious development of humankind. The Olympic Movement continues to work on a daily basis to use sport to promote peace and the Olympic principles around the world.
The Sport for Hope Programme is a joint initiative between the IOC, its Olympic Movement stakeholders and the local governments. In establishing Sport for Hope Centres in developing countries, the programme aims to provide young people and local communities with positive sports development opportunities, offer state-of-the-art training facilities to the National Federations and the athletes of the country, and spread the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. In addition, the Sport for Hope Centres also serve as platforms for social development and innovative cooperation to contribute to a better and more peaceful world through sport.
Around the world, around 60 million people, a great proportion of which are children and young people, have fled their homes because of war or persecution.
Over the last 20 years, the International Olympic Committee has offered humanitarian sports assistance to refugees in numerous countries around the world. with the belief that every child and human being has a fundamental right of access to sport and playing. Thanks to its health and psychological benefits, sport plays a healing role for refugees and brings hope and joy in troubled times.
Over the last 20 years, the IOC has been advocating for the participation of women at all levels, encouraging National Olympic Committees and International Federations to enhance the presence of women in sport.
The IOC policy for women’s empowerment through sport has been developed and implemented through numerous partnerships with sports organisations, UN agencies and programmes, international governmental and nongovernmental institutions and other members of civil society. A number of joint initiatives and actions have taken place to promote sport as a tool to foster gender equality and empower women and girls.
Moreover, the IOC supports projects that uses sports programmes to empower young girls and promote a positive message of non-discrimination and non-violence.
The United Nations 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.