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13 Jun 2007
IOC News , Development through sport

A successful partnership: IOC And UNHCR

It was 13 years of fruitful cooperation that IOC President Jacques Rogge and António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), could look back on together during their meeting today in Lausanne. In order to continue this successful partnership, discussions of current activities and future projects were on the top of the agenda.

New area of collaboration
”UNHCR has recently developed special programmes to address key problem areas which repeatedly occur in refugee camps, such as sexual and gender-based violence” explained  Guterres during the closed-door meeting. The IOC President showed deep interest and committed to teaming up with UNHCR to empower women and girls in the camps through sport-based activities. In this context, preventive education on HIV/AIDS will also be undertaken. For its work on the African continent, the IOC will support UNHCR in intensifying the cooperation with the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) as a regional partner.

“GIVING IS WINNING” campaign in the starting blocks
On 6 July, the two organisations will launch the second edition of the “Giving is Winning” campaign during the IOC Session in Guatemala City. This joint initiative aims to collect sports and casual clothing from the Olympic family, and this will then be distributed by UNHCR to various refugee camps around the world. Looking ahead to the new “Giving is Winning” campaign, António Guterres said: “Many young refugees spend years languishing in bleak camps around the world. For them, the gift of sportswear associated with famous athletes from across the Olympic spectrum is a tremendous morale-booster and a sign that the outside world still does care.” This initiative follows a first successful edition during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, which resulted in 27,000 donated items for refugees in five countries and three continents.

Two men, one vision
The IOC-UNHCR collaboration dates back to 1994, when both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Since then the IOC has helped UNHCR to provide sports assistance in refugee camps in 29 countries around the globe. In today’s meeting Jacques Rogge stated: “Sport has a high social and educational value. We use this potential in the framework of our Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy. For the specific situation in refugee camps, we aim for sport to add value to the excellent work carried out by UNHCR.” Mr. Guterres agreed, emphasising the importance of sport as a tool to bring together multi-cultural and multi-religious communities. He praised the role sport plays in the promotion of tolerance.

 Read more about UNHCR  

 Learn more about Humanitarian Assistance through Sport
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