Appeal to cooperate to improve the lot of humanity
How can we all cooperate to improve the lot of humanity? It was with this appeal that IOC President Jacques Rogge today opened his speech to the participants of the first-ever International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
The IOC President based his appeal on the beneficial impact that sport can have on society. “We are gathered here today because we all share the same concern: in our ever-changing society, the socio-economic schism threatens to divide mankind ever more. The Olympic Movement is about people. It is people-centered, people-oriented and, one might dare say, a people’s movement. But more importantly, it is for young people, the so-called “Now Generation” without whom the very future of the world is in peril.”
Sport and human development - a real combination
As a socially responsible organisation, the IOC has worked tirelessly for over a century to place sport at the centre of the harmonious development of mankind. This is a fundamental principle enshrined in the Olympic Charter, as is the fact that every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination and in an Olympic spirit of mutual understanding, friendship and fair play. However, the IOC’s main goal is to organise the Olympic Games and to develop sport and its practice worldwide from grass-roots level to elite performance. This is possible through its large network of 205 National Olympic Committees across the five continents. Billions of people around the world practise sport as a healthy pastime or for the sheer fun of it. There are millions of volunteers who give of their time for no remuneration as well as coaches, administrators and technicians who support the athletes and thus make sport a reality in our everyday lives.
Sport - a tool for dialogue and peace
President Rogge recalled that while “the IOC also strives for the promotion of peace, through the International Olympic Truce Foundation’s work and the Olympic Truce ideal, it is aware that sport cannot enforce or maintain peace. But sport does have a vital role to play in building a better and more peaceful world as it appeals to the community in general and to those young people who are likely to pick up a gun and fight for a cause that often they do not understand. Sport can facilitate dialogue between different communities and be a catalyst for mutual understanding in our society”.
Partnerships needed to make a positive difference
However, declared Rogge, “the IOC and the whole sporting community cannot address on their own the socio-economic problems that continually threaten world peace. One cannot expect the sports movement to succeed where social and political movements have failed. However, where sport can contribute, it shall strive to do so. This is why we value partnerships with the United Nations and its agencies, governments and civil society”. This was highlighted in the speech by Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on sport for development and peace, who recognized: “we each have a role to play in making our world and our communities safe, happy and dynamic, ensuring education and jobs, health and social services, and most importantly, creating peaceful communities, where we may live without conflict and without fear. As the global body regulating and governing issues of global concern, the United Nations recognizes that the international community must work together. We must give our young people a future. Despite our diversity, we come together recognizing that there is one language that we all speak. There is one tool that is simple to use, that is inexpensive, and that is powerful. And that tool is sport… We have proof of the power of sport for development and peace. But we need to continue collecting the evidence and we need to share the evidence. No longer is sport the sole domain of sporting bodies. Sport can and does help the UN achieve its objectives… all together, we can create a more peaceful world.”
Read the full speech of President Rogge
Read the full speech of President Rogge