Durban Conference calls for stronger youth involvement
The 7th World Conference on Sport, Education and Culture, which was held in Durban, South Africa, from 5 to 7 December 2010, closed with an exciting youth caucus and a set of recommendations which show the way forward. The inclusion of young people in the programme proved to be a huge success and was suggested for adoption for future events.
Young people on the panel
“Giving a Voice to Youth” was indeed more than the Conference motto in Durban. Young people who had participated as athletes, young reporters or ambassadors in the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in August took the floor in all debates to contribute their ideas and experiences.
Thumbs up for the Youth Olympic Games
The final plenary session was the youth caucus and featured YOG participants, representing countries such as Barbados, Austria, Singapore, Brazil, New Zealand, Slovakia and South Africa, as well as local South African students. Many of the YOG participants described the experience in Singapore as “life-changing”, and vividly recounted the friendships they had made and events they had witnessed. In the light-hearted, yet informative 90-minute session, the IOC's revolutionary Culture and Education Programme (CEP) was given a rousing “thumbs up” from the entire youth caucus.
This notion was included in the final recommendations of the Conference which were agreed upon by the more than 600 delegates attending as the future direction to be taken. Moreover, the Conference recommends that certain elements of the Youth Olympic Games should be extended beyond the Games and, for the benefit of young people, integrated into other programmes and events at continental, regional and national levels. Following the example of Durban, young people should be involved in future forums and conferences of the Olympic Movement and be consulted on actions related to policies and programmes that concern them. It is also advised that, as part of the country’s legacy for hosting the Olympic Games, the dedicated culture and education programmes should be continued after the Games.