Olympic Movement supports International Day of Peace
Today is the International Day of Peace. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has established a strong partnership with the United Nations (UN) and its various agencies, is committed to promoting peace through sport and the Olympic ideals, at the Olympic Games and beyond.
This year’s International Day of Peace celebrates the Right of Peoples to Peace, and marks the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, which recognises that the promotion of peace is crucial for the full enjoyment of all human rights.
Sport cannot impose or maintain peace, but it can inspire it. Sport certainly has a vital role to play as it continues to demonstrate that it can facilitate dialogue between different communities and be a catalyst for mutual understanding in our society. The UN has long recognised the value of sport, and as such the IOC has cultivated a strong relationship with this organisation and its partner agencies, which most recently resulted in the signing of a historical agreement aimed at strengthening collaboration between the two bodies at the highest level.
Using sport to encourage development and peace has been at the core of the IOC’s mission since its creation in 1894. Pierre de Coubertin, the IOC’s founder, was explicit in his desire to use the Olympic Games as a forum to promote harmony among individuals and nations. His vision has become a reality. During the Olympic Games, nations from across the world unite on and off the field of play, as the athletes, regardless of their backgrounds, peacefully coexist in the Olympic Village, bringing the Olympic values to life.
An Olympic truce for peace
Taking into account the global context in which sport and the Olympic Games exist, the IOC decided to revive the concept of the Olympic Truce on the occasion of the Olympic Games, with a view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of athletes and sport, as well as creating a valuable window of opportunity for the peaceful resolution of conflict.
Since 1993, the UN has endorsed this initiative, and one year before each edition of the Olympic Games, the UN urges its Member States to observe the Olympic Truce and to seek, in conformity with the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter, the settling of all international conflicts through peaceful and diplomatic means. This endorsement also recognises the importance of the IOC initiatives for human well-being and international understanding.
Organising Committees of the Olympic Games have also gradually integrated the Olympic Truce into their educational activities leading up to the event, introducing Olympic Truce walls for both athletes and officials to sign in support of peace.
Building a better world through sport
The IOC undertakings in favour of peace-building extend beyond the period of the Olympic Games, and have led to the implementation of a number of “sport for peace” initiatives and activities in cooperation with UN programmes, NGOs and National Olympic Committees.
To mention but one example, in El Salvador, the IOC teamed up with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Public Security and Justice to implement the “Sport for Peace and Development” project, which integrates sport into a national programme against poverty and violence. The project is conducted in some of the most violent municipalities in the country, and includes the rehabilitation or construction of playgrounds as well as the organisation of special sports activities.
For further examples of projects and actions on the ground, click here.
Learn more about Peace through Sport.