The power of sport for peace and development building
What sport can contribute to mankind’s search for peace and development and, indeed, to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, was at the centre of the first International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development, which concluded today at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
Almost 250 representatives from the Olympic Movement, the United Nations, non-governmental organisations and the academic world worked together to share knowledge, discuss best practice and find progressive solutions “to use the enormous potential of sport, its power of communication, its reach, its effect on the community and young people in particular, and its influence”, as IOC President Jacques Rogge said in his closing remarks.
Partnership: the key
However, sport itself has no power to deliver any of these outcomes. It has no authority to make or enforce peace. These are the mandates of the competent authorities such as governments and the United Nations. What sport can do, and has been doing, is to work with partners to provide the support of the vast network of sport, the influence of sport on young people, its reach and its resources. This is exactly what the delegates highlighted in the final recommendations of the Forum by asking “the IOC, together with the Office of the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace, to establish a Working Party to consider how best to consider ways of achieving a comprehensive exchange of information, expertise and experience to generate best international practice between the Olympic family and all organisations active in the field of sport, development and peace”.
Furthermore, they agreed that “the Olympic Movement and its partners [should] cooperate wherever possible to strengthen efforts to use sport and recreational programmes to overcome the growing health challenges facing the world, including obesity, poor nutrition and ill health”.
In fact, the 12-point recommendations adopted unanimously by the Forum address all stakeholders and efforts to promote peace and development through the power of sport, and above all encourage further action.