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30 Sep 2003
IOC News

Volunteers in Sport for All

On Saturday 27 September, on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the 18th TAFISA (Trim and Fitness International Sport For All Association) World Congress, the Chief, Programme Development and Operations Group of the United Nations Volunteer Programme (UNV), Andre Carvalho, delivered a keynote speech. The central theme of the week-long Munich Congress is "Volunteers in Sport for All". TAFISA, an International Association recognised by the IOC, has members in some 150 countries who are actively working to promote organisations dealing with health, physical education, and recreational, environmental and free time activities. At the Congress, experts from 54 nations on all continents are presenting information on the status of volunteerism in sport in their country.

Wide access to sports is crucial
Opening his speech, Andre Carvalho stated that the Congress was sending two key messages: namely that wide access to sports is crucial to the vitality and productivity of every society, and that, without volunteer effort, wide access is not possible. Acknowledging the significant contribution that volunteers make to sports in Germany, he highlighted the important role played by sport in the development process of all countries.

Sport can foster reconciliation
Reflecting on the numerous experiences of volunteers with the UNV programme, he cited examples of how, in the wake of natural disasters, sport helps to restore children's lives to some semblance of normalcy; of how in the aftermath of war, sport can foster reconciliation among divided groups; and of how virtually all communities (not only those ravaged by conflict or disaster) are strengthened by play in all its forms.

"The time is now"
In short, sport embraces all ages, all racial and ethnic groups, all ability levels, all genders and all social strata. Concluding his speech, Mr Carvalho referred to the recent report by the UN Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace, noting that among the recommendations made was the need to remove impediments to volunteerism for all in the realm of sport,and to recognise that sport is a crucial entry point to a life of
volunteerism. As UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged: the time is right.....the time is now.

Read the full speech (Official website of UN Volunteers)

Official website of World Volunteer

Official website of TAFISA
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