9 May 2011
Sport as a tool for change: That’s the goal behind the 2nd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development, at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, 10 to 11 May 2011.
Participants at the meeting, the result of continuing collaboration between the International Olympic Committee and the UN, will look at the successes and challenges of using sport to promote human development and peace. They’ll be paving the way for future action.
Among the major figures attending from the world of Sport and Development will be UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; UK Minister for Sport and the Olympic Games Hugh Robertson; Chairman of the IOC’s International Relations Commission Mario Pescante; and HE Mr Fred Tanner, Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. The Forum will be chaired by IOC President Jacques Rogge and Wilfried Lemke, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace.
The International Olympic Committee has been increasingly working with UN agencies. As a result, it was granted UN Observer status in late 2009. That decision by the UN was a tribute to the longstanding partnership between the two organisations - and to the IOC’s contribution to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through sport.
This vibrant and inspirational video shows one example of collaboration between the IOC and UN agencies (in this case the World Food Programme): In earthquake-devastated Haiti, children are brought back to school, fed and provided with basic sport/recreation material in the form of IOC Sport Kits. By helping children to eat and play, this is a powerful example of how simply and efficiently the IOC is making young people in the poorest areas of the world benefit from the joy of sport with a full stomach. Similar projects have been implemented in Niger, Afghanistan, and many more. Sport Kits are also used in the IOC’s partnership with other agencies, including UNHCR, and UNDP.
This programme is just one example of the UN and IOC working together: There are many others around the world. The IOC and its partners have implemented a range of activities across the globe in fields such as humanitarian assistance, peace-building, education, gender equality, the environment and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
For instance, the IOC recently teamed up with UNHCR to launch an ambitious three-year sport and education programme for some thousands of young people living in a refugee settlement in Namibia. The programme is designed to involve young people in sports activities in order to alleviate some of the major problems affecting them, namely teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, and drug abuse.
IOC sports-based community efforts often include educational programmes that promote maternal health, reproductive services. The IOC is also combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases through its partnerships with UNAIDS, WHO, the Red Cross Movement and others.