Geneva, (UNOSDP) – For the sixth consecutive year, the UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr Wilfried Lemke has received an extension for a further year. The official reappointment date was 11th April 2013, and will see the UN official explore the new and exciting formats in which sport is being used to promote positive social changes and development.
“Sport is a key provider of movement and expression. It allows all who participate to experience team work and to be part of a group. These positive social experiences through sport can enhance an individual, community or even a nation. Sport can create peace in conflict zones and empower women and children around the world.”
Mr Lemke continued: “I am extremely honoured to continue to serve the United Nations and there 193 members. With this reappointment, I will be striving to raise awareness of sport as a tool for development. 2013 is a very important year in the sporting world; we will see an increase in sport development programmes and initiatives in the build up to the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi and Football World Cup in Brazil which will heavily revolve around the use of sport to contribute to a sustainable legacy.”
The way forward
This June, the United Nations Headquarters in New York will be the location for the 3rd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development, with this years focus being “Creating a Common Vision”. This biennial event aims to evaluate the successes and challenges of using sport as a tool for development and peace promotion, and looks at how to pave the way for future concerted action in these fields.
The sessions feature keynote addresses, panel discussions and interactive debates. Confirmed speakers for the forum will include many high-profile names from international sport organizations and Wilfried Lemke, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace.
Protecting and safeguarding- Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG)
As a member of the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group’s (SDP IWG) executive board, Mr. Lemke will continue to promote and report on the five thematic working groups which include:
• Sport and Child and Youth Development
• Sport and Gender
• Sport and Peace
• Sport and Persons with Disabilities
• Sport and Health
Mr. Lemke will look to strengthen and create new partnerships that chair and participate in each thematic theme. The objective is to reach out to governments, the UN system, the private sector, international and national sport federations and international organizations. They are encouraged to implement policy and programme recommendations, to adopt national policies in order to include Sport as a contributing factor to development and peace, and to establish sport for development and peace projects and programmes.
Youth Leadership Program hits Asia
As the Youth Leadership Program (YLP) gets well underway in to it’s second year. Mr. Lemke will continue to create strong partnerships with public and private companies interested in investing in sport for development initiatives.
This investment not only looks to secure the life span of each YLP, but looks to create a solid platform where the UNOSDP can build a reputable and sustainable program for under privileged young sport leaders, and to build a strong mix of partners dedicated to providing top class training for future community role models.
Previous partnerships with Liverpool FC, International Table Tennis Federation and the International Paralympic Committee, these are just some of the international brands that have been associated with the YLP. Providing their vast knowledge in coaching and education, these partners have allowed young leaders from around the world to experience first class coaching tips from some of the best in the industry.
Europe, the Middle East and now Asia, the YLP will this August land in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. This collaboration with the Gwangju Universiade will open new doors in East, and strengthen relations with our existing Asian partnerships.
Call to Action: Sustaining the Momentum
Looking ahead, the Special Adviser has his work cut out for him as he seeks to coordinate the UN activities in relation to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, as well as to keep promoting the use of sport in the pursuit of development cooperation, humanitarian aid and peace-building objectives.
At the dawn of his sixth year in Office, Wilfried Lemke reiterated the Call to Action he had made a two years ago on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the mandate of Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace.
Recalling UN General Assembly resolution 67/17 adopted on 8 November 2012 and inviting the international community to “provide voluntary contributions to and to enter into innovative partnerships with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group,” Mr. Lemke strongly stressed the need to sustain and even reinforce the momentum in harnessing the potential of sport and physical activity in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges.
Sport for all
As a firm believer in a “sport for all” approach, Mr. Lemke will attend the International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS) in Berlin, May 2013. Key themes to be covered in Berlin will be, Access to Sport as a Fundamental Right for All, Promoting Investment in Sport and Physical Education Programmes and Preserving the Integrity of Sport. As a supporter of Germany’s application to host the MINEPS forum, Mr. Lemke will be on hand to lend his support and encouragement for the topics discussed at the event.
The UN Special adviser on Sport for Development and Peace will also be present at the screening of the inspiring new movie based on the real life story of three paralympic athletes striving to get gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The premier screening of “Gold- You can do more than you think” has already been screened in Germany, but with the addition of English subtitles, the film is ready to be viewed globally. The United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace has been firm promoters of this movie and encourage everyone to try and attend local screenings. Further to the MINEPS convention, the UNOSDP will highlight the movie as an excellent tool to promote inclusion for those with a disability in sport, and to also extend recognition of the UN Convention regarding the rights of those people with a disability. —- UNOSDP