On International Day, UN Official Underlines Role of Sport in Promoting Development and Peace

New York (UN News Centre), 6 April 2015: On the second annual International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the head of the office bringing the worlds of sport and development closer together stressed today the important role sport plays in addressing many of the challenges society faces.

“Sport has established itself as an effective tool for development and peacebuilding,” said Wilfried Lemke, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace. “As we are moving to a new set of sustainable development goals for the post-2015 development agenda, we have to make sure that sport keeps playing its beneficial role in it.”

Mr. Lemke, who works for the Secretary-General as an advocate, facilitator and representative of sport’s social impact in a development context said the International Day’s tagline – ‘United action towards sustainable development for all through sport’ – targets sustainable for all, which is “the main goal,” and partnerships, which he said were “the foundation” of the UNOSDP’s work.

“It has been through systematic cooperation that we have been able to make sport and physical activity accessible and inclusive to millions of people of all ages and abilities worldwide,” he said. “Let us work together to make the most use of the great potential that sport has for advancing positive social change all over the world.”

He encouraged stakeholders of all varieties to continue joining efforts to firmly place sport in policies and programmes relating to education, health, development and peace consolidation and called for celebration of the International Day by hosting activities around the world that commemorate the accomplishments of sport in improving the lives of many people all over the world.

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace was established to raise awareness of the ideal position sport has to contribute towards the United Nations’ objectives for development and peace, and adoption of that Day signifies the increasing recognition by the United Nations of the positive influence that sport can have on the advancement of human rights, and social and economic development.

As part of this year’s efforts to publicise the Day and to celebrate sport’s role in driving social change, the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace run a video contest calling on all organisations and projects active in the sport for development field to share their stories on film of how they are using sport to make an impact in their communities. The 10 best videos were chosen and will feature on various UNOSDP media platforms and at selected events throughout the year. —-  UN Photo/Tobin Jones

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