IOC President to deliver speech at UN General Assembly with sport set to be included in Sustainable Development Goals

Lausanne, Sept 23, 2015: International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach will speak at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 in New York on Saturday. The Summit will adopt the post-2015 Development Agenda on 25 September. Three days of debate about the realisation of these goals by world leaders will follow. Among the speakers will be dozens of Heads of State and Government and other world leaders, including Pope Francis.

In the final outcome document, sport is mentioned as “an important enabler of sustainable development.” The declaration highlights what sport can contribute to achieve some of the most important of these like peace, health and education. The post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will include for the first time recognition of sport’s important contribution to global sustainable development.

“This is another acknowledgement of the important role of sport in society, one of the major issues of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement,” said President Bach. “It shows that with Olympic Agenda 2020 we are aligned with the United Nations post-2015 Development Agenda. This new agenda specifically acknowledges the important role that sport plays promoting healthy lifestyles, education and social inclusion. It recognises the benefits of sport for all and its ability to empower women and young people.”

Accompanying President Bach will be four-time Olympian and IOC Member Angela Ruggiero. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked all delegations to include one representative aged 30 or under in their official delegations to acknowledge the enthusiasm, interest and involvement of young people in formulating the post-2015 Development Agenda.

There will be a bilateral meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon where the two leaders will speak about the Sustainable Development Goals and the contribution of sport in their realisation, as well as about other aspects of cooperation between the IOC and the UN.

Bilateral meetings between the IOC President and more than a dozen Heads of State and Government have now already been confirmed to discuss the role of sport in society and common action with regard to sustainable development and the autonomy of sport.

A Permanent Observer to the United Nations, the IOC has actively supported the process of the post-2015 Development Agenda. The new agenda is a comprehensive set of universal and transformative goals and targets that build on the Millennium Development Goals. UN Member States are committed to fully implementing the agenda by 2030.

Sport has gained increasing recognition as a cost‐effective means of tackling the challenges related to social development and peace. The enormous potential of sport comes from its global reach, its universal language, its appeal to all generations, and its resulting sustainable impact on communities in general, and young people in particular.

Investing in sport and physical activity brings a number of socio‐economic returns to society. Evidence demonstrates that sport promotes health and the prevention of non‐communicable diseases; sport supports quality education; sport empowers girls and women; sport brings people together and promotes inclusion and non-discrimination; sport provides relief in conflicts; and sport contributes to peaceful and non‐violent societies by promoting tolerance and mutual understanding. Sport brings pride and solidarity to nations.

The role of sport was affirmed in the 2005 World Summit Declaration, the follow-up meeting to the UN’s 2000 Millennium Summit. Its significance has been reinforced in the adoption of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace celebrated annually on 6 April. Increasing recognition of the power of sport has also led to numerous UN resolutions over the years and the appointment by the UN Secretary‐General of a Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace in 2001 as well as a recent appointment of IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge as Special Envoy on Youth Refugees and Sport in 2014.

During the discussions on Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC has redoubled its efforts to strengthen its cooperation and collaboration with international organisations such as the United Nations. In April 2014, the IOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations aimed at strengthening collaboration between the two organisations at the highest level.

The General Assembly passed a resolution in October 2014 that “encourages Member States to give sport due consideration in the context of the post‐2015 Development Agenda.” Sport was also included in the Synthesis Report of the UN Secretary-General on the post-2015 agenda. The resolution also acknowledges the independence and autonomy of sport as well as the mission of the IOC in leading the Olympic Movement.

“The International Olympic Committee was built on the belief that sport can contribute to peace and to the harmonious development of humankind,” President Bach said. “As the world sets out on a new era of development, we are truly honoured to continue being a committed partner for development with the United Nations to make the world a better place through sport.” —- IOC

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