UN Sports Envoy Continues Quest to Strengthen Sport for Social Change

Geneva, June 13, 2012: Today, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, was in Berlin to address a special session of the German Parliament’s Sports Committee on International Sports Policy. Last week, his mandate took him successively to Kuwait, Poland and Switzerland, where he continued his work as a facilitator and advocate in promoting sport as a catalyst for social change.

Today, at the Bundestag in Berlin, Mr. Lemke reported on his activities and that of his office over the past 12 months.

“In 2011 and until today, we have continued to work very closely with our partners to reinforce the position of sport and physical activity on the humanitarian, development and peace-building agendas,” the Special Adviser declared. “Let me seize this opportunity to warmly thank all our partners and donors, including the Government of Germany. Without their invaluable support and collaboration, we would definitely not be able to succeed in our work,” he added.

Further Engaging Parliamentarians in Sport for Development and Peace

This past Saturday, Mr. Lemke had a chance to exchange ideas and views with some members of the Bundestag, as he – together with the UN Head of Administration in Geneva, Mr. Clemens Adams and the Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN in Geneva, Amb. Dr. Hanns Heinrich Schumacher – welcomed a large delegation of German Parliamentarians and other important stakeholders at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva. The delegation was headed by Dr. Peter Struck, President of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

“It is important to have the chance to engage with national Parliamentarians in a dialogue on how valuable sport can be in addressing development and peace challenges at the global level. Through examples of successful interventions and best practices, we can improve their understanding of the issues at stake and therefore strengthen their engagement in this field,” the Special Adviser said after the meeting.

Launch of the EURO 2012 Anti-Discrimination Programme

Last Friday, Mr. Lemke travelled to Warsaw, Poland, where he took part in the launch of the official anti-discrimination programme of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship.

Under the motto ‘Respect Diversity – Football Unites’, the programme includes monitoring at matches, anti-discrimination messages at every game, a joint protocol on the reporting of incidents, a commitment to take disciplinary sanctions and a campaign focus at the semi-finals.

Many UN system entities are also harnessing the opportunity of the event by carrying out a large range of outreach activities in order to address critical issues such as gender equality, children’s rights, HIV/AIDS prevention, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the importance of environmental protection.

Encouraging participation of Kuwait at the London Olympics

Earlier in the week, Mr. Lemke travelled to Kuwait in order to play a mediation role in securing that Kuwaiti athletes can compete under the Kuwait national flag at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

For the time being, the Kuwait National Olympic Committee is suspended from sending athletes to the Games representing Kuwait, as the national legislation contradicts the Olympic Charter.

“I am hopeful that Kuwaiti athletes will compete in the 2012 London Olympic Games under the flag of their proud nation,” Mr. Lemke said following his mission.

During his visit, Mr. Lemke met with the Emir of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Speaker of the National Assembly, H.E. Ahmed Al-Saadoun, and the Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Minister, Mr. Ahmad Al-Rujaib.


Mr. Wilfried Lemke, of Germany, was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as his Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace on 11 April 2008, serving on a $1 per year salary with the rank of Under-Secretary-General. In this role, the Special Adviser aims to reach out further to the world of sport and more systematically and coherently encourage the use of sport the pursuit of development cooperation, humanitarian aid and peace-building efforts. Mr. Lemke succeeded Adolf Ogi, former President of the Swiss Confederation, who had served as Special Adviser since 2001. Image © UEFA/Philippe Woods

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