The United Nations and FIVB Join Forces to Drive Social Change

Tokyo, UNOSDP Press Release, Nov 18, 2011: The United Nations (UN) and the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) today signed a two-year partnership agreement seeking to support the attainment and awareness of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as to further harness the power of volleyball to bring about positive social change worldwide (United Nations FIVB Join Forces).

The partnership was signed at the Yoyogi Stadium in Tokyo on the sidelines of the FIVB Women’s World Cup 2011 by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, and FIVB President, Jizhong Wei. The eight UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which include eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and combating HIV/AIDS – form the thematic focus for the agreement.

“The United Nations has long recognized the crucial role that sport federations can play in promoting sustainable development and peace-building,” Mr. Lemke declared. “The 2015 deadline for achieving the MDGs is coming closer every day and through this partnership with FIVB, we will be able to reach out to many more and to use volleyball as a vehicle for delivering our messages and programmes,” he added.

“We consider carrying out social responsibility work together with the United Nations to be both an opportunity and a duty,” stressed FIVB President Jizhong Wei. He continued: “Volleyball is actively enjoyed by over half a billion people worldwide, which makes it potentially a strong medium for contributing to the work and mission of the UN in the years to come.”

A large part of the partnership consists in raising awareness of UN actions, themes, values and campaigns at FIVB tournaments and in the framework of the “FIVB Heroes” campaign. Joint promotional measures will include perimeter boards, videos, media and players’ engagement, media packs and guides, Specific joint campaigns relevant to the host nation or circumstances of the event may also be carried out.

The first event where such measures are being implemented is the FIVB World Cup currently held in Japan. During both the Women’s tournament (4-18 November) and the Men’s tournament (20 November-4 December), the UN’s ‘End Poverty 2015’ campaign ( is being promoted.

FIVB’s brand new “FIVB Heroes” campaign will play a crucial role in the UN-FIVB partnership and in the global promotion of FIVB’s social engagement, with the “FIVB Heroes” – a dozen or so of the world’s best Volleyball players – being the faces of the partnership. FIVB Executive Vice-President André Meyer: “Our first step for the new global partnership is to raise as much awareness as possible for the eight MDGs. The positive power of the “FIVB Heroes’” popularity will attract attention and will focus the eyes of the volleyball community and young generation on the MDG and specific UN issues.”

The cooperation will also be realized through the implementation of joint development and humanitarian projects, in collaboration with the national Volleyball federations in countries where FIVB tournaments will be staged, as well as with relevant UN organizations.

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The United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), based in Geneva and supported by a Liaison Office in New York, provides the entry point to the United Nations system with regards to Sport for Development and Peace, bringing the worlds of sport and development closer together. The Office assists the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace in his diverse activities worldwide as an advocate, facilitator and representative of sports’ social impact in a development context.

In April 2010, UNOSDP entered into a five-year partnership with SportAccord, the umbrella organisation grouping together 104 International Sports Federations and Organisations, in order to engage further the latter in supporting the advancement of the MDGs and to not only focus on the development of sport as such, but also on development through sport.

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This is the historic promise 189 world leaders made at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 when they signed onto the Millennium Declaration and agreed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The MDGs are an eight-point road map with measurable targets and clear deadlines for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.

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The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB – Federation Internationale de Volleyball) was founded in April 1947 in Paris. Today the Federation – with the headquarters in Lausanne – counts 220 affiliated National Federations including 53 in Africa, 65 in Asia, 56 in Europe, 34 in North and Central America including the Caribbean and 12 in South America. Mr. Jizhong Wei of China is the third President in the history of FIVB, he will remain until new elections are held in 2012.
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The Heroes campaign is FIVB’s new marketing and promotional initiative designed to feature the top FIVB players more prominently. It is intended to create role models for the younger generation and benefit the development and promotion of the sport. 33 Volleyball players from 16 countries were selected as FIVB Heroes, 21 of them are competing at the 2011 World Cup (Women: 4 – 18 November, Men: 20 November – 4 December). In addition to these stars, 29 Beach Volleyball players were presented at the launch of the campaign at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome in June this year.

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Picture © FIVB

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