Geneva, April 04, 2012: United Nations Special Adviser, At the end of February, Wilfried Lemke accompanied UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Zambia in his capacity as his Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace. The visit capped off a busy and successful year for Mr. Lemke, who soon after received an extension of his appointment for a fifth consecutive year. Looking ahead, the UN official will keep exploring innovative ways to fully harness the potential of sport in fulfilling the mandate of the 193-member Organization.
“Sport can be much more than what we often see on television or read in the newspapers. It can be a game-changer in the lives of millions of people around the world. Sport is present in almost everyone’s life in one way or another and has the unique ability to come to the aid of those who need it most,” Mr. Lemke declared. He continued: “It is therefore a great honour to keep serving the United Nations in mobilizing the best that sport has to offer and in making tomorrow better than today.”
The Power of Partnerships
In February, the UN official was in New York, where he met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in order to report on his recent activities and set out the way forward. At the centre of their discussion was the then upcoming joint visit to Lusaka, Zambia, together with a high-level delegation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), led by their President Jacques Rogge.
In May last year, the UN and Olympic families had already come together in Geneva for a prominent two-day event: the 2nd International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development, attended by more than 350 experts from over 100 countries, and leading to the adoption of key recommendations aimed at leveraging sport as a tool for positive change.
This year, the UN-IOC cooperation also extended to the cross-border region between Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a new Youth Sport Centre will soon be running thanks to the support of the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the IOC, the Government of Burundi and the National Olympic Committee of Burundi. The €174,000 grant provided by UNOSDP is one of five similar donations disbursed in 2011 by the Office following the granting by UEFA of a one million euro Award in August 2010.
“Working with Women and Young People”
During their bilateral in New York in February, the Secretary-General (SG) and his Special Adviser also focused on one of the five pillars of the SG’s action agenda for his second mandate: “Working with and for women and young people.” Mr. Lemke presented the ‘UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp’, a brand new initiative whereby underprivileged youth who have already demonstrated their leadership potential receive further training and go back to their communities as empowered role models.
The inaugural ‘UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp’ was held from 9-19 January 2012 in Doha, Qatar, and brought together 29 participants from 10 different countries. Building on the success of this pilot camp, it was decided that several camps will be organized every year, as part of a comprehensive multi-year programme.
Call to Action: Sustaining the Momentum
Looking ahead, the Special Adviser has his task cut out for him as he seeks to coordinate the UN activities in relation to the UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, and the 2012 London Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, 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 fifth year in Office, Wilfried Lemke reiterated the Call to Action he had made a year 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 65/4 adopted on 18 October 2010 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.
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ABOUT THE SPECIAL ADVISER TO THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL ON SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE:
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.