UN recognises role of sport in achieving sustainable development

IOC/Greg Martin The seat of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the General Assembly Hall in the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The power of sport to help make sustainable development a reality and, in particular, the 2030 Agenda – the United Nations’ blueprint to transform the world for the benefit of all – has been explicitly recognized by a General Assembly resolution, adopted at UN Headquarters on Monday.

The resolution encourages UN Member States to emphasize and advance the use of sport as a vehicle and “foster sustainable development…and respect and facilitate social inclusion, conflict prevention and peacebuilding,” and reiterates the UN’s call for States to leverage sport to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in collaboration with all the interested stakeholders, including the sports community, civil society, international organisations and businesses.

Sport has long been seen by the UN as an important contributor to the realization of development and peace goals, in the way it promotes tolerance and respect;  the contribution it makes to empowering women, young people and communities; and to health, education and social inclusion objectives.

This latest sports-related resolution points out the “invaluable contribution” that the Olympic and Paralympic movements have made to the promotion of peace and development, citing efforts to revive the ideal of the Olympic Truce, based on an ancient Greek tradition, during which all conflicts would be put on hold 7 days before the beginning of the Games.

“We welcome the Resolution approved today by the United Nations, as it reaffirms the universality of sport and its unifying power to foster peace, education, gender equality and sustainable development at large,” IOC President Thomas Bach commented. “Thanks to the UN, we now have a strong tool that encourages states and sports organisations to work together and develop concrete best practices.”

Find out more about the connections between ancient Greece, sport and peace in a fascinating episode of our UN News Podcast Classics show, featuring a 1979 interview with boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who devoted much of his life to unity and social justice through sport, and beyond, under the UN banner.

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