Development through Sport: First UN-IOC Forum shows way forward

The first joint UN-IOC Forum that took place in Lausanne on 21 and 22 May and was entitled “The Importance of Partnership” closed with 19 recommendations on how to maximise the impact of various activities in the field of development through sport.

Read the full text of the recommendations here.

19 recommendations

The participants, composed of the Olympic family, the UN system, the International Paralympic Committee, NGOs and academic experts, stressed the need to “influence national governments” to embed sport in their development policies “by emphasising its enormous power as an indispensable tool for peace and development”. The Forum also advised to “avoid the creation of parallel structures” among the different players and avoid duplicating activities. The “creation of a web-based information-sharing network for sport in peace and development” could be an important tool to avoid an overlap of activities and to share best practice. Whilst the IOC’s contribution to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was recognised, full IOC participation in the upcoming UN Summit on the MDGs in September 2010 was recommended. This would also be a perfect time to elaborate on the impact of the Youth Olympic Games, which will be held for the first time this August in Singapore.

Youth Olympic Games meet MDGs

The Forum acknowledged the “unique contribution” of this new event “in the promotion of Olympic values to young people, including peace and development”, and stressed the “importance of outreach to young people in tackling social challenges, by taking steps to connect with them effectively, making full use of digital communications, the internet and social media”. The Youth Olympic Games will provide the young athletes with a Culture and Education Programme (CEP) alongside their competitions. In cooperation with several UN agencies, the IOC has developed programmes that will educate them on topics such as healthy lifestyles and the environment, which also form part of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

About the IOC’s activities in sport and development

As the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC strives to act as a catalyst for collaboration with the ultimate objective of making the world a better and more peaceful place through sport.

By using sport as a tool, the IOC and its partners implement various activities across the globe in fields such as humanitarian assistance, peace-building, education, gender equality, the environment and the fight against HIV/AIDS, hence contributing to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The most recent project example is the creation of the first ever Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka, Zambia, which was inaugurated earlier this month. The multi-purpose complex will not only push sports development in Zambia, but also provide community activities, health services and Olympic education with a strong focus on reaching out to young people. The successful set-up of the centre is thanks to a unique collaboration model between the IOC, the NOC of Zambia, the government, six International Federations and national sports federations. The IOC is currently investigating the possibility of setting up similar centres on other continents.

Last year’s decision to grant the IOC UN observer status pays tribute to these efforts and is a sign of the strong bonds between the IOC and the UN, which share the same philosophy and values.

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