New York - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today been granted observer status by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. This decision pays tribute to the IOC’s efforts to contribute to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. 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, environment and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The IOC now has the possibility to attend all UN General Assembly meetings, where it can take the floor and thus promote sport at a new level. The list of UN observers is exclusive and features states, intergovernmental organisations and independent and non-governmental bodies, for instance, the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“This is a huge recognition of the role sport can play in contributing to a better and more peaceful world”, said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “The Olympic values clearly match the UN’s philosophy. Today’s decision further strengthens the partnership between the IOC and the UN system” he added. The IOC already works with a wide array of UN specialised agencies and organisations around the world to benefit young people and communities.
Rogge thanked Mario Pescante, IOC Vice-President and Chairman of the IOC International Relations Commission, who, through the Italian government, was instrumental in putting the proposal for an IOC observer seat on the table. On behalf of the IOC President, Mario Pescante was on the spot in New York today, where he was joined by IOC members Anita DeFrantz and HSH Prince Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, who, as Head of the Monegasque delegation at the UN General Assembly, took the floor and said: “In inviting the International Olympic Committee to take part in its work, the General Assembly recognises the symbol of a Movement that defends an ideal of human progress and promotes a peaceful society and one which is concerned with preserving human dignity.”
The UN General Assembly today also adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will take place from 12 to 28 February and from 12 to 21 March 2010 respectively. Through this Resolution, the UN invites its member States to observe and promote peace before, during and after the Games in order to protect the interests of athletes and sport in general, and to contribute, through sport, to the search for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the world's conflicts.
Entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, the Resolution was introduced by Canada on behalf of the IOC. The document also refers to the Youth Olympic Games which will take place for the first time from 14 to 26 August 2010 in Singapore, and which aim to inspire young people around the world to participate in sport and adopt and live by the Olympic values.
IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “The widespread support for this resolution speaks not only for its symbolic value, but also for its practical potential. Today the IOC and its member organisations undertake various initiatives at the local, national, regional and world levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace based on the spirit of the Olympic Truce - often in collaboration with UN agencies and other partners”.
A great example for a local project is the grassroots programme recently created by the Vancouver organisers (VANOC), which aims to extend the Olympic values of friendship and respect through an open invitation to ”Make Your Peace”. Initiatives will encourage individuals to create everyday peace at home, schools, work, and in the community, based on the belief that lasting peace starts at the local level.
Read the full text of the Olympic Truce Resolution (pdf document) here
NOTE TO EDITORS:
About the Olympic Truce
The Olympic Truce or "Ekecheria” was born in the 9th century B.C. in Ancient Greece. It called for warring parties to lay down their arms while athletes competed under the flame of the Olympic torch.
The first Truce initiatives were launched by the IOC in 1992. Since 1993, the UN General Assembly has repeatedly expressed its support for the IOC by unanimously adopting, before each edition of the Games, a Resolution entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal.”
About the International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), created in 1894, is a non-governmental organisation with volunteer members who represent its work around the world, and an administrative staff based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC and its 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) worldwide promote the Olympic Movement, whose vision is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating young people through sport. In addition to selecting the host city and coordinating the staging of the Olympic Games, the IOC and NOCs collaborate with a range of organisations and their members in the public and private sectors to place sport at the service of society. The main goal is to promote the values of Olympism, which include excellence, respect and friendship.
Vancouver and Whistler will host the XXI Olympic Winter Games from 12 to 28 February 2010 and the XI Paralympic Winter Games from 12 to 21 March 2010. The seven winter Olympic sports that will be on show in Vancouver are luge, skiing, skating, ice hockey, biathlon, bobsleigh and curling.
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