The second edition of the International Forum on Sport, Peace and Development kicked off today at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. IOC President Jacques Rogge was among the three keynote speakers at the Opening Session of the event, which looks at two main dimensions from a policy and an implementation perspective: sport as a catalyst for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and developing a culture of peace through sport. Another session is dedicated to the question of how major sport events like the Olympic Games can leave a long-lasting human legacy.
Objective: to be successful on the ground
In his opening speech, Jacques Rogge said: “I congratulate the Forum organisers for an excellent agenda that includes a dual focus on policy and implementation. Policy is important because it provides the strategic framework for our efforts. But policy without implementation is talk without action. Our ultimate objective is to be successful and efficient on the ground – to serve humankind. To get there, the contribution of a range of stakeholders is needed.” He added: “Sport cannot solve all of the world’s ills, but it can contribute to meaningful solutions.”
Sport as a vehicle for social change
UN co-host and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke said: “We are only four years away from the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Time is pressing. In our pursuit towards achieving them, sport has definitely proven to be a powerful tool. Today, we have a wealth of evidence from the field making the case for sport as a vehicle for social change.” He added: “MDG n°8 is about developing a global partnership. This is exactly what we are doing here today at this gathering. Just like in sport, teamwork is behind success and we must keep working together, as a movement, towards making the world a more equitable, safe and sustainable place through sport.”
The two-day Forum gathers together various stakeholders which are crucial in the set-up and running of programmes dedicated to human development and peace through sport, including representatives from the world of sport, the UN, national governments, expert organisations and universities. High-level speakers include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Pál Schmitt, the President of Hungary, IOC member and Olympic champion; the UK Minister for Sport and the Olympic Games, Hugh Robertson; Chairman of the IOC’s International Relations Commission Mario Pescante; and Wilfried Lemke.
The forum is being co-organised by the IOC and the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace. 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 - goals that have been identified by the UN as some of the world’s most pressing issues and require the support of everyone.
Learn more: IOC-WFP project in Haiti
To download broadcast-quality footage for free, please click here:
This vibrant and inspirational video shows one example of collaboration between the IOC and UN agencies (in this case the World Food Programme): in earthquake-devastated Haiti, children are brought back to school, fed and provided with basic sports/recreation material in the form of IOC Sport Kits.
Learn more about an IOC-UNHCR project in a refugee camp in Namibia here
Follow updates on the event at www.olympic.org/ioc-unforum