Women Political Leaders Summit discusses how sport contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Ahead of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, IOC Member Marisol Casado was invited to represent the IOC at the Women Political Leaders (WPL) Summit in Tokyo, alongside other reputable political leaders such as Antonio Guterres (UN Secretary-General), Christine Lagarde (Managing Director, International Monetary Fund) and Tedros Adhanom (Director General of the World Health Organisation).

Ms Casado was a panellist in the policy focus session discussing sport as an important enabler to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“When the IOC’s founder, Pierre de Coubertin, revived the Olympic Games and established the International Olympic Committee 125 years ago, he saw sport as an integral way to make the world a better place,” explained Marisol Casado at the event organised by WPL in collaboration with the House of Representatives of Japan.

The Theme of the WPL Summit 2019 was “Taking Actions to Advance Society Through Sustainable Development Goals”. Ms Casado explained how sport is recognised by the UN as an “important enabler” to achieve the SDGs and how the IOC in particular is contributing.

Taking part in the same panel session with Ms Casado were: Natsue Mori, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan; Junko Mihara, Member of the House of Councillors of Japan; Viktorija Čmilytė, Member of the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania; and Nancy Kemp-Arendt, a Member of the Parliament of Luxembourg.

SDGs 3 and 4: Good health, well-being and education

Sport plays a crucial role for SDG 3 (good health and well-being): according to the World Health Organisation, 23 per cent of adults and 81 per cent of adolescents are not active enough, and regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent illnesses.

This is strictly linked to SDG 4 (quality education). Education is in fact an essential factor to teach the importance of getting active, and both of them are fundamental pillars of Olympic Day, recently celebrated (on 23 June) by the Olympic Movement.

SDG 5: Gender equality

“Sport is also a powerful platform to foster gender equality and empower women and girls, as called for in SDG 5. I feel this issue very close to my heart and one that I experience first-hand every day,” continued Casado, who is also President of the International Triathlon Union and Chair of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project Working Group.

“Gender equality and empowering women and girls on and off the field of play are central to the IOC’s mission,” she added.

For the IOC’s commitment to gender equality and more specifically the IOC Gender Equality Review Project Recommendations, a ground-breaking document for the Olympic Movement to close the gender gap, the IOC was awarded the “Power, together Award” during the Women Leaders Global Forum in Reykjavik (Iceland).

SDG 16: Peace Justice and strong institutions

Throughout history, sport has been a platform for change, a forum for dialogue and an opportunity to dismantle barriers between men and women of all origins. Since the very first Olympic Games, Sport broke down cultural, social, racial and political barriers, promoting dialogue and ultimately building bridges.

Revived by the IOC in the 1990s, the Olympic Truce was brought to the UN by the IOC in a worldwide appeal to let athletes of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia participate at the Games (read the history of the Olympic Truce here).

Since 1993, the General Assembly of the U.N. revived the Olympic Truce through as Resolution 48/11. The Olympic Truce ensures that the ideals of building peace are a shared responsibility among nations, and provides a window opportunity, a framework for cooperation on longer-lasting peace and dialogue.

The WPL Summit is an annual conference organised by WPL, the global network of female politicians which aims to increase both the number and the influence of women in political leadership positions. 350 women political leaders from 100 countries attended the event recently concluded in Tokyo at the National Diet (National Parliament) of Japan.

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