31 October 2007 The United Nations General Assembly today urged all countries to observe the Olympic Truce during the 2008 Beijing Games – a move backed by its president, who advocated greater use of sport to promote peace and development.
In a resolution adopted unanimously and sponsored by the vast majority of UN Member States, the Assembly also welcomed the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to galvanize actions to promote a culture of peace and harmony based on the spirit of the Olympic Truce, a revived ancient Greek tradition known as ekecheiria.
It called on all Member States to cooperate with the IOC in its efforts to use sport as an instrument to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic Games period.
Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said the 192-member body considers the concept of ekecheiria “to be an important part of promoting international understanding and maintaining peace.”
He noted that the UN “works closely with the International Olympic Committee to develop strategic partnerships with the international sport community to promote education, health, HIV/AIDS prevention, gender equality, environmental protection, peace and reconciliation.”
The President praised examples including peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Liberia who use sport to bring previously warring factions together, while backing a call from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a more systematic follow-up by all Member States and UN bodies to “more effectively use sport as a tool” to achieve the global antipoverty targets collectively known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“If we are going to build a world with greater tolerance, mutual understanding and peace sport must continue to be used to channel energies away from aggression and self-destruction and into learning and self-respect,” he said. “This is the essence of the Olympic ideal.”