UN teams up with Olympic Committee in race to end poverty, help urban youth

6 February 2009 – The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has signed an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) aimed at giving hope to disadvantaged and vulnerable youth through sport.

The landmark pact brings the two organizations together to create initiatives that encourage young people to participate in sporting activities, advancing progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an internationally agreed set of targets aimed at eradicating poverty and other social ills by 2015.

Both sides have agreed to promote advocacy work and support field-level activities meant to improve the livelihoods of slum dwellers around the world.

“The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UN-HABITAT and the IOC is an important step forward in meeting the challenges of sustainable urbanization, especially in the developing world,” said Executive Director of UN-HABITAT Anna Tibaijuka.

“We must not forget that over 50 per cent of slum populations are made up of young people and there is no better way to give direction and motivation than by encouraging them to participate in sports,” she added.

The MOU was signed by Ms. Tibaijuka and IOC President Jacques Rogge during a ceremony held at the world sporting body’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, yesterday.

The Nairobi-based UN-HABITAT promotes socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

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