Adopting Resolution, General Assembly Invites Stakeholders to Promote Principles of Updated United Nations Action Plan on Sport for Peace, Development

28 November 2012
GA/11316

Adopting Resolution, General Assembly Invites Stakeholders to Promote Principles of Updated United Nations Action Plan on Sport for Peace, Development

28 November 2012
General Assembly
GA/11316
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

General Assembly Plenary

42nd & 43rd Meetings (AM & PM)

Adopting Resolution, General Assembly Invites Stakeholders to Promote Principles

Of Updated United Nations Action Plan on Sport for Peace, Development

 

Assembly Also Adopts New Text on Education for Democracy

Recognizing the potential of sport to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the General Assembly today adopted a resolution reaffirming that sport, among other things, contributed to an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding, and was a tool for education that could promote cooperation, solidarity, social inclusion and health.

Further to that text, the Assembly invited Member States and other stakeholders to promote the integration of sport for development and peace in the global development agenda by working along principles adapted from the United Nations Action Plan on Sport for Development and Peace, contained in the report of the Secretary-General.  Those principles include a global framework for sport for development and peace; policy development; resource mobilization; and evidence of impact.

The Assembly also encouraged Member States to support effective implementation of the Olympic Truce and requestedthe Secretary-General to report to the Assembly, at its sixty-ninth session, among other things, on specific initiatives towards that end.

Introducing the resolution, Monaco’s representative, speaking also in her capacity as Co-President of the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace, said sport promoted the values of social inclusion, gender equality, tolerance, and respect for rules and health, through exceeding ones own limits.  Those were values to be defended in a world confronting new challenges every day.  Sport was one way to do so.  “Where politics fail and life discriminates, sport can unify divided and torn communities and include everybody,” she said.

During the ensuing debate on the topic, delegates also spoke of the impact of sport on developing infrastructure, creating jobs and helping “us to transcend our differences and remind us of our commonalities”, as Israel’s delegate said.

Representatives of States who had or were planning to host the Olympic Games noted the importance of legacy - what their Games would leave behind - with the delegate of the United Kingdom, which had hosted the most recent Summer Games, noting that part of their legacy was the enrichment of the lives of 11 million children in 20 countries through high-quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play, through the International Inspiration sports legacy programme.  The representative of the Russian Federation, where the next Winter Olympics would be held, expressed the hope that the 2014 Sochi Games would become the new standard for large international events.

The Assembly today also adopted a new resolution on education for democracy, which reaffirmed the fundamental link between democratic governance, peace, development and the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.  The text also takes note of the Education First initiative launched by the Secretary-General on 26 September 2012, in particular its third priority area, “fostering global citizenship”.

That text strongly encouraged Member States to integrate education for democracy, along with civic education and human rights education, into national education standards and to develop and strengthen national and subnational programmes, curriculums, and curricular and extracurricular educational activities aimed at the promotion and consolidation of democratic values and democratic governance and human rights.

Introducing that text, Mongolia’s representative, citing the Secretary-General, said that “`developing a culture of democracy and fostering global citizenship’ are becoming two of the pressing priorities for the international community”.

Noting that it had been difficult to find consensus on the text, he said that “[w]e have substantially cut down our initial ambitions in order to accommodate the interests of all.”  Still, a flexible reading of the current draft showed that all concepts and interpretations Member countries had wanted were included, if not always with the explicit language sought.  The main outcome of the resolution would be the launch of a focused discussion on how to help educate peoples in the culture of peace and democracy; of tolerance of and respect for different civilizations and religions; and in upholding the values of freedom and human rights.

Also under consideration today, by the Assembly, were a series of reports on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.

The Assembly also decided to extend the work of the Second Committee to 13 December 2012.

Also speaking on sport for peace were delegates from:   Tunisia, Cuba, Brazil, Costa Rica, Australia, Belarus, South Africa, Jamaica and Germany.

Speaking on the follow-up issues were representatives of:   European Union, Barbados (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), United States, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Maldives, Mongolia, Bhutan and India.

On that issue, observers from the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance also spoke.

The General Assembly will next convene 29 November 2012 at 3:00 p.m. to take up the question of Palestine.

Background 

The General Assembly met today to consider sport for peace and to take up the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.

Among the documents before the Assembly was the Secretary-General’s Report on Sport for Peace and Development (document A/67/282), which summarizes the activities of the United Nations system, Member States and other actors toward accelerating the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals through sport-based initiatives and by integrating sport into the development agenda.

The report, which was submitted in response to the Assembly’s resolution 65/4, also provides an update on the activities of the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group and reviews the functioning of the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and its Trust Fund.

It also takes into account activities of the Human Rights Council related to sport and human rights issues and proposes a new Action Plan aimed at maximizing resources and harnessing the potential of sport to promote fundamental and human rights and to achieve inclusive and sustainable development, including the Millennium Goals, and peace-building objectives.

Regarding engagement of United Nations top officials in those efforts, the report notes that the General Assembly President made a solemn appeal on 29 June 2012, urging Member States “to demonstrate their commitment to the Olympic Truce for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympics Games, and to undertake concrete actions at the local, national, regional and world levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace and harmony based on the spirit of the Truce”. 

Further, the Secretary-General promoted the observance of the Olympic Truce through various means, including his 19 July 2012 message that called upon “all those engaged in hostilities to respect the Truce”.  He also participated in the Olympic torch run ahead of the London Games and delivered remarks at a public event on the theme “Olympic Truce and utilizing sport for social change,” the report states.

In the report, the Secretary-General described how Governments were implementing relevant resolutions:  Austria supports projects using sport as a means of development, funding seven projects in Bangladesh, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Mozambique, South Africa and Palestine in 2011, while Brazil - as the host of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013, the FIFA Football World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016 -- has developed numerous sports cooperation projects in partnership with several developing countries.

The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution on Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace (document A/67/L.26), which covers, among other things, the potential of sport to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and its role as a tool for education that can promote cooperation, solidarity, social inclusion and health at the local, national and international levels; the importance of sport and physical activity in combating non-communicable diseases; and the contribution of the Olympic movement as a unique means for the promotion of peace and development, in particular through the ideal of the Olympic Truce.

It would invite Member States, the organizations of the United Nations system, including its peacekeeping missions, special political missions and integrated peace-building missions, sport-related organizations, federations and associations, athletes, the media, civil society, academia and the private sector to collaborate with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace to promote greater awareness and action to foster peace and accelerate the attainment of the Millennium Goals through sport-based initiatives and promote the integration of sport for development and peace in the development agenda.

It further encourages Member States to undertake numerous actions to enhance the role of sport in achieving the aforementioned goals, among them:  urging Member States that have not yet done so to consider signing, ratifying and acceding to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities8 and the International Convention against Doping in Sport.

It also would request the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session on the implementation of the resolution including on specific initiatives aimed at ensuring more effective implementation of the Olympic Truce and progress made by Member States and the United Nations system, including activities and the functioning of the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and the Trust Fund for Sport for Development and Peace, as well as other relevant stakeholders, towards the implementation of the United Nations Action Plan on Sport for Development and Peace and the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group policy recommendations, among other areas, and present an updated Action Plan on Sport for Development and Peace.

For a separate discussion today, the Assembly had before it two notes by the Secretary-General, periodicity and scope of future reports on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits (document A/67/82), and integrating non-discrimination and equality into the post-2015 development agenda for water, sanitation and hygiene (document A/67/270).  For background see Press Release GA/11304.

Also under consideration by the Assembly was a draft resolution, education for democracy (document A/67/L.25), which, among other things, recognizes that education is key to strengthening democratic institutions, the realization of human rights and the achievement of all international development goals, including the Millennium Goals, and that while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that it does not belong to any country or region.

Reaffirmingthe fundamental link between democratic governance, peace, development and the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, the draft resolution encourages relevant stakeholders, among numerous other actions, to strengthen their efforts to promote the values of peace, human rights, democracy, respect for religious and cultural diversity and justice through education; integrate education for democracy, along with civic education and human rights education, into national education standards; and requests the Secretary-General, within existing reporting obligations, to report to the General Assembly at its sixty ninth session on the implementation of the resolution.

The Assembly was also set to consider the Secretary-General’s report on strengthening the institutional arrangements for support of gender equality and the empowerment of women (document A/67/201).  That report provides a summary of progress in the implementation of the section of General Assembly resolution 64/289 by which the Assembly established, as a composite entity, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN-Women.  The report covers progress with regard to general principles; governance of the Entity; administration and human resources; financing; and transitional arrangements.

The report concludes that while UN-Women has proceeded smoothly in further consolidating its leadership, and that coordination and coherence throughout the United Nations system have become more effective, areas where further work is necessary have also emerged more clearly.  Of highest concern is the fact that the resource mobilization targets for 2011 were not fully met.  If UN-Women is to fully discharge its mandate in the years to come, donor support to achieve a minimum funding level that is commensurate with the ambitions of that mandate will be essential.

Also in its conclusion, the report states that UN-Women will make greater efforts to more clearly present its role vis-à-vis the United Nations system in coordination and inter-agency settings, particularly with regard to building capacity and increasing the experience of UN-Women in the field.  Also, overly centralized decision-making continues to cause delays and transaction costs, along with insufficient communication.  These are priorities for the 2012 regional architecture process and for organizational effectiveness efforts more broadly.

Another report being considered by the Assembly is the annual report of the Secretary-General on accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals:  options for sustained and inclusive growth and issues for advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015 (document A/67/257), which summarizes recent progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and contains recommendations for the development agenda beyond 2015.  While significant progress has been made, particularly in reducing extreme poverty, the world community still has a long way to go to achieve all the targets by 2015, the report states.

The report explores issues relevant to fostering sustained and inclusive economic growth as part of strategies to achieve the Goals, with a particular focus on creating employment, especially for youth, and concludes that much greater coherence is needed among macroeconomic, trade, investment, financial, rural development and social policies in order to promote sustained and stable economic growth and the adequate creation of decent work, while ensuring environmental sustainability.

Coherent national policy efforts will need to be supported by reinvigorating the global partnership for development, the report states, and suggests actions towards that end.  The report further recommends that urgent attention be focused on ensuring coherence between the follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and the preparations for the post-2015 United Nations development agenda.

The report of the Director-General of the World Health Organization on options for strengthening and facilitating multi-sectoral action for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases through effective partnership transmitted in document A/67/373, also before the Assembly, gives an overview of existing partnerships in this area, their lessons learned and key elements for successful approaches, and proposes five models for global partnerships against non-communicable diseases.

The report stresses the need to form partnerships across societal sectors, public and private, as well as among government agencies and with international actors.  Among its many recommendations, the report proposes that Heads of State and Government appoint and provide resources for non-communicable disease leads, who report to them and are accountable for building multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder partnerships, guided by national plans and targets.

The report further provides a variety of examples of how those partnerships could combine to best address prevention, treatment and care as well as resource mobilization.  Among other things the report also stresses the importance of good governance to avoid conflicts of interest, especially when engaging actors with commercial interests.

Introduction of Draft on Sport for Development

ISABELLE F. PICCO (Monaco), introducing the draft resolution on sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace (document A/67/L.26) and speaking in her capacity as Co-President of the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace, noted that 2011 had marked the tenth anniversary of the mandate of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace and his office.  The efforts of the Special Advisers Adolf Ogi and Wilfried Lemke, over the past 10 years, had made sport an instrument for the promotion of the goals of development and peace in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Sport promoted the values of social inclusion, gender equality, tolerance, respect for rules and health, through exceeding ones own limits, she continued.  Those values should be defended in a world confronting new challenges every day.  “We must make use of all means available, of which sport was one,” she said, “to meet the tasks before us.  Where politics fail and life discriminates, sport can unify divided and torn communities and include everybody.”

Turning to the role of the Special Adviser, she said that he had been able to integrate sport as an instrument that could address many cross-cutting issues toward realizing the Millennium Development Goals.  Further, the draft addressed equality for women in sport and sought to include developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, through development of their national sport capacities, allowing them to take advantage of the economic benefits sport could provide.  In light of the popularity of major sporting events, the draft encouraged private – public partnerships in sport, which could lead to development of social and institutional infrastructure.  It also asserted the Olympic movement’s unique role in promoting sport for peace, particularly through the Olympic Truce.

Speaking in her national capacity, she said that through the Group of Friends, which the report mentioned for the first time, and in other ways, Monaco encouraged the integration of sport into efforts to achieve United Nations goals.  Sport had an unprecedented mobilizing impact, providing opportunity to defend ideals, share aspirations, fight poverty and achieve peace.  It was in that spirit that the International University of Monaco and the University for Peace had established a partnership, which would offer Master’s degrees in innovative ways to achieve lasting peace, including through sport.  She also noted the recent sixth International Forum on Peace and Sport, held in Sochi, Russian Federation, which had looked at the Olympic Games as a platform for peace.  In closing, she thanked United Kingdom authorities for the “magical moments” of the London Olympic Games.

Statements

EL KHANSA ARFAOUI HARBAOUI ( Tunisia) said sport was traditionally considered to be a key element in establishing norms of citizen conduct.  Tunisia therefore believed that access to sport was a fundamental right and part of a solid education for children and youth.  In addition, it was a major topic to be addressed at the United Nations, and a means to promote solidarity, tolerance and human diversity.  Congratulating the United Kingdom on its recent organization of the Olympic and Paralympics Games, she said that those events had emphasized the unifying nature of sport and its ability to promote friendship among peoples.

Making reference to the “noble nature” of sport and its many contributions, she said Tunisia took the opportunity to invite Member States of the United Nations to address the threat of doping in sport, and welcomed the increasing number of States that had signed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Convention against Doping in Sport.  In addition, she stressed that sports stadiums should not be used as a place for slogans of xenophobia or racism.  Aligned with Monaco in its introduction of the draft resolution on behalf of the “Group of Friends” and the cosponsors of the resolution, she said that the draft resolution invited Member States to appoint focal points responsible for sport for peace and development and to establish partnerships with the United Nations Office on Sports for Development and Peace.

OSCAR LEÓN GONZÁLEZ ( Cuba) said that the United Nations was based on the principles of the sovereign equality of all of its members, the pacific settlement of disputes, the non-use of force and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of States.  Nevertheless, today the world faced a “gloomy panorama” as a result of the current “unjust and unequal” world order.  The progress of Southern States to achieve development had been hampered.  In that regard, Cuba felt that sport was an important aspect of development at the international and national level, and was a practice that strengthened solidarity between peoples.  Following Cuba’s triumph of 1959, sport had become a right for all in the country.  The State had created an education system that ensured sport in education at all levels, and that had resulted in wide successes in the international sports arena.  He recalled, in that respect, that Cuba had ranked sixteenth overall at the recent London Olympic Games and fifteenth at the Paralympics Games.

Cuba was opposed to an athleticism that was purely motivated by financial gains, he continued, and therefore condemned the “theft” of sport talent from developing countries.  Cuba had enhanced international cooperation by making available its Institute for Sports Medicine and supporting anti-doping measures.  Countries of the South deserved to host the Olympic Games, he stressed, and in that regard Cuba was certain that the upcoming 2016 Summer Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, would be a great success.  “Let us invest in projects for the sake of education, sport and health”, instead of on weapons, he said.  Cuba also reiterated its desire to share its chief wealth – human capital – and the strong experiences it had built upon.

REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil) said the practice of sports was deeply rooted in Brazilian culture and society.  Access to sports constituted a fundamental social right, enshrined in its constitution.  The Government firmly believed in the potential of sport as an important factor for social inclusiveness and development.  Sport in Brazil was traditionally regarded as being instrumental in forging good standards of citizenship.  In that regard, Brazil welcomed the adoption of the resolution on “sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace”. 

She went on to say that Brazil envisaged sport as a broader set of policy objectives.  For instance, a programme employed more than 12,000 inmates from State prisons, where, among other things, they manufactured sports equipment, which was used in Government-sponsored sports education programmes.  Brazil was currently developing international sports cooperation projects in partnership with other developing countries, such as Benin, Botswana, Kenya, Palestine, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.  Brazil found itself at the beginning of an exciting, sport-centred decade, she said, citing mega sports events to be held there, namely the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013, the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic and Paralympics Games in 2016.  “The decision to host these mega-events is consistent with the priority accorded to the promotion of sustainable development and social inclusiveness,” she said.

EDUARDO ULIBARRI (Costa Rica) said that Baron Pierre de Coubertin believed that giving young people a sports education would enable them to create a life based on the joy of achievement and fundamental ethical values, as evidenced at the impeccable Olympic and Paralympics Games in London.  Sport played a role in social development and communication among peoples and was an excellent means to promote peace.  As a universal practice, it could educate people in respect, diversity and tolerance and should be included in national development agendas.  The organizers of major sporting events recognized their lasting positive effects on social inclusion and human rights and in opportunities to transform infrastructure.  He noted that last year’s resolution on the subject was adopted unanimously and that it was also the first resolution co-sponsored by all 193 Member States.

Further, sport and physical activity were essential to health.  Sport also created jobs.  Beyond the elite sporting events, sport was a motor for change.  Athletes could help promote social stability, reconciliation and dialogue, and as models for behaviour, could promote participation, non-discrimination and raise awareness of gender equality.  Turning to national activities, he said that for the first time, San Jose would host the Central American Games in 2013.  That provided an excellent opportunity to promote peace, human security and social development among the Central American family.  He enumerated a host of activities Costa Rica was undertaking with international partners and, in closing, noted that Costa Rica had lent its name to the Brighton Declaration on Women and Sports.

PETER STONE ( Australia) said that sport’s popularity, its capacity as a communications platform and its ability to connect people made it “a tool that can be used to meet a range of development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals”.  His nation’s Sports Outreach Programme supported major initiatives in seven countries and provided grants for smaller activities in more than 40 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific.  Australia’s approach to using sport to meet development objectives identified specific development outcomes in two key areas “where we believe we can make a real difference and deliver real results”.

First, he said, sport could play a powerful role in addressing the risk factors causing non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke, which placed a significant burden on health systems in developing countries already struggling to cope with such costs.  Second, sport could foster the inclusion and well-being of persons with disabilities.  Australia supported a programme in Fiji, enabling a combined rugby team from Fiji’s special schools to play in front of large crowds and community sports festivals.  That had promoted more a positive attitude towards people with disability.

PAUL WILLIAMS ( United Kingdom) said that 2012 had been a special year for the United Kingdom, as London played host to the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.  He expressed pride that the Paralympics had set new sporting records – attendance and for television audiences.  Noting that parts of the Games’ legacy, namely the International Inspiration sports legacy programme and the United Nations resolution on the Olympic Truce, were mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, he said that the first of those had enriched the lives of 11 million children in 20 countries through high-quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play and was on track to reach its target of 12 million by 2014.

Further, working in partnership with Member States, national Olympics committees, parliamentarians and civil society, the United Kingdom’s Diplomatic Missions had delivered over 80 Olympic Truce activities on every continent, he said.  None of that would have been possible without the participation and cooperation of many different partners.  Thanking the Secretary-General, the Assembly President and the Special Adviser on Sport and Development for Peace for their support of that work, he extended warm wishes to future hosts of the Games, noting that British Government Ministers had visited both Moscow and Rio de Janeiro as part of the Olympic handover and commitment to long-term legacy.  Welcoming agreements with Russian Federation, Brazil and the International Olympic Committee to promote the ideals of the Olympic Truce, he encouraged all Member States to do so.

SERGEY N. KAREV ( Russian Federation) offered high praise to the United Nations for its promotion of international cooperation in sport to strengthen mutual understanding among peoples and accord among civilizations.  During the difficult times the world was facing, the international community, more than ever, needed to further efforts for sport to be used as a motor for socio-economic development, and to achieve solidarity and tolerance for cultural diversity.  Sport was a powerful tool to educate the young in mutual respect, tolerance and the rejection of xenophobia, and particularly to protect them from the influence of destructive forces that provoked negative actions, including terrorism.

He fully supported the draft resolution, which presented ways for Member States and international stakeholders to broaden the contribution of sport toward resolving many contemporary problems.  Further, he said that sport was of great importance to Russian foreign policy.  Sochi had been chosen to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 in recognition, he said, of Russia’s achievements in sports and of its socio-economic and political development.

Those Games would be among the most innovative in history, he said, with one of those advances being the close proximity of Olympic venues and transportation infrastructure.  Modern sport facilities were being built using cutting edge technology to protect the environment.  He expressed the hope that the Sochi Games would become the new standard for large international events.  The Games would boost the regions’ economic development and make Sochi a world class resort and business centre.  They would encourage environmental protection and the integration of people with disabilities into the active life of society.  As a great unifier, sport could promote the culture of peace and dialog among civilizations.

NIKOLAI OVSYANKO ( Belarus) recalled that, in 2011, the Assembly had unanimously approved a resolution on “building a better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, by which it confirmed its commitment to those ideals.  One of those, he said, was non-discrimination.  As set out in the United Nations Charter, any form of discrimination was incompatible with the ideals of the Olympic Movement.  In that regard, reconciliation during the Olympic Games was promoted, among other ways, by ensuring safe travel for all those taking part in the Games.  However, not all Member States had undertaken their obligations in that regard during the recent Olympic Games in London.

Indeed, there had been a trend to use games to affect pressure on Member States, as well as the alarming trend to make sport and human achievement into a “battle between sponsors and [pharmaceutical] companies”.  In that regard, he recalled the recent doping scandals, the “double standards” in Olympic judging, and other negative trends.  Belarus believed that the joint efforts of the international community - if the political will was demonstrated - could put an end to those negative developments.  He therefore called on States to generate an international Olympic Movement towards that end.  It was time to establish clear mechanisms between the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee in order to ensure respect for the Olympic Truce and international cooperation.

TSHAMANO COMBRICK MILUBI ( South Africa) noted several “tremendous” initiatives and national policies and strategies that some Member States had advanced for sport to act as a catalyst to achieve many positive developmental aspects.  Coming just months after the London Olympic and Paralympics Games, the present meeting was also being held on the eve of the African Cup of Nations, to take place in South Africa in January 2013.  He stressed his hope that the tournament would be an opportunity to foster greater understanding and tolerance among different peoples in the spirit of nurturing peace.  In that regard, it was also worth mentioning that the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, held in South Africa, stretched beyond the obvious tangibles such as stadiums, roads, airports and the like.  “In South Africa we have experienced how sport can be an inspiring force for unity and peaceful change”, he said.  It had supported local economic development and created jobs, he said.

The South African National Sport and Recreation Plan emphasized the health benefits of an active nation, he continued.  There was a special focus on youth with the understanding that increased physical fitness could help improve children’s resistance to some diseases and that sport could help reduce the risk of adolescent pregnancies.  The programmes proposed in the Plan could also be used to reduce stigma and increase social and economic integration of people living with HIV and AIDS.  In addition, the Government had begun the roll-out of the “South Africa Sport for Change” programme, which showcased sport as a catalyst for change and to create positive behaviour.  “Sport has the power to move young [people] from the streets and at the same time provide health, education, development and peace”, he said.

RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica) said his country, despite its relatively small size, had enjoyed a long tradition of excellence in sport.  In the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, its sprint relay teams had “struck gold”.  “The magnificent world-class performance of our athletes in 2008, which was repeated at this year’s London Olympics, truly showed the power of sport to unite the world, and its potential for development,” he said, adding that the achievement by Jamaican athletes had taken on added significance as this year marked the fiftieth anniversary of the country’s independence.  In that vein, Jamaica joined other nations in co-sponsoring the resolution before the Assembly.

Jamaica’s national sport policy highlighted the critical importance of sport in the achievement of its development goals and national growth, he said.  Women continued to excel in most sporting events; they were integrally involved in decision-making for sport policies and comprised a number of Executive Boards and coaching staffs.  Sport was included in the school curriculums in Jamaica, from elementary to tertiary levels.  In the realization of the important role sport played in society, it was imperative that its integrity be preserved.  It was for that reason that the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission promoted the development and maintenance of a dope-free environment.

MIGUEL BERGER ( Germany) said that sports activities brought together people from different regional, cultural and religious backgrounds and helped to overcome cultural, linguistic and other barriers.  Moreover, sports programmes could foster social inclusion and help overcome discrimination against, and marginalization of, women and disabled persons.  Sports could also help to promote the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Goals.  Sports programmes could help to support internal political stabilization and social integration after periods of conflict, and they could play a major role in the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers and other youth, an aspect that Germany also followed closely in the Security Council working group on Children in Armed Conflict.

In that context, it was important to have a body – such as the United Nations Office for Sport for Development and Peace – that brought together and coordinated the different actors in the fields of sports and development.  As a member of the Group of Friends for Sport for Development and Peace, Germany saw clearly the added value of the Office’s work.  Germany was proud to have been the main sponsor of the Office’s activities since 2008, he added.

SHULAMIT DAVIDOVICH ( Israel) expressed support for the promotion of sport to advance education, health, development and peace, and welcomed the new Action Plan on Sport for Development and Peace.  Sports promote universal values such as honour, teamwork and tolerance and “help us to transcend our differences and remind us of our commonalities”.  It played an important role in advancing the Millennium Development Goals.  Singling out the goal of gender equality, she said that sport fostered empowerment and provided women with a chance to learn new skills and develop leadership abilities.  She welcomed the United Nations Office for Sports for Development and Peace’s thematic working group on sport and gender, which contributed to advancing gender equality around the world.

In 2009, the Israeli Government founded the Culture and Sports Ministry to harness the benefits of sport for Israeli society, she said.  In 2011, along with Germany it hosted the first international conference on “Sport as a mediator between Cultures” with support from UNESCO and other partners.  That provided a platform to understand how sport could contribute to education, social development, peace-building and cross-cultural reconciliation and an opportunity to devise strategies to use sport to those ends.  A follow-up event was planned for 2013 in Germany in cooperation with Palestinian and other partners from the Middle East.  The Ministry regularly organized activities bringing together Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians.  She also spoke of civil society programmes using sport to promote peace.

Action on Draft

The Assembly then adopted by consensus the draft resolution on sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace (document A/67/L.26).

Introduction of Draft on Education for Democracy

SUREN BADRAL (Mongolia), introducing the draft resolution on education for democracy (document A/67/L.25), said that as former Chair of the International Conference on New and Restored Democracies and current Chair of the Community of Democracies, Mongolia had made education for democracy a top priority.  It had presented a draft text on the matter to Member States for their input to create a consensus resolution.  Noting that the resulting text was not all the co-sponsors and other participating delegations had hoped for, he said that, nonetheless, a flexible reading of the current draft showed that all concepts and interpretations Member countries had wanted were included, if not always with the explicit language sought.  He said that “[w]e have substantially cut down our initial ambitions in order to accommodate the interests of all.”

Citing the Secretary-General, he said that “`developing a culture of democracy and fostering global citizenship’ are becoming two of the pressing priorities for the international community.”  Education for democracy worked toward those ends.  The main outcome of the draft resolution would be the launch of a focused discussion on how to help educate peoples in the culture of peace and democracy; of tolerance of and respect for different civilizations and religions; and in upholding the values of freedom and human rights.  Once adopted, the resolution would “contribute to fostering global citizenship with all members equally playing a pro-active role and globally sharing their own national best practices in education for democracy through [a] common platform,” he said in closing.

Statements

AMERICO BEVIGLIA ZAMPETTI, speaking for the Delegation of the European Union and addressing the agenda item on the “Integrated and Coordinated Implementation and Follow Up to the Outcomes of the Major United Nations Conferences and Summits in the Educational, Social and Economic Fields”, said that the first priority should be to increase the impact of development cooperation to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development targets by 2015.  Those Goals were essential to the European Union’s development efforts, he said, noting that a recent programme to accelerate those targets which were the most off-track had now been implemented.

Looking beyond 2015, the delegation recognized the power of the Millennium framework on catalyzing international development, and said that the future agenda should build on those achievements.  The Millennium Declaration, the Rio+20 Outcome Document and other agreements provided an ambitious foundation for the post-2015 framework.  In that regard, he stressed the importance of integrating Sustainable Development Goals that should address key global challenges, fully encompassed the three pillars of sustainable development, and were universal and applicable to all countries while allowing for differences in approach.  Improving the current framework, “while keeping it simple”, would now be the international community’s common challenge.

Turning to the report of the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) on options for strengthening and facilitating multi-sectoral action for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases through effective partnerships, he said that, prior to being considered in New York; those options should be further discussed.  The Director-General’s report presented a number of questions that had a wider scope.  The European Union felt that more emphasis should be placed on health determinants and preventative measures, and it stressed the need for a broader scope of research for public health interventions.  Nevertheless, it appreciated that the report of the Director-General addressed the need for international cooperation, and called for a more strategic, systemic and global approach to the control of non-communicable diseases under the leadership and guidance of the World Health Organization.

JOSEPH GODDARD (Barbados), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that, with respect to the five options put forward in the report of the Director-General of the World Health Organization, CARICOM was especially supportive of the third option, which related to a coordinated network.  The Group believed that it was the most appropriate and feasible in the short term, given the scope, scale and most importantly, the urgency of the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases.  The option presented many features necessary for a successful partnership to promote multi-sectoral approaches to addressing the issue of non-communicable diseases, he said.

In that regard, CARICOM supported the key role that WHO could and should play in such a global partnership as the technical lead on health.  It also held the view, however, that such a partnership required resources and technical assistance to ensure its effectiveness and desired impact.  Should adequate resources become available to support the partnership, CARICOM could have also considered a centralized and formalized partnership, such as that presented as option five in the aforementioned report.

Agreeing that there was a need for multi-sectoral plans and policies, and for partnerships to assist in that regard, he stressed nonetheless that they should be tailored in keeping with the national setting, as well as political, technical and operational needs.  At the same time, those efforts should be complemented by a global partnership that would support and enhance the development and implementation of such policies nationally, regionally and globally.

Recalling the request by the Assembly for a report to be submitted at its sixty-eighth session, in preparation for the comprehensive review and assessment in 2014 of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, CARICOM expressed its preference to receive the report at the end of December 2013 to ensure that it contained the most current information with sufficient time for consideration and contribution to the comprehensive review.  Further discussions were required on that issue, he said, adding that CARICOM was of the view therefore that all Member States should have the opportunity to participate in discussions to determine the scope and further details related to the partnership.

CHERYL SABAN ( United States), speaking only on the WHO report, said that multi-sectoral action was crucial to preventing non-communicable diseases and managing their long-term consequences.  The United States was currently implementing its first such prevention strategy working across the Government and with private and public partners.  The Assembly’s High-level Meeting on the subject had provided opportunities to consider best practices for multi-sectoral action and to convene and collaborate with civil society and the private sector.  She welcomed the report’s exploration of options to strengthen and facilitate such action and its appropriate focus on national action and the role of Governments in partnership with other stakeholders.

Country-level implementation of evidence-based, cost-effective interventions was central to reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25 per cent by 2025, she said.  To reach that target, guidelines, best practices and lessons learned on practical, effective, sustainable and widely applicable approaches to multi-sectoral action at the national level should be disseminated among Member States.  At all levels partnerships should create an environment conducive to health and healthy choices.

She endorsed the WHO’s leading role in facilitating coordinated action and agreed that multiple innovative partnerships were needed to cover the diverse challenges of such diseases.  The WHO Action Plan on Non-communicable Diseases for 2013-2020 would enhance the efficacy of existing global partnerships.  More information was needed on the interagency task force that would report to the Economic and Social Council.  She wanted to know how the interagency group would be harmonized under the auspices of WHO’s leadership.

PETER LLOYD VERSEGI ( Australia) was committed to advancing the work on all agenda items under discussion and said a coherent effort was needed to make further progress on the Millennium Development Goals.  While aid was important to that effort, promoting open trade and market access for developing countries, investment and private sector growth and sharing ideas and experience through south-south and triangular cooperation also played a vital role.  “As an international community, we cannot afford to take our eyes off this unfinished work,” he said, while also giving attention to the development agenda to follow.  Knowledge gained from the success of the Millennium Development Goal framework must be applied to those countries that were far from the targets.

While there were successes, such as gains in primary school enrolments and improvement in the enrolment of girls, more needed to be done to focus on the quality of education, to ensure that children were learning.  To that end the Secretary-General’s Education First initiative must be effectively implemented.  Further while there had been advances in HIV and malaria prevention and treatment, more needed to be done on the health Goals, including ensuring access to family planning for women and girls.  Noting that progress in achieving the Goals had been uneven within and between countries, he urged Member States, the United Nations and other stakeholders to work together to address inequalities and inequities in access to services and development opportunities.  Among other things, more must be done in the post-2015 development agenda to recognize the needs of women and girls and persons with disabilities.

REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP (Brazil) said the unequivocal message from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) was that “we must incorporate and place at the centre of our analysis the sustainability paradigm when looking at the development agenda for the twenty-first century”.  Economic development, social inclusion and rational use and conservation of natural resources had to be considered on an equal footing and could not be disassociated from each other.  The goals to be considered in the negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda must build on and be improved and enriched by the current Millennium Development Goals.  An inclusive, open and transparent Member State-driven process of consultations must be held in order to define what the goals to be included in the post-2015 agenda, how progress would be measured and what would be the means of implementation. 

She went on to discuss Sustainable Development Goals, which would be another fundamental component of the post 2015 agenda.  Synergetic links between the Millennium targets and the Sustainable Development Goals processes needed to be developed.  It would be important to associate the financial and technological aspects to the discussions of those Goals from an early stage.  Whereas the Millennium Goals had focused on developing countries, the Sustainable Development Goals were to be universal and would entail obligations for all nations, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

On the United Nations reform, she said Brazil looked forward to the consideration by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the Secretary-General’s proposals in the areas of administrative reform and change management.  Brazil agreed that it was essential that the United Nations had access to a talented, multi-skilled, motivated and diverse workforce.  Her delegation would participate actively and constructively in the discussions of the Secretary-General’s proposals on mobility of staff members, bearing in mind the need to ensure equitable geographic representation in the Secretariat. 

DESRA PERCAYA ( Indonesia) said that the Millennium Development Goal framework had been viewed as having certain constraints, including being too focused on human development while not giving adequate attention to the need for general economic growth and development.  Today, it was increasingly recognized that countries, which had not experienced sustained or economic growth would have difficulties in meeting their poverty reduction targets, as well as other Millennium Goals, by 2015.  It was in that context that the Assembly’s resolution 65/10 (2010) had stressed the promotion of sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth was necessary for accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and promoting sustainable development.  “Greater emphasis on growth will help to create more jobs and provide social protection aiming at protecting and empowering people and communities, the most vulnerable groups in particular”, he said.

“The world will not stop in 2015”, he continued, adding that the international community must take further steps to advance the United Nations development agenda beyond that date.  Incorporating the development concept of sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and development as an integral part of the post-2015 framework could greatly contribute to achieving not only existing goals, but also new targets.

Turning to the challenge of controlling and preventing non-communicable diseases, he said that three in five deaths in Southeast Asia were caused by such illnesses and that an estimated 8 million people died of non-communicable diseases in the region every year.  Indonesia was grappling with the double threat of communicable and non-communicable diseases.  It had given priority to minimizing the use of tobacco, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.  However, the scale and virulence of non-communicable diseases required unprecedented political commitment at the highest levels.  Mobilization of resources and building of a “genuine global partnership” with civil society, private sectors, philanthropies and other partners were therefore essential.

DMITRY I. MAKSIMYCHEV ( Russian Federation) said that the costs of the global economic and financial crisis had impacted countries whose development strategies were focused on social equality, full productive employment and decent work for all.  Unemployment was often a key factor in political instability and armed conflicts.  Employment, therefore, should be a priority of the post-2015 development agenda.  The Russian Federation had accumulated considerable practical experience in the development of social and labour institutions, he went on.  Its labour laws had been reformed, labour markets were regulated and there were professional training programmes, especially for vulnerable segments of the population, among other things.  His country was prepared to share its experiences with the international community.

Turning to the issue of non-communicable diseases, he said that the first Moscow Ministerial Conference on a healthy lifestyle and non-communicable disease, along with the General Assembly’s high-level meeting on the matter, and the WHO’s multi-sector strategy to combat them had advance international dialog on the subject.  He hoped that WHO would have a new plan of action for 2014-2020.  The Russian Federation had given over $7 million to WHO to combat non-communicable diseases for 2012-2013 and planned to give more than $36 million to developing countries towards that end.  He hoped that the national plan set up to monitor those diseases and their risk factors would eventually be integrated into WHO’s information systems.

On reform, he said that it was not a goal unto itself, but should be implemented in close consultation with Member States.  He particularly singled out implementation of Umoja and the transition to international accounting standards among other areas, all of which lacked long-term strategies and vision as well as internal oversight.

JEFFREY SALIM WAHEED (Maldives) - stressing that governance institutions should be able to tackle global economic imbalances, promote sustained, inclusive and equitable growth, advance multilateral trade agreements and enhance food and energy security, among other goals – noted with concern the current infrastructure of global governance.  “Both decentralization and inequity remains present within its membership and its voting patterns”, he said in that regard.  Yet, it was important to understand that global governance went beyond the United Nations to other agencies and organizations, including the World Trade Organization and the Bretton Woods Institutions.

The Maldives believed that, besides regional groups, a particular emphasis needed to be given to the non-State actors that had been ever-present in development and policy dialogue.  The global economic system should be more capable of dealing with interconnected socio-economic challenges; it should be more coherent and coordinated and should be supported by institutions which were representative, inclusive and effective.  In view of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, the Maldives believed that the multilateral framework should capture and respond to specific regional needs and demands, especially for vulnerable small States.  “Smaller and poorer countries are often the most affected by global rules [while] having little to say in their design”, he said in that regard.

Regional arrangements could help to provide better representation for smaller and least developed countries, providing greater ownership and engagement in global policy.  Turning to the Millennium Development Goals, he said that his country had had much success in meeting the targets, having eradicated extreme poverty, achieved universal primary education, reduced child mortality and combated deadly diseases.  In addition, as a board member for the UN-Women for the upcoming term, the Maldives looked forward to more efficient gender mainstreaming across United Nations entities, while stressing the importance of addressing women’s underrepresentation in governance structures and in political participation.

OCH OD ( Mongolia) stressed the need to do more with limited resources as well as the need to take into account the results of surveys and studies undertaken by different United Nations agencies and research centres in efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  According to a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report, ensuring the availability of voluntary family planning to everyone in developing countries would reduce costs for maternal and new born health care by $11.3 billion annually.  The report emphasized that family planning was more than an economic issue and was connected to human rights and access to education.  It estimated that 3 million fewer babies would die in their first year of life if 120 million more women had access to family planning.

Noting with appreciation the report of the Director-General of WHO on non-communicable diseases, he said Mongolia had made particular efforts to reduce the risks of harmful use of alcohol as it had serious implications for his country and the health of future generations.  Alcohol use had become a major contributing factor in accidents, road traffic injuries, crime, violence and unemployment.  Studies had shown that alcohol abuse was also associated with poverty in Mongolia.  The nation’s efforts included the promotion of public education against alcohol use, as well as increased taxes on alcohol.  The President’s 2011 appeal on non alcohol use had received a wide support in the Government, private health sector and civil society.  Last year during the high-level General Assembly meeting on non-communicable disease, Mongolia had put forward the notion of developing an international convention on alcohol use control, similar to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  That idea should get due consideration within the framework of WHO in the coming years.   

LHATU WANGCHUK ( Bhutan) said it was fitting that on 19 July 2011, with the unanimous adoption of resolution A/65/309, “Happiness:  Towards a Holistic Approach to Development,” the Assembly resolved to accept well-being and happiness as a fundamental and universal goal that bound all humanity with a common vision.  Several months ago, the Assembly had declared 20 March as the International Day of Happiness.  Mandated by that resolution, Bhutan was honoured to host the “High-level Meeting on Well-being and Happiness:  Defining a new economic paradigm”.  More than 800 people, including world leaders, academics and concerned citizens, had been motivated to meet and discuss the shift to a global path that focused more on human well-being and happiness.

Following up on the recommendation of the High-level meeting, His Majesty King Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck had established an International Expert Working Group, comprised of more than 50 positive thinkers from around the world, he said.  They were expected to outline a development approach in the coming two years and refine four themes:  well-being and happiness; ecological sustainability; fair distribution; and the efficient use of resources.  They would explore its accounting and measurement systems, regulatory and financial mechanisms, and trade, governance and institutional arrangements.  Fully committed to the promotion of a sustainable and progressive human civilization within a peaceful and secure environment, Bhutan would like to initiate a draft procedural resolution on “Well-being and Happiness” during the sixty-seventh Assembly’s plenary session.

HARDEEP SINGH PURI ( India), speaking on the topic of “strengthening the institutional arrangements for support of gender equality and empowerment of women”, noted the significant milestones that UN-Women had achieved at the end of its second operational year.  In the South Asian region, that entity’s work in areas ranging from political participation and leadership to economic empowerment to ending violence against women and gender responsive annual budgeting had been critically enabling factors in shaping national policy narratives.  UN-Women, in partnership with the Government of India, had enabled over half a million elected women representatives in five Indian states to realize their rights and foster their leadership skills.  By the end of the year, nearly 365 million Indian women will have been empowered by that programme, and were now equipped with knowledge and skills to participate in local governance.

Reviewing other successful programmes, he stressed that his delegation was encouraged by the progress made to reinstate the leading role of the United Nations in pursuing gender equality and the empowerment of women under the able leadership of UN-Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet.  “Representing a country that is home to more than 500 million women, in India, we are firmly convinced that ensuring the rightful place of women in society is not only a moral imperative but an essential prerequisite for achieving peace, prosperity and sustainable development”, he said, reaffirming his country’s steadfast commitment to those efforts.

ANDERS B. JOHNSSON, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said that when the Millennium Declaration was adopted 12 years ago, it had been greeted with great hope.  An important highlight had been the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals as a set of commitments that all countries could realistically achieve within the span of fifteen years.  With only three years left before the Goals’ deadline, the world’s record was mixed.  Some of the goals appeared to be on track, but “the picture gets clouded the moment we look at most countries’ individual scorecards,” he said, adding “we cannot afford to waste a day and we must all collectively continue to work hard to fill important gaps”.

For several years, the Inter-Parliamentary Union had helped raise awareness of the Millennium Goals among parliamentarians.  It had done so through a number of debates and resolutions that provided a consensus approach to the various goals, but also by helping parliaments strengthen their capacities to oversee Government action, adopt enabling legislation and make budgetary decisions that were aligned with the development priorities of each country. 

As with Governments, the views of parliaments on a post-2015 development agenda could range widely in both scope and direction.  The central role of democracy and of development cooperation was already emerging as critical topics in that regard.  The problem of development was not only economic, but also political.  Unequal access to and participation in decision making - which often grew out of an unequal distribution of incomes and wealth, confrontational politics where the winner took all, and other such imbalances - was the root cause of many development failures.  Democratic governance must find expression in the future Sustainable Development Goals with clearly defined indicators or objectives.  Equally important, the post-2015 development framework must be accompanied by a clear commitment to financing.    

Speaking on the issue of education for democracy, MASSIMO TOMMASOLI, Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, said any democratic constitution enshrined and guaranteed the right to education.  That was a fundamental issue for the assessment of whether economic and social rights were equally guaranteed for all.  The debates on constitutional reforms characterizing political transitions, especially in the Arab region, showed that the right to education had a direct impact on an inclusive concept of citizenship, particularly for gender equality.

Education’s transformative power for democracy was especially important for democracy building and democracy assistance.  It was directly linked to voter education and contributed to one of the most visible forms of democratic participation.  But it was also important for parliamentary support and the development of political parties.  Education for democracy shaped the institutions and substance of democratic dialogue among political stakeholders, he said.  In partnership with the United Nations and other international actors, the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance had developed a global training curriculum on electoral processes, known as BRIDGE - Building Resources for Democracy, Governance and Elections.  It had been used during political transitions and one of its key modules was civic education.  “Education for democracy is, in fact, a lifelong endeavour”, he added.

Action on Draft

Prior to taking a decision on the draft, the representative of the Secretariat said that there was an additional cost of $113,200 for the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management associated with the resolution, to be incurred during the proposed biennium 2014-2015.  There were therefore no budgetary implications associated with the item for the 2012-2013 biennium.

The Assembly then adopted, by consensus, the draft resolution on education for democracy (document A/67/L.25).

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.