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Governments Commit to Accelerate Development and Peace through Sport

12 May 2011
© UNOSDP/Antoine Tardy

Geneva (UNOSDP) -- United Nations Member States agreed on a number of joint efforts to further mainstream sport as a tool for development and peace during the 2nd Plenary Session of the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG), held at the United Nations Office at Geneva (Switzerland) on 12 May 2011.

The event gathered 30 Government Representatives from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania as well as around 30 representatives from International Organizations, sports organizations, academia and other civil society organizations. The participants conducted detailed policy exchanges and experience sharing on perspectives of using sport as tool for development work and peace-building.

Wilfried Lemke, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, stated at the opening of the meeting: “The International Working Group is an extremely important forum for setting the policy agenda and building the case for using sport as a tool for social change.” He added: “Governments should team up and work in partnership with each other and with their partners to fully realize the great potential that sport offers as a multipurpose tool in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.” 

The meeting was chaired by Mrs. Debbie Lye, International Development Director at UK Sport and Director of International Inspiration, London 2012's international sports legacy programme.

The meeting elected (or re-elected) the following governments to lead its efforts in the various Thematic Working Group areas for the coming two year period:

The meeting welcomed the nomination of Senegal to lead the Thematic Working Group on ‘Sport and Health’ and also took note of ongoing discussions to identify lead countries for the issue of ‘Sport and Persons with Disabilities’.

The following countries were (re)elected as Regional Representatives for a two years period:

  • Africa: Tanzania
  • Americas: Brazil
  • Asia: Lebanon

The following countries continue as Regional Representatives for another year:

  • Europe: UK
  • Oceania: Australia

The mandate of the SDP IWG is focused on further developing and assisting Governments in implementing the policy and programme recommendations outlined in the report “Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace: Recommendations to Governments” published in 2008. The Group is operating entirely based on voluntary contributions and has received financial support from the Governments of Canada, Norway and the United Kingdom.

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See photos of the meeting here.
For more information on the SDPIWG, click here.

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