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“Keeping the Momentum Going” : Call to Action by UN Special Adviser on Sport on the Occasion of his Re-appointment and the 10th Anniversary of the Mandate’s Establishment

7 April 2011
2008-04-07_Meeting with Ban Ki-moon_Credit 'UN Photo by Paulo Filgueiras'.jpg
7 April 2008, New York – Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon meets with his Special Adviser
on Sport for Peace and Development,
Wilfried Lemke. © UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Geneva (UNOSDP) – On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the mandate of Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace and in connection with his re-appointment to the post for a fourth year, Wilfried Lemke makes a ‘Call to Action’ with a view to sustaining the momentum in harnessing the potential of sport and physical activity in the advancement of education, health, development and peace objectives.

“I call upon UN Member States, UN entities, sports organizations, international and civil society organisations, the academia, the private sector and the media to work in close partnership and to make every possible use of the innovative tools that sport places at our disposal in the pursuit of development cooperation, humanitarian aid and peace-building efforts,” Mr. Lemke states.

“I also recall UN General Assembly resolution 65/4, adopted on 18 October 2010, inviting the international community to ‘provide voluntary contributions to and to enter into innovative partnerships’ with my Office and with the Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group." Continues Mr. Lemke: “Not to mention the need to support similar sport-related initiatives throughout the entire UN family.”

Recalling the history of the ‘Sport for Development and Peace’ movement, he points out a “remarkable acceleration over the past decade with regard to recognizing and harnessing the transformative power of sport and physical education, in particular within the UN system.”

He continues: “As demonstrated by major policy developments, by increasing media attention, and by a growing number of specialized projects, organizations, research, and corporate social responsibility practices, ‘Sport for Development and Peace’ has grown into a strong movement and has hopefully reached a point of no return.”

Mr. Lemke mentions the appointment in 2001 of his predecessor Adolf Ogi, following the adoption of the UN Millennium Declaration, as being the “stepping stone” for this fast-growing trend as well as “an important milestone in leading the UN efforts in bringing the international community and the world of sport closer together.”

In that respect, he pays tribute to the “strong impetus and leadership” of former and current Secretary-Generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, while praising the UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies for their “dedication in mobilizing the power of sport in their programmes and activities.”

Referring to his recent re-appointment, Mr. Lemke declares: “I feel deeply honoured to have been given an extension of my appointment by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to be given the opportunity to continue to serve the UN. On behalf of the UN family, I will continue to make the case worldwide for sport as a force for a more peaceful and equitable world, and to support like-minded partners in our common efforts.”

Looking back, the Special Adviser observes that significant progress has been made. But looking ahead, he insists on the work that remains to be done. “The MDG deadline is only four years away and we must keep the momentum going to contribute to their realization,” he concludes.

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