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The SDP IWG was launched at a roundtable forum in Athens which was held in conjunction with the 2004 Summer Olympic Games and which brought together various government and UN system representatives. The mandate of the SDP IWG from 2004-2008 was to articulate and adopt policy recommendations. These were outlined in the report “Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace: Recommendations to Governments”, presented at the Beijing Olympics 2008.

At a meeting of the SDP IWG on 4 December 2007 in Accra, Ghana, Ministers and high-level officials from 43 countries, UN and regional institutions agreed to the ongoing need for a coordinating forum to support knowledge exchange, capacity-building and SDP policy implementation following the completion of the original SDP IWG four-year mandate. It was recognized that the work of the SDP IWG should continue in the long-term within the UN system up to 2015, which is the target date for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The new mandate for the SDP IWG, prepared by the former SDP IWG Secretariat (NGO Right To Play) and the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), was endorsed by Ministers of Youth and Sport or their representatives, from 38 nations at the SDP IWG meeting held on 7 August 2008 in Beijing.

On 11 December 2008, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/63/135 entitled “Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace”. The Resolution recognized the need for a new SDP IWG mandate and welcomed the incorporation of the SDP IWG under the leadership of the Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace.

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