The SDP IWG emerged from the work of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace and was launched at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games. The mandate of the SDP IWG from 2004-2008 was to articulate and adopt policy recommendations which were outlined in the report “Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace: Recommendations to Governments” that was 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) 1.
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, and 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 passed 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”, hosted by UNOSDP.
In April 2009, an official call for funding was made to UN Member States by UNOSDP to provide sufficient funding to enable the commencement of the SDP IWG within the UN system. An initial pledge made by the United Kingdom has ensured that the Thematic Working Group on “Sport and Child & Youth Development” began its operations in December 2009.
On the occasion of the second Plenary Session of the SDP IWG on 12 May 2011, the “Sport and Gender” Thematic Working Group was activated and is chaired by Norway and co-chaired by Tanzania. The gathering also elected South Africa and Russia as Vice-Chairs of the “Sport and Peace” Thematic Working Group. Subject to further funding, the two additional Thematic Working Groups will also begin operations (“Sport and Health” and “Sport and Persons with Disabilities”).
1 The Accra Call for Action on Sport for Development and Peace (December 4, 2007, Accra, Ghana).