More than a game – recovering better with sports
Sport is all about participation. It has the power of bringing together individuals, communities and countries, often bridging cultural, ethnic and national divides. But as COVID-19 has ravaged through our world, it has taken a heavy toll on both professional and recreational sports.
As the pandemic hit, many sporting events were postponed or cancelled to protect athletes and audiences alike. It was only months into the crisis that players were able to return to arenas, thanks to much innovation and collaboration. In most cases, fans were still absent, and the come-back had varying consequences for the athletes and their families.
“The world of sport was among those sectors most visibly affected — hard and early,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a new advocacy brief, ‘Recovering Better: Sport for Development and Peace Reopening, Recovery and Resilience Post-COVID-19’, launched by the United Nations on 15 December 2020.
Co-led by UN DESA and UN-Women, the new brief was collaboratively drafted by sport focal points in a large number of UN entities including the World Health Organization, UN Office for Drugs and Crime, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, International Labour Organization, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Children’s Fund, UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, UN Climate Change, UN Environment Programme and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism.
The brief sets out a vision to support the reopening, recovery and resilience of sport, calling for team spirit among nations, organizations and social groups to achieve the global goals. It also presents critical actions to be addressed across four key areas – promoting human rights and combatting discrimination; ensuring equal access to sport and physical activity; safeguarding participants; and ensuring integrity in sport.
“Already a pioneer and promoter of inclusive and sustainable development in an unstable and unequal world, the sporting world must now redefine and redesign itself, not only to improve its resilience to future shocks, but to broaden its contribution to the world’s efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals,” Mr. Guterres said.
Learn more about the role of sports for peace and development in the new brief ‘Recovering Better: Sport for Development and Peace Reopening, Recovery and Resilience Post-COVID-19’