Ladies and gentlemen,
I warmly welcome you to this important meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on Model Indicators on Sport and the SDGs. I am very pleased that the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN DESA, is co-hosting the Working Group meetings today and tomorrow, with the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Since 2017, UN DESA has housed the substantive portfolio on sport, development and peace within the UN system. It continues this work on many fronts, including on mainstreaming the various tracks of engagement on sport-related issues into relevant intergovernmental discussions.
The 2020 General Assembly resolution on “Sport as an enabler of sustainable development” has encouraged Member States and relevant entities to advance the consolidation of sport, in cross-cutting development and peace strategies. And, to ensure the monitoring and evaluation of such strategies, policies and programmes.
Member States have noted the lack of centralized global socioeconomic data and statistics on sport. They have thus encouraged the UN system to continue its work with the Commonwealth Secretariat, and other partners, to establish a shared indicator framework, in line with the Kazan Action Plan.
Indicators are vital to measuring sports-related development progress. Member States, UN system and civil society organizations have underlined the importance of data collection in this area, and of the need for relevant research, monitoring and evaluation. It is important to note that more countries are including sport-related data in their Voluntary National Reviews to present at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
These are encouraging developments. And beyond data collection and analysis, allow me to share with you other recent efforts by UN DESA that are connected to sport, development and peace. These include:
- Technical and substantive support to Member States for the Olympic Truce resolution;
- Liaison with the Group of Friends of Sport in New York;
- Outreach on sport and SDGs, including with the Sport and Development platform online; and
- Networking with stakeholders to ensure effective policy alignment.
In order to align its work on sport for development and peace with your efforts, I am pleased to propose UN DESA as the next host of the Open-ended Working Group, at its fourth session. This will take place in New York in November of 2021.
I hope your discussions will reinvigorate the importance of indicators in sport for development and peace. Let us, together, work to advance the power of sport to unite all people, of all abilities, from all regions of the world.
I wish you a very successful meeting.
I thank you.