Children playing on swings at a playground.
Children playing on swings at a playground.
Photo:WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

As vaccines spread hope and spectators begin to return to arenas, the world of sport has crucial contributions to make in forging a safe and sustainable recovery. We will play and cheer again when everyone is safe from the pandemic.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Sport and physical activity for better reopen and recover

Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right, a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace and well as solidarity, and respect. Through our unique individual skills and collective power, we can come together and share creative ways to improve our health and well-being through sport and physical activity - even from the confines of our own homes.

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on 6 April presents an opportunity to recognize the role that sport and physical activity plays in communities and in people’s lives across the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to gather as friends, for teams and fans to compete, play and cheer together. It has taken a toll on individuals, societies, organizations and economies. Measures put in place to defeat the pandemic have touched every aspect of our lives, including sport. But sport itself can help play a role in building resilience and in the recovery from the pandemic. It can help in the effort to build back better to a more resilient and equitable world.

Sport can help promote fairness, teambuilding, equality, inclusion and perseverance. Sport and physical activity can also help us get through times of crisis, like COVID19, by reducing anxieties and improving physical and mental health. Professional sport also provides employment and income to many people around the world and an integral sector to the economic success of many communities and regions.

Sport can cross boundaries and defy stereotypes and inspire hope across nations, but we will only be able to get back to this, if we recover better and help end the pandemic by helping ensure everyone is protected from COVID-19.

Now more than ever we must act as a team to defeat the pandemic, level the playing field for fair and equal vaccine distribution and support each other to recover stronger from the pandemic.


Sport day logo

#OnlyTogether can we play or cheer again

Between Wednesday, 31 March, through to, and on Tuesday, 6 April, we ask you share on your social media platforms a picture or video showing the value of sport in your life and highlight the importance of ensuring we are all protected from COVID-19 so we can return to moments like this in the future. We ask that you use the hashtags #OnlyTogether and #SportDay

And if you cannot share your own picture, you can share a graphic social media asset we provide, with your own caption alongside the hashtags #OnlyTogether and #SportDay.

We ask that you include in your caption the following core message:

Let’s help end the pandemic by ensuring everyone is protected from COVID-19. Let’s level the playing field and recover better. #OnlyTogether will we [play] [cheer] again. #SportDay

A photo of women playing rugby with text overlay


Sport and Sustainable Development

Sport has proven to be a cost-effective and flexible tool in promoting peace and development objectives. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sport’s role for social progress is further acknowledged: "Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives."


illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.