Participants in an Escalade Race in Geneva.
An increasing number of public and private initiatives on climate action in the field of sport are emerging at the local and international levels.
Photo:UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Sport has the power to align our passion, energy and enthusiasm around a collective cause. And that is precisely when hope can be nurtured and trust can be regained. It is in our collective interest to harness the tremendous power of sport to help build a better and more sustainable future for all."


- UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport

 

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), which takes place annually on 6 April, presents an opportunity to recognize the positive role sport and physical activity play in communities and in people’s lives across the globe.

Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right and a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace, as well as solidarity and respect for all.

In recognition of sport’s broad influence, the global theme of IDSDP 2022 is, “Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport,” which creates an opportunity for the Day’s celebrations to promote the use of sport as a tool to advance human rights and sustainable development. Under this theme, UN Headquarters in New York will recognize the role of sport in addressing the climate crisis and will highlight actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate against climate change.

Sport is in a unique position to display leadership, to take responsibility for its carbon footprint, engage in a climate neutral journey, incentivize action beyond the sporting sector, and play a major role in amplifying awareness among its billions of spectators, facilitators and participants at all levels. With the need for urgent action growing more dire every day, the relationship between sport and climate must be better understood and ways of developing policies and taking concrete action to help reverse the impact of climate change through sport must be communicated to as wide an audience as possible.

Today, our world faces generational challenges, from poverty and hunger, to climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever, we need to overcome our differences and unite as one team working together to tackle these obstacles and create a safer, more peaceful, and more sustainable future for all.

 

The Role of Sport in Combating Climate Change

With the need for urgent action growing more dire every day, the relationship between sport and climate must be better understood and ways of developing policies and taking concrete action to help reverse the impact of climate change through sport must be communicated to as wide an audience as possible. Watch the virtual event hosted by UN Under-Secretary-General Melissa Fleming on YouTube and UN Web TV.

Background

Due to its vast reach, unparalleled popularity and foundation of positive values, sport is ideally positioned to contribute towards the United Nations’ objectives for development and peace.

To raise awareness of this potential, 6 April was declared as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) by the UN General Assembly. The adoption of this Day signifies the increasing recognition by the UN of the positive influence that sport can have on the advancement of human rights, and social and economic development.

In its Resolution (A/RES/67/296) establishing the Day, the General Assembly

invites States, the United Nations system and, in particular, the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, relevant international organizations, and international, regional and national sport organisations, civil society including, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and all other relevant stakeholders to cooperate, observe and raise awareness of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace."

 

Sport encourages:

  • Individual development
  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • The promotion of gender equality
  • Social integration and the development of social capital
  • Peace building and conflict prevention/resolution
  • Post-disaster/trauma relief and normalisation of life
  • Economic development
  • Communication and social mobilisation

The power of sport values

a climber amidst beautiful mountains

The social and physical roles of sport are especially relevant today, in a global context deeply challenged by discrimination, insecurity and violence.

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."

 

Children play soccer on a beach.

“Youth, Sport & Climate”

At last September’s Driving Ambition Pre-COP Summit, which convened hundreds of young climate leaders from around the world to put forward ideas and concrete proposals on some of the most pressing issues on the climate agenda, the delegates formally recognized the power of sport to “inspire societal change” and “contribute to climate change awareness while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions” in their Youth4Climate Manifesto. This youth-led opening of Pre-COP26 was co-organized by Connect4Climate, a World Bank Group partnership program committed to building an intersectional climate movement. Connect4Climate has long harnessed the unifying power of athletics through its Sport4Climate activities and last year teamed up with the British educational organization D&AD to put on a “Cheer on the Planet” advertising brief competition, which invited young creatives to develop unique #Sport4Climate marketing campaigns aimed at catalyzing on-the-ground climate action for sports fans in particular and among communities around the world. From reusable cups and resurrected nets to striking visualizations of the links between climate and sport, the winning pitches employed a host of different approaches to powerfully make their points!

See all the finalist’s #Sport4Climate pitches: Here

Read the Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition manifesto: Here

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.