The United Nations and the Olympic flags are raised at the UN Headquarters.

The United Nations and the Olympic Truce

The ancient Greek tradition of the ekecheiria, or "Olympic Truce", was born in the eighth century B.C., serving as a hallowed principle of the Olympic Games. In 1992, the International Olympic Committee renewed this tradition by calling upon all nations to observe the Truce. Through its resolution 48/11 of 25 October 1993, the General Assembly urged Member States to observe the Olympic Truce from the seventh day before the opening to the seventh day following the closing of each Olympic Games. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders in 2015, re-affirmed sport as an “important enabler” of sustainable development.

The Olympic movement aspires to contribute to a peaceful future for humankind through the educational value of sport. It brings together athletes from all parts of the world in the greatest of international sports events, the Olympic Games, and it aims to promote the maintenance of peace, mutual understanding and goodwill — goals it shares with the United Nations. As an expression of these common objectives, in 1998 the International Olympic Committee decided to fly the United Nations flag at all competition sites of the Olympic Games. The United Nations for its part, is expanding its cooperation with the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic family at large through a number of agreements and partnerships.

Solemn Appeals and Messages

Beginning in 1994, the President of the General Assembly began making a Solemn Appeal for the observance of a truce during the Olympics. Since 2006, the appeal was also made for the subsequent Paralympic Games. The appeal is made every two years, right before the start of either the Summer or Winter Olympics and Paralympics.


The Olympic Truce, or ekecheria, is based on an ancient Greek tradition, dating back to the eighth century B.C. All conflicts ceased during the period of the Truce, which began seven days prior to the opening of the Olympic Games and ended on the seventh day following the closing of the Games, so that athletes, artists, their relatives and pilgrims could travel safely to the Olympic Games and afterwards return to their countries.

The sacred Greek tradition of ekecheiria (truce) constituted the cornerstone of the Olympic Games in ancient times, providing safety and a peaceful environment for both the athletes competing in the Games and for the spectators in attendance. Its very adoption was dictated by the oracle of Delphi as a way to put an end to the wars that at the time devastated the Peloponnese. The longest lasting peace accord in history was thus created.

Olympism was revived in 1896, aiming at contributing to a peaceful future for mankind through the educational value of sport. The Olympic Movement brings together the youth of the world in a great sports festival, promoting peace, friendship, solidarity and fair play.

Since 1993, support for the Olympic Truce has grown steadily within the General Assembly, reaching the unprecedented unanimous co-sponsorship of the latest resolution. During these turbulent times, Member States are demonstrating their confidence in the Olympic Truce Ideal.

Today the Olympic Truce has become an expression of mankind's desire to build a world based on the rules of fair competition, peace, humanity and reconciliation. Moreover, the Olympic Truce epitomizes a bridge from the old and wise tradition to the most compelling purpose of the United Nations – the maintenance of international peace and security. As the most visible illustration of this connection in goals and aspirations between the Olympic movement and the United Nations, the International Olympic Committee decided, starting from 1998, to fly the United Nations flag at all competition sites of the Olympic Games.

The application of the Olympic Truce to the Paralympic Games and its relating recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities is another important achievement building on the General Assembly resolutions. The power of sport to achieve social inclusion and encourage the active participation of persons with disabilities on an equitable basis with others was directly demonstrated. (A/65/270, para.7)

Valiant attempts have consistently been made by the United Nations in an effort to bring peace and stability to the troubled regions of the world. That goal may still remain elusive, but if the Olympic Truce can help us to bring about even a brief respite from conflict and strife it will send a powerful message of hope to the international community.


General Assembly Resolutions

International Olympic Committee (IOC)