Doha, Qatar

29 November 2008

Secretary-General's remarks at event for Global Sport Fund for Youth [as prepared for delivery]

Members of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join you today in support of this important initiative.

We all know the vulnerability of young people to drug addiction and criminality.

And we are painfully aware that too many young people become child soldiers or victims of human trafficking.

Our challenge, in rich and poor countries like, is to give young people the skills, confidence and opportunities they need to make informed choices and lead safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Sport can empower young people in just this way. So I very much welcome this chance to learn about the teamwork between the Qatar Olympic Committee and the United Nations.

The Global Sport Fund uses sports to help young people -- particularly the millions of boys and girls affected by poverty, natural disasters and armed conflict.

It is helping young people to get involved in amateur sports. It is bringing together parents, teachers, coaches and sports stars who can serve as positive role models.

And it is teaching youngsters how to play by the rules, engage in teamwork and show respect for each other. I should stress that these are important principles for people of all ages.

I congratulate the Government of Qatar for its commitment to this initiative.

I look forward to our continued work together to keep kids safe from drugs and to help them fulfil their dreams.

And while I know this is serious work, I hope the boys and girls will also be able to have a bit of fun in the process.

Thank you very much.