Geneva, Switzerland (UNOSDP) – On 16 December, a Letter of Intent (LOI) was signed by the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Wilfried Lemke, and International Wheelchair Basketball Federation President, Mr. Ulf Mehrens.
The new cooperation intents to explore, plan and realise projects on the basis of a partnership, for example in the framework of the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Programme. An ideal outcome of the partnership is to establish wheelchair sport as a therapeutic exercise with the focus on a feeling of togetherness, to foster inclusion, as and to create new structures which can be self-sustained.
Mr. Lemke said that the idea of collaboration was born while visiting a project in Uganda this year.
“The Uganda project is a good example how sport can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 17: “Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. In an ideal case we can even manage that people from Uganda will be trained to repairs the wheelchairs themselves so that the broken or slightly broken wheelchairs will not be put aside. If this works it would be the additional benefit of the project to help give people jobs – independently of the athletes that already have the support for their enthusiasm and naturally the coaches whom we also want bring into employment..”
By using sport to provide an inclusive basis upon which people with and without disabilities can come closer together, the IWBF and UNOSDP share the same values and pursue the same ambitions.
“Besides all of the objectives for competitive sport it also enhances our special focus on the social impact of the sport including quality improvement and expansion of living conditions by the means of sports. At this point both sides have varied projects worldwide. So we are proud to be able to partner and share the collective idea,” said Mr. Mehrens.