In recognition of their efforts to use sports to promote peace and overcome regional tensions, the national cricket teams of India and Pakistan were appointed as spokespersons for the International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE) 2005, the United Nations Special Adviser on Sports said.
"I believe that both national cricket teams are pioneers in the quest for peace and stability in South Asia and can serve as role models for other countries and regions around the world," Adolf Ogi, UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sports for Development and Peace, told a press briefing earlier this week.
The two teams have been recognized as "catalysts for peace" since the Indian team flew to Pakistan in 2004 to compete in a cricket series for the first time in 14 years, marking a major step between the two countries to in their nascent peace efforts.
Earlier this year, Pakistan's team travelled to India in a reciprocal action, and the exchange gave Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf an opportunity to visit India to engage in dialogue with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Both teams have pledged to give their full support to the United Nations' goal of using sports "to bridge cultural and ethnic divides and encourage peaceful relations," Mr. Ogi said.
The IYSPE 2005 provides an opportunity for the world to focus on the importance of sport in society and how sports can be used to help combat extreme poverty, conflict and HIV/AIDS and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).