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UN agency teams up with global football body ahead of South Africa World Cup

UN agency teams up with global football body ahead of South Africa World Cup

Ahead of the soccer World Cup in South Africa in 2010, the United Nations tourism agency is teaming up with FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) to help promote development, including eliminating poverty and supporting sustainable tourism, across the African continent by using the sport as the driving force.

“The World Cup constitutes an opportunity that the countries of the region can seize in order to obtain the maximum socio-economic, promotional and cultural benefits. It should also contribute to strengthening the image of Africa”, said UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli.

Aware of the fact that Africa can benefit from this major event, the heads of FIFA, the UNWTO and the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation (Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty) are preparing a partnership to assist African countries within the framework of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, UNWTO said in a press release.

Particularly through its ST-EP programme, UNWTO is working for poverty alleviation, linking its longstanding pursuit of sustainable tourism with the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and its own Global Code of Ethics. The MDGs are a set of globally-agreed time-bound targets aimed at eliminating a host of social ills.

The World Cup, through the assistance provided by UNWTO and with travel and tourism as its main thrust, represents an opportunity to promote the whole of Africa to international markets, to reinforce the image of the continent as a safe and significant tourism destination and to help people develop closer relations, the agency said.

Earlier this year, the African Union (AU), South Africa and Ethiopia nominated 2007 as the International Year of African Football, an initiative that was welcomed by the UN as part of its global drive linking sport with development.