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2008 Beijing Summer Olympics can boost development and peace, UN envoy says

2008 Beijing Summer Olympics can boost development and peace, UN envoy says

Next summer’s Beijing Olympics provides a unique opportunity for the United Nations to promote development and peace-building activities, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace said today.

Adolf Ogi is scheduled to meet on Thursday with Liu Qi, President of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad to discuss its collaboration with the UN.

“The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics promises to be an historic event for the world of sports and for people worldwide,” Mr. Ogi said.

“The United Nations is increasingly cooperating with the International Olympic Committee on development and peace-building activities, and the Beijing Olympics is a tremendous opportunity as well as a great responsibility.”

He met with the Secretary-General last week in Geneva to discuss UN activities in which sport is used to improve education and health, expand economic opportunities and bolster peace.

While visiting the Chinese capital, Mr. Ogi will also address the General Association of International Sports Federations and speak at the Beijing Sport University.

China is also hosting this year’s Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai and the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

UN agencies are already involved in schemes for next year’s Olympic Games.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) signed an agreement with Beijing Organizing Committee for a “Green Olympics” that promotes curtailing air, water and noise pollution; environmentally friendly transportation; and the responsible disposal of solid waste.

UN Volunteers (UNV) is coordinating with the Beijing Committee to mobilize 70,000 volunteers for the 2008 Olympic Games and 30,000 for the Paralympics.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is organizing, with the Beijing Committee, a “Youth Camps” project to bring together 800 youth between the ages of 16 and 18 who represent all International Olympic Committee member countries and regions, including 50 living with disabilities.

Last November, the General Assembly unanimously approved a three-year plan on sport for development and peace, which invites the UN family, Member States and other partners to utilize sport-based programmes to hasten the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight targets for tackling poverty, hunger and other social ills by 2015.