A global forum on the relationship between sport and peace and prosperity began today in Geneva with a call from a senior United Nations official to use sport as a catalyst for achieving the social and economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Participants from the UN, government, academia, sports and the Olympic movement have gathered in the Swiss city for the two-day International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development, the second of its kind.
Wilfried Lemke, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, warned delegates at the forum’s opening that time is running out to meet the 2015 deadline for attaining the MDGs.
“In our pursuit towards achieving them, sport has definitely proven to be a powerful tool,” he said. “Today we have a wealth of evidence from the field making the case for sport as a vehicle for social change.”
One of the eight MDGs calls for a global partnership – bringing together government, the private sector and civil society – to promote development in poorer countries around the world.
“This is exactly what we are doing here today at this gathering,” said Mr. Lemke. “Just like in sport, teamwork is behind success and we must keep working together, as a movement, towards making the world a more equitable, safe and sustainable place through sport.”
The forum includes sessions on how sport can be integrated into the work of UN peacekeeping missions, serve as an example for conflict resolution and promote high-standard physical education for all children, among other issues.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to address the event tomorrow.