Secretary-General takes part in torch relay ahead of Olympic Games in London

26 July 2012

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today took part in the traditional torch run ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games which start on Saturday in London, in the United Kingdom.

Dressed in a white tracksuit, Mr. Ban ran 200 metres through central London, smiling and waving at crowds gathered along the relay’s last leg, as the torch makes its way to Buckingham Palace, where it will stay the night before arriving at the Olympic Stadium at midnight on Friday.

Mr. Ban will also attend the opening ceremony on Friday and take part in events to promote sport and physical activity to further development and peacebuilding efforts, as well as the Olympic Truce between warring countries during the Games.

In October 2011, all 193 UN Member States exhorted nations to observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively for six weeks, starting with the opening of the XXX Olympiad this Saturday, 27 July, and ending with the closing of the XIV Paralympic Games for disabled athletes on 9 September.

The resolution calls on Member States “to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee in their efforts to use sport as a tool to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic and Paralympic Games period.”

The resolution has itself become a tradition at the UN, being passed every two years preceding the holding of the Summer and Winter Games, respectively.

While in London, Mr. Ban will also hold bilateral meetings with British Government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Other UN agencies will also be present at the Games to raise awareness on a range of issues. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for example, will be collecting sports clothing to be sent to designated refugee camps around the world, and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) will hold an advocacy event as part of the Africa Utopia Festival on Saturday.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has been working closely with the IOC to ensure that the Games implement sustainable measures that protect the environment and make smart use of available resources.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) will also hold events during the Games.


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