Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in São Paulo, Brazil, today to attend the opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as United Nations agencies carry out a number of projects and activities related to one of the greatest sporting events on the planet.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Mr. Ban said. “Like billions of people around the world, I have loved football since I was a very young boy. This shared passion is a great demonstration of how sport can unite people around shared values: teamwork, fair play and mutual respect.”
The Secretary-General is confident that the host nation, Brazil, will do everything to stage a successful and peaceful event, harnessing the power of sport to bring together and unite people across the world, said his spokesperson.
“In particular, he looks forward to the unique way Brazil plays and celebrates the ‘beautiful game’ and hopes that this joy will spread all across the globe.”
Before heading to the opening match between Brazil and Croatia, Mr. Ban took part in a lunch offered by Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, for the foreign dignitaries who gathered in São Paulo.
The Organization is carrying out a number of projects and activities related to the World Cup, including a campaign by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) against trafficking and exploitation of children; a campaign against violence against women ‘O valente não é violento’ (The brave is not violent) coordinated by UN Women; and an awareness-raising campaign, ‘Protect the Goal,’ by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Also, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is awarding environmental-friendly hotels in Brazil with the ‘Green Passport’ seal, while the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is assisting the Brazilian Government in compensating the carbon footprint of the whole World Cup.