Sport has an essential role to play in supporting the achievement of the post-2015 development goals, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he observed the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
“Sport is a unique and powerful tool for promoting dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of every member of the human family,” he said in an annual message on the Day. “It is a driving force for positive social change.”
Sport promotes health and well-being, fosters tolerance, mutual understanding and peace, and contributes to social inclusion and equality. It empowers women and girls and persons with disabilities, and is a vital part of quality education in schools.
“It empowers, inspires and unites,” he said, urging Governments, organizations, businesses, and all actors in society to harness the values and power of sport to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“By working – and playing – together, we can create the future we want,” Mr. Ban said.
In her message, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that the history of sport has shown its power to break down prejudices, to pave the way for and promote the movements striving for the rights and dignity of individuals, giving them a global audience.
“Sport is a powerful vehicle for social inclusion, gender equality and youth empowerment, with benefits that are felt far beyond the stadiums,” she said.
The UNESCO Member States adopted the new International Charter of Physical Education and Sport in November 2015, marking a major step towards a fairer, more inclusive and more tolerant sporting environment, she said, stressing the need to ensure support for all those women and men in the world who show their commitment each day, as volunteers and professionals, to fostering the spirit of sport as an infinite source of renewal and vitality for societies.
In August 2013, the sixty-seventh session of the UN General Assembly decided to proclaim 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.