POSTED: October 19th 2009

UN gives IOC observer status: honors Olympic Truce

Prince Albert of Monaco and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon / Image: UN - Mark Garten
Prince Albert of Monaco and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon / Image: UN - Mark Garten

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA: The IOC has been lifted to observer status by the United Nations, giving it rights to attend all the General Assembly meetings and even take the floor. The IOC will be able to promote the values of sport through humanitarian assistance, peace-building, education, gender equality, environment and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Mario Pescante, newly elected IOC vice-president and chair of the IOC International Relations Commission lobbied the initiative through the Italian government. IOC president Dr Jacques Rogge recognized and thanked him for leading the way for the IOC.

Rogge said, "This is a huge recognition of the role sport can play in contributing to a better and more peaceful world. Olympic values clearly match the UN's philosophy. Today's decision further strengthens the partnership between the IOC and the UN system.

"The IOC already works with a wide array of UN specialised agencies and organisations around the world to benefit young people and communities.”

Pescante was joined at the UN by US IOC member Anita DeFrantz and by Prince Albert of Monaco, who took the floor as head of the Monegasque delegation and said: "In inviting the International Olympic Committee to take part in its work, the General Assembly recognises the symbol of a Movement that defends an ideal of human progress and promotes a peaceful society and one which is concerned with preserving human dignity."

Recently the UN partnered with Peace and Sport, the Monaco-based organization founded by Joel Bouzou, special advisor to Prince Albert. The initiative will engage athletes, sport associations, policy makers, international organizations, the private sector, foundations and civil society using sport as the vehicle for intervention.

Bouzou said, “Our international platform is neutral and apolitical, which gives us legitimacy to work effectively with a multitude of very different actors, promoting and building peace through sport. By partnering with the UN, our efforts to raise awareness and mobilize decision-makers in politics, sport and economic life will be increased tenfold and made more effective. "

Wilfried Lemke, special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, noted: "One of the main tasks of my mandate is to lead and coordinate the efforts of the United Nations system in order to better integrate sport and physical education into our programmes worldwide.”

The UN assembly also recognized the Olympic Truce Resolution for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to be held February 12-28 and from March 12-21, 2010 respectively.

The Olympic Truce or "Ekecheria" dates back to the 9th century BC in ancient Greece calling for a lay down to arms by fighting parties during the Olympic Games. It was revived by the IOC in 1992 and the UN has supported the initiative since 1993 to adopt the truce before and just after the Olympics.

Keywords · UN · IOC · Olympic Truce · Mario Pescante · Prince Albert of Monaco · Anita DeFrantz

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