POSTED: May 21st 2010

IOC and UN strengthen partnership with new combined forum

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

LAUSANNE, May 21: International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge opened the first joint forum held by the IOC and the United Nations in Lausanne.

The event appropriately named “The Importance of Partnership” offered a platform for sports officials and representatives of the UN to get together, exchange ideas and network.

The forum was led by Mario Pescante, IOC Vice-President and Permanent Representative of the IOC to the UN and Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace.

President Rogge said: “The IOC and the Olympic Movement have a social responsibility to bring sport and its values to all fields of society. If sport on its own cannot drive this agenda, it can however exchange and partner with those whose responsibility and expertise is to make peace and drive national development, such as the UN.”

The president went on to emphasize the value in the ties between the IOC and the UN and the value of giving the IOC observer status.

“We cannot change the world but we believe that, through sport, we can make better citizens,” he concluded.

The IOC and its partners work together through sport for humanitarian assistance, peace-building, education, gender equality, the environment and the fight against HIV/AIDS, in view of working towards attaining the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Pescante said: “For the first time in modern history, sport has a voice within the most important of all international institutions, the UN. At a time when the world is faced with real threats, and the survival of nations and of mankind is linked to behavioural change, sport is being recognised as an important element in the search for solutions.

“This Forum, over and above an in-depth exchange of ideas, gives us the possibility to indentify projects and develop common policies in favour of young people, women, the disabled, disease prevention, human solidarity, and the fight against crime and violence. But the main objective cannot be any other than to give our contribution to sustaining the UN’s efforts in ensuring a peaceful world.”

Lemke noted: “This forum is so important, in that it not only serves as a venue for discussing approaches to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it is also an example of us realising Goal number 8, which emphasises the creation of global partnerships. Through collaboration and partnerships between the UN System and the IOC, we can use sport to play a crucial role in achieving each of these important goals.”

Last week also the IOC inaugurated the first Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka, Zambia which will serve as focal point to provide community activities, health services and Olympic education. The center is a collaboration between the IOC, the Zambian NOC, the government, six International Federations and national sports federations.

This first center could prove as a model for other centers in other areas and could possibly lead to other alliances with the UN.

Keywords · IOC · UN · Jacques Rogge · Mario Pescante · Wilfried Lemke

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