POSTED: April 28th 2014

IOC and UN partner to create a better world through sport

(L to R) IOC President Thomas Bach and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon / IOC Jason Evans
(L to R) IOC President Thomas Bach and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon / IOC Jason Evans

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The International Olympic Committee and the United Nations signed an agreement Monday which will see the two organisations utilise sport to “build a better world.”

IOC President Thomas Bach and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon signed the agreement in the presence of the president of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York. The IOC has held UN Observer Status since 2009 and has worked with several UN agencies to use sport as a tool for development and peace across the world.

Bach was joined in New York by IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge, IOC member and Olympic champion Ole Einar Bjørndalen, United States Olympic Committee Secretary General Scott Blackmun, and U.S. Olympic marathon runner Meb Keflezighi.

“Sport can change the world, but it cannot change the world alone,” Bach said at the announcement Monday. “When placing sport at the service of humankind, we need and we want partnerships with other payers in society. The Olympic Movement is willing and ready to make its contribution to the most laudable efforts of the United Nations to maintain and build peace and to bring along social change.”

The UN recognised the IOC and Olympic Movement’s goals of building a peaceful and better world by educating youth, while the agreement also calls for respect of the autonomous organisation of sport.

The IOC, National Olympic Committees, International Sports Federations, Organising Committees, and individual athletes will work with UN member states, UN Special Envoys, Special Advisors and Goodwill Ambassadors, UN Specialised Agencies, and UN Funds to provide access to sport for all among communities, quality physical education in school settings, youth empowerment, education, and skills development, girls’ and women’s empowerment, peace-building and community dialogue, healthy life-styles promotion, and environmental sustainability.

“The first-ever Memorandum of Understanding between our organisations is a logical step after years of ever-closer collaboration in using sport to promote development and peace,” Ban said. “Sport has great power to bring people together, improve public health, and promote teamwork and mutual respect.”

Rogge was appointed as the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Youth Refugees and Sport at the announcement at UN Headquarters, which will see the former IOC head support Ban in advancing peace, development, and an inclusive society through sport.

“Sport is its own school of live, and some say I have earned a PhD,” Keflezighi, who earned a silver medal at Athens 2004 and won the Boston Marathon 21 April, said. “Sport taught me self-discipline, commitment, and perseverance. It taught me that success is achieved in small steps, through hard work and lessons learned from your mistakes.

“In addition to these life skills, sport gave me something else that was extremely important to a refugee from a war-torn country: sport gave me hope. I want to comment the IOC and the UN for using sport to bring hope to refugee camps and peace to regions plagued by violence. I know that these efforts are making a difference.”

Keywords · United Nations · UN · International Olympic Committee · IOC · Thomas Bach · Jacques Rogge · New York ·

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