The UN’s new International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
On the 23rd of August the United Nations General Assembly declared that the 6th of April will now be known as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
The announcement, delivered by UN General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic in the presence of high profile figures in sport including International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and men’s world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, marked a new step in the UN’s advocacy efforts to highlight the benefits of sport and healthy lifestyles on broader social development.
It was also the culmination of a concluding recommendation made at a UN and International Committee forum in June to formalise a day linked to the UN’s Sport for Development and Peace in initiative.
ISCA President Mogens Kirkeby believes the announcement is a promising signal from the UN that it is willing to acknowledge the wide-reaching value of the sport sector.
“I welcome the recognition of sport organisations as a potential contributor to development and peace. I also welcome that an institution like the United Nations is underlining that sport can be instrumental in the efforts of personal and societal development and peace,” he says.
Naming a day is a significant way to recognise the potential of sport to create positive social change across the globe. But that is the easy part. When the UN, with support from the IOC, launches a special day of Sport for Development and Peace, it prompts the questions: What will they do? What is the name of the game?
In this regard, Kirkeby believes the important next step for the UN and the IOC is to determine how this new Day will be implemented and whether it will spell ‘action’ or just exist as another symbolic gesture for societal development.
“The IOC has a special status as permanent observer to the UN. It is a privileged position that requires action. So I hope that both organisations have a concrete plan for the content of such an international day – that would be natural to expect of such large institutions when they pledge their support behind this type of initiative,” he says.