Note No. 5941
23 May 2005

Note to Correspondents

Ministers, UN Officials, World Class Athletes to Adopt Declaration of Commitment on Sport for Development and Peace, 24 May

2005: International Year of Sport and Physical Education

NEW YORK, 21 May (UN Headquarters) -- On Tuesday, May 24, the International Working Group on Sport for Development and Peace will meet to launch an effort to identify successful Sport for Development programmes worldwide and turn them into policy.  At this meeting the Working Group aims to develop a tool for governments making specific recommendations on how to incorporate Sport for Development initiatives into national policies and international development assistance programmes. 

A press conference introducing participants and presenting the group’s goals will take place on Tuesday, 24 May, at 12:45 p.m. in room S-226, and the event will be webcast live at:  Speakers at the press conference will include the Honourable Stephen Owen, Minister of State (Sport), Canada, and Dr. Dennis Bright, Minister of Youth and Sport, Sierra Leone, along with other meeting participants.  

The International Working Group on Sport for Development and Peace was established during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, to work on combining sport and play programmes worldwide with development policy.  At the upcoming meeting, members of the Working Group, including Olympic athletes, United Nations officials, government leaders and sports federations, will adopt a declaration of commitment to ensure that Sport for Development recommendations are reflected in national policies and receive the necessary government funding.

There are numerous examples across the globe where sports serves as a simple, low cost, and effective catalyst to help achieve health, peace and development goals.  These successful Sports for Development programmes include initiatives bringing together Israeli and Palestinian children through joint football programmes, helping former child combatants overcome their trauma through play, and using games to educate youth at risk of HIV/AIDS.

Participants at the day-long meeting will include:  Louise Fréchette, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Adolf Ogi, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace; Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General; Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) and others.  Djibril Diallo, Director of the UN New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace, is moderating the meeting.

With financial commitment secured, the International Working Group is being supported by the Governments of Switzerland, Canada and Norway, along with the UNFIP and the UN New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) chairs this initiative.


The United Nations Fund for International Partnerships promotes new United Nations partnerships and alliances worldwide.  Established by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in March 1998, to serve as the interface between the United Nations system and the United Nations Foundation, the public charity responsible for administering Ted Turner’s $1 billion contribution in support of United Nations causes, UNFIP has expanded its functions to provide a "one-stop" service for partnership opportunities with the UN family.  Its role encompasses guidance on sport-related project partnerships and support to the International Year of Sport and Physical Education 2005.

UNFIP facilitates development of strategic partnerships by engaging the sports world with the United Nations and by fostering collaborations with the international sport community and sports-related organizations. It encourages the use of sport as a means to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and spreads information about the value of sport and play as a tool for development, health and peace.

The United Nations New York Office on Sport for Development, under the overall guidance of the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, encourages governments, sports organizations and communities to use the power of sport to promote education, health, development and peace, and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.  The Office coordinates a working group for nearly 50 UN agencies, funds and programmes to document more than 150 UN sport-related development initiatives worldwide and promote wider use of sport for development throughout the UN system.

The office is publicizing the International Year of Sport and Physical Education 2005 (IYSPE 2005) as a unique opportunity to focus attention on the value of sport and physical education for achieving development goals.

Right To Play is a humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programmes to encourage the healthy physical, social and emotional development of the world’s most disadvantaged children and to build stronger, more peaceful communities.  Right To Play is led by four-time Olympic Gold Medallist Johann Olav Koss.

For more information on the meeting, please contact:  Camilla Schippa, Outreach Officer, UNFIP, e-mail:, tel.:  212-963-3441; or Alison Gregor, Media Consultant, International Working Group, tel.:  (646) 685-0617 or (646) 269-5137.

For information about media accreditation, please visit  Please address requests for accreditation to  Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, United Nations, Fax:  1 212 963-4642.  For further inquiries, please call:  212 963-6934.

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