4 April 2006

At UN Ceremony, Secretary-General Calls for Making "Sport an Essential Component" of Efforts for Development

NEW YORK, 3 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on presentation of the report on the International Year of Sport and Physical Education, today, in New York:

I am delighted to accept this report on the achievements of the International Year of Sport and Physical Education.  Let me thank Adolf Ogi and his team, as well as all our partners around the world, for making this year a real success.

Let me also thank Ambassador Hachani of Tunisia and Ambassador Maurer of Switzerland, co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace.

During this year, we have reached millions of people -- largely thanks to Adolf Ogi and his passionate belief in the power of sport to transform lives.

I am grateful and heartened that our message has been embraced by the world of sport -- including the great athletes that have joined us, and congratulations to Roger Federer.  I understand you've become a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF today.  And congratulations to Ann for nabbing him.  And of course, as I said, in addition to the range of athletes we have here, we have a range of national and international sports organizations, and many companies in the private sector and the media.

Our task now is to take our mission to the next stage, and I think you've heard Mr. Ogi talk about it.  We have to take it to the next stage and make sport an essential component of our efforts to reach the world's development goals -- as reflected in the General Assembly resolution last November and the Magglingen Call to Action in December.

That means ensuring full support from Governments, from the UN system, and from programmes using sport as a tool for us to reach out and help development and peace -- around the world, whether it's the fight against HIV/AIDS, or the empowerment of women and girls, or mine action, or the reconstruction of societies emerging from conflict.  I think the power of sport can motivate people to do much more than they would normally do.

But it also means that all of us have to work in partnership, and I include in our partnership not only the development agencies and civil society, the private sector and research institutions, the military and the media.  In particular you have the power to reach out and make this effort a true success.

Friends, the International Year has charted a course for action and implementation.  We must now maintain the momentum.  I am glad that we can count on all of you in the months and years ahead, and once again let me thank you Dölfi for your leadership.

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