Promoting sports for peace among youth

The Ethiopian Football Federation in partnership with the Ethiopian-German long-term football project and UNESCO co-organized the 2nd International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on 25 April 2015 at the Ethiopian National Football Stadium.

Three girls and three boys teams competed for the bronze, silver, and gold-trophies. The trophy ceremony took place on the spectators’ podium in a true world-cup fashion. Medals and trophies were handed over by the representatives of the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia, the representative of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and the German Embassy based in Ethiopia. Before the matches started, and a minute of silence was observed in respect of the Ethiopian people that were recently brutally murdered in Libya.

 Why sports?

Sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play. But one may wonder: what does sport have to do with the United Nations? In fact, sport presents a natural partnership for the United Nations (UN) system, including UNESCO:

  • sport and play are human rights that must be respected and enforced worldwide;
  • sport has been increasingly recognized and used as a low-cost and high-impact tool in humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts, not only by the UN system but also by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, development agencies, sports federations, armed forces and the media.
  • Sport can no longer be considered a luxury within any society but is rather an important investment in the present and future, particularly in developing countries

Celebrating 6 April

In August 2013, the UN General Assembly made the decision to proclaim 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. A/RES/67/296

Message of UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, cited Nelson Mandela in her message on the occasion of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace “sport has the power to change the world”. She further said that “We need this power more than ever today, to strengthen the grounds for more inclusive and sustainable development and lasting peace, in this year, when States shape a new global sustainable development agenda. Especially in turbulent times, sport can be a powerful vehicle for social inclusion, gender equality, and youth empowerment, with benefits that extend far beyond the grounds of stadiums. There is nothing like sport to bring women and men from different cultures together around the shared values of fair play, mutual respect and team spirit. Sport and physical education are especially important for young people, for their health and civic engagement. Sport is a pillar of a healthy society, at ease with itself, united in its diversity, based on human rights and equal dignity. It provides a field for passions to be shared, for communities to come together, for the disadvantaged to be empowered. This is the importance of the UNESCO International Charter of Physical Education and Sport, to bolster the right of access for all to physical education, physical activity, and sport. This same spirit guides UNESCO’s action in the fight against doping, through the Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport, and the Anti-Doping Convention, which 170 countries have signed. In August 2014, the World Youth Forum on Sport, Culture, and Peace was organized by UNESCO and the Nanjing Municipal Government, bringing young men and woman together from across the world to explore common challenges and solutions. In every society, sport is a field of dreams and a force for fabulous positive change -- we must do everything to harness this power. This is UNESCO’s message on this International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.”

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