On 23 November 2007, UNESCO and the FC Barcelona signed a partnership agreement. The central objective of this agreement is to raise awareness on the role of education and sport in the development and well-being of children and youth, and in the promotion of dialogue, mutual understanding and social cohesion. Efforts have focused so far on using sports as a means to combat racism and discrimination, with emphasis on children and youth.
“We all realize today the global significance of sports as a vehicle for peace, dialogue and social cohesion. The practice of sport disregards both geographical borders and social classes, and it plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts” - Statement of Koïchiro Matsuura, former UNESCO Director-General, at the signing ceremony in 2007.
Sport creates a universal language and common references and teaches essential values such as tolerance, respect and solidarity.
UNESCO and FC Barcelona have jointly carried out the following initiatives:
An important partner for the implementation of this agreement is the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), launched by UNESCO in December 2004. It groups together cities interested in sharing experiences to improve their policies to fight racism, discrimination and xenophobia. The UNESCO Centre of Catalonia – Unescocat – is also closely involved.