Sport for Peace and Development

The practice of sport is a recognized instrument for promoting peace, as it disregards both geographical borders and social classes. It also plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts.

Sport is a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks, and to promote ideals of peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice. Tackling problems in post conflict situations can be eased as sport has the ability to bring people together. In its efforts to use sport as a catalyst for peace and social development, UNESCO has supported several initiatives in the past years, name

  • Sport for peace in Central American countries - Initiated in El Salvador, this regional programme was designed to promote physical education and the practice of sport, as means to prevent violence, delinquency and drug consumption.
  • Sport for peace in ECOWAS countries - This project aimed at using sport to forge greater cohesion and cooperation in the West Africa region.
  • The fraternal encounter - For this project, several Member States and education stakeholders joined efforts to promote inter-cultural exchange and inter-regional communication between young generations of different cultural backgrounds. See also: International Friendship Encounter: Sport for a Culture of Peace. Highlights and Results, Dinard, St Malo, France, 12-17 June 2001 (brochure in PDF format, 997 KB).
  • DIAMBARS is a social and sports project that involved the creation of a football school to train and educate children in Senegal. It is a clear example of UNESCO’s capacity both to mobilize partners to achieve educational goals, and to provide advisory services, guidance and counselling. See also: Diambars website.
  • HIV/AIDS and Sport - The YSPE Programme has launched a pilot project in Mozambique to mobilize youth through physical education and sport activities, which aim at raising HIV and AIDS awareness. UNESCO has been involved in an initative for Sport and HIV and AIDS. The objective of this youth-to-youth project was to raise awareness for the devastating consequences of HIV and AIDS. The existence of cultural barriers and taboos in several countries does not allow parents and young generations to discuss certain health issues. Therefore, this project uses sport as a form of preventive education on HIV/AIDS, by providing the space for information and discussion on the pandemic and by promoting a change in young generation’s attitude towards the disease. See also: Projet PROVIDA (PDF in French, 273 KB), Maputo, Mozambique, 2004.
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