International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport

The International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport is a rights-based reference that orients and supports policy- and decision-making in sport.

It promotes inclusive access to sport by all without any form of discrimination. It sets ethical and quality standards for all actors designing, implementing and evaluating sport programmes and policies.
International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport
Last update: 6 October 2022

This Charter is for all. Make it yours!

 

#sportcharter

This unique text is the expression of a common vision by all stakeholders  whether they are professional or amateur athletes, referees, public authorities, law enforcement, sports organizations, betting operators, owners of sports-related rights, the media, non-governmental organizations, administrators, educators, families, the medical profession or other stakeholders.

International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport
2015

The text is available in more than ten languages. Click on "Read".

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Adopted at the 20th session of the UNESCO’s General Conference (1978), the original Charter was perceived as innovative at the time - as it was the first rights-based document to state that “the practice of physical education and sport is a fundamental right for all”.

Based on the universal spirit of the original Charter and integrating the significant evolutions in the field of sport since 1978, the revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport was adopted during UNESCO’s 38th session of the General Conference (November 2015). The revised Charter introduces universal principles such as gender equality, non-discrimination and social inclusion in and through sport. It also highlights the benefits of physical activity, the sustainability of sport, the inclusion of persons with disabilities and the protection of children.

The revision of the Charter involved experts and practitioners from governments, sports organizations, academia and NGOs. This new version was carefully examined through sessions of the Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS) and its Permanent Consultative Council (PCC), as well as UNESCO’s Executive Board. It is a follow-up to the Declaration of Berlin that was adopted by 600 participants from 121 countries, as an outcome of the 5th World Conference of Sport Ministers (MINEPS V). 

The Charter in a glimpse

Access to sport as a fundamental right for all

  • Article 1 - The practice of physical education, physical activity and sport is a fundamental right for all 

The values and benefits of sport

  • Article 2 - Physical education, physical activity and sport can yield a wide range of benefits to individuals, communities and society at large
  • Article 11 - Physical education, physical activity and sport can play an important role in the realization of development, peace and post-conflict and post-disaster objectives

Quality and ethical principles 

  • Article 4 - Physical education, physical activity and sport programmes must inspire lifelong participation
  • Article 5 – All stakeholders must ensure that their activities are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable
  • Article 6 - Research, evidence and evaluation are indispensable components for the development of physical education, physical activity and sport
  • Article 7 - Teaching, coaching and administration of physical education, physical activity and sport must be performed by qualified personnel
  • Article 8 - Adequate and safe spaces, facilities and equipment are essential to quality physical education, physical activity and sport
  • Article 9 - Safety and the management of risk are necessary conditions of quality provision
  • Article 10 - Protection and promotion of the integrity and ethical values of physical education, physical activity and sport must be a constant concern for all

The roles of different stakeholders

  • Article 3 – All stakeholders must participate in creating a strategic vision, identifying policy potions and priorities
  • Article 12 – International cooperation is a prerequisite for enhancing the scope and impact of physical education, physical activity and sport

 

Applications of the Charter

Article 12.3 of the Charter indicates its main applications: advocacy; developing/ sharing indicators and other monitoring and evaluation tools; education programmes; exchange of good practice; capacity development.

The Quality Physical Education Policy Project illustrates how principles and recommendations stipulated in the Charter can be translated into action through indicators, benchmarks and other tools.

Communications toolkit for the Charter
UNESCO
2015

The present communications toolkit was designed to help all stakeholders promote the revised Sport Charter and to broadcast its application on their domain.

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Evolution of the Charter

In 1978, the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport was adopted by UNESCO’s 20th General Conference as a standard-setting instrument.

Resolution 20, View the records of the General Conference
English | French | Spanish | Russian | Chinese | Arabic

In 1991, Article 7 of the Charter was amended to avert the dangers and harmful influences which are a threat to sport.

Resolution 26C, View the records of the General Conference
English | French | Spanish

In order to integrate the many evolutions in the field of Sports, a thorough revision of the Charter was initiated in 2013.

 

Revision Timeline

MINEPS V, May 2013 (Berlin, Germany)

  • The Declaration of Berlin, adopted by 121 Member States represented at MINEPS V, invited the Director-General to consider a revision of the Charter.

     

    Download the Declaration (see paragraph 19):
    English | French | Spanish | Arabic | Chinese | Russian

First MINEPS V follow-up meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean, October 2013 (Bogota, Colombia)

  • Participants support the revision of UNESCO’s International Charter of Physical Education and Sport and invite UNESCO to examine the possibility for the revised Charter to be adopted no later than during the 38th session of the General Conference in 2015.

     

    View the Final Report:
    English | Spanish

37th session of the UNESCO’s General Conference, November 2013 (UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France)

  • The General Conference of all 195 Member States of UNESCO requests the Executive Board to confirm that the revision is desirable and, should this be the case, asks Director-General  to the prepare a draft text of the revised Charter to be submitted to the Executive Board at its 196th session, in order to be examined and adopted by the General Conference at its 38th session.

     

    Resolution 37C/38. View the records of the General Conference
    English | French | Spanish | Arabic | Chinese | Russian

Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS) and its Permanent Consultative Council (PPC), March 2014 (UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France)

  • 18 Member States take note of the Report on the revision.
  • They confirm the necessity of revising the Charter and agree that the revised Charter should be adopted during the 38th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2015.

    Resolution CIGEPS/2014/3, see 2014 Session Report
    English | French | Spanish

 

See more

194th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board, March 2014 (UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France)

Experts Meeting, September 2014 (Medellin, Colombia)

  • 17 International experts, the Chair of CIGEPS, as well as the UNESCO Secretariat identify main provisions of the revised Charter.

     

    See report on the Revision of the International Charter, CIGEPS 2015:
    English | French | Spanish

Circular Letter 4081 from the Director-General of UNESCO, November 2014

  • Formal consultation by the Director-General of all 195 Member States on the Preliminary Draft of the revised Charter, including background information on the revision

     

    Read the Circular Letter (Preliminary Draft of the Revised International Charter of Physical Education and Sport):
    English | French | Spanish

Extraordinary Session of CIGEPS and its Permanent Consultative Council, January 2015 (International Olympic Committee Headquarters, Lausanne, Switzerland)

  • Takes note of comments received from Member States and other stakeholders.
  • Discuss and finalize amendments to the Preliminary Draft of the revised Charter.
  • Approves a draft revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport, as amended by it.
  • Agrees that the 6th World Conference of Sport Ministers (MINEPS VI), to be held in  2017, should concentrate on the implementation and its monitoring of the Declaration of Berlin adopted by MINEPS V and of the revised Charter.

    Resolution CIGEPS/2015/2, See 2015 Session Report:
    English | French | Spanish

196th session of the UNESCO’s Executive Board, March 2015 (UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France)

38th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, November 2015 (UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France)

  • Takes note of the Report on the revision.
  • Approves the (revised) International Charter for Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport.
  • Invites Member States to implement the principles and recommendations stated in the revised Charter.
  • Supports the development of a common framework for the follow-up of both the Declaration of Berlin and the revised Charter.
  • Requests the Director-General to ensure a lead role for UNESCO in the follow-up process of the Declaration of Berlin and the revised Charter.

   

Partners’ Support

UNESCO expresses its gratitude for the support received from the governments of Monaco and Colombia, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Play the Game/Danish Institute of Sport Studies, as well as the many experts who have contributed to the revision of the Charter.

 

Quotes by our partners

“Colombia has supported the whole follow-up process to MINEPS V, the World Conference of Sport Ministers organized in Berlin in 2013. We have invited international experts to my hometown, Medellín, Colombia, to revise the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport. For me, it is a great honor to have contributed to the achievement of this goal. Let us collectively use the revised Charter to leave a legacy to the coming generations through sport.”

Andres Botero Phillipsbourne
Colombia National Sports Director, Administrative Department of Sport, Recreation, Physical Activity and the use of leisure time (COLDEPORTES)

 

“Good sportsmanship is about respect, team spirit, excellence, fair play, friendship solidarity and integrity. With the charter, we wish to promote and protect those values – both for a better sport at all levels and for a free and humane society.”

Bertel Haarder
Minister, Ministry of Culture, Denmark

 

"The updated Charter represents a milestone in the global sporting environment, calling for people with disabilities to be at the table and visible, with a voice, at the center and within physical education, physical activity and sport. People with disabilities can no longer be on the sidelines, no longer objects of charity and pity. The new Charter reflects the paradigm shift as indicated in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, moving toward empowerment, dignity, universal design and full inclusion."

Eli A. Wolff
Director, Inclusive Sports Initiative, Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD)

 

“As the voice of persons with disabilities worldwide, more than one billion and rising, the International Disability Alliance fully supports the revised International Charter on Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport. IDA is encouraged by the recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in all Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport in safe and inclusive environments that are free from discrimination and other harmful practices. We call upon Governments to uphold these rights and invest in policies and systems that expand the scope and quality of opportunities for persons with (…).”

Vladimir Cuk
Executive Director, International Disability Alliance (IDA)

 

“The revised Charter reflects an appreciation of the evolution of the field of physical education, physical activity and sport in recent decades. AIESEP is proud to have modestly contributed to the improvements incorporated in the revised Charter and will fully support the dissemination of the principles it advocates. AIESEP members and friends will be encouraged to introduce and discuss the Charter within their schools, institutions and networks, and to embrace the opportunity it presents for the planning of international research to inform related policy and practice.”

Marc Cloes
President, International Association of Physical Education in Higher Education (AIESEP)

 

“The International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (IFAPA) is pleased to support the revised Charter. (…) The inclusion of disability in this Charter matches one of our organizations main goals: To encourage international cooperation in the field of physical activity to the benefit of individuals of all abilities. We are particularly pleased that the revised Charter recognizes that inclusive, adapted and safe opportunities to participate in physical education, physical activity and sport must be available to everyone, including persons with disabilities. (…)

Many of our IFAPA members work closely with government and NGOs to create more physical education and sport opportunities for individuals with disabilities in their countries, particularly developing countries in Africa and South America where sport and physical activity for individuals with disabilities is still in its infancy. The revised Charter will provide needed support to help our members work with and push these government and non-government agencies in creating more opportunities for individuals with disabilities."

Martin E. Block
President, International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (IFAPA)

 

“Physical education and sport are crucial if we are to get the couch potatoes off the couch. Sport has a central role to play in our societies, not just to fight against obesity and non-communicable diseases, prevent sedentary behavior and promote healthy lifestyles. Evidence has shown time and again the positive effects of physical activity on the social and intellectual development of young people and populations at large. In collaboration with UNESCO, we will continue to advocate to governments and other key stakeholders about the benefits of sport and physical education for the mind and the body. Therefore we welcome very much the new International Charter on Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport, a resource which encapsulates the many dimensions of the reality of sport practice today, and shall help all concerned actors at national and international level to develop a strategic vision and implement adequate and sustainable policies and interventions in these fields.”

Thomas Bach
President, International Olympic Committee

 

"(…) Physical education, physical activity and sport contribute significantly to health benefits and outcomes for everyone, particularly individuals with disabilities. The Charter importantly elevates global awareness and recognition for this critical relationship. I would like to commend everyone who worked tirelessly in the drafting process for the revised Charter, and I fully support and encourage its implementation throughout the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation."

Cheri A. Blauwet
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School Chair, International Paralympic Committee Medical Committee (IPC Medical Committee)

 

“The FINA welcomes the adoption of the revised Sport Charter. I’ve been working for many years now on these matters – Sport for All – and the adoption of this revised Charter represents a great milestone in promotion of physical education in the five continents. FINA is also committed to this essential effort and has recently launched its ‘ Swimming for All, Swimming for Life’ programme, aimed at reducing the alarming rates of drowning worldwide by getting more and more children acquainted with the practice of Swimming.”

Julio C. Maglione
President, International Swimming Federation (FINA)

 

“The International University Sports Federation (FISU) welcomes the revised International Charter for Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport. FISU believes that the important improvement of the Charter makes it an essential tool on which all partners involved in physical education and sport will rely to improve, extend and overcome the current challenges related to the development of policies and programmes for physical education and sport.

FISU’s approach concerning its sporting and educational events has always focused on the non-tangible values of sport and the integration and cooperation amongst all partners involved, underlining the need of taking advantage of the knowledge and competences developed in education institutions. FISU always favours the fighting spirit rather than pure performance; participation rather than records; meeting and exchange rather than confrontation. This is why FISU is committed to promoting the Charter of Physical Education and Sport adopted by the UNESCO member states amongst its membership and the international educational community, and believes that the International Day of University Sport (IDUS) celebrated on 20 September will be the ideal event where the international university sport community will have an opportunity, on a yearly basis, to reflect on the implementation of the Charter.”

Oleg Matytsin
President, International University Sports Federation (FISU)

 

“The 1978 Charter, of inestimable value in its time, exhibited a neutrality, or linguistic blindness, to the special circumstances that exist as challenges and barriers to progress for specific social groups especially girls and women. The 2015 Revision is gender and culturally aware in many areas that will support efforts to make equitable and productive sport, physical activity, and physical education available globally.”

Carole Oglesby
Co-Chair, International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG)
Botswana 2014-2018

 

“UNESCO’s new Charter is a powerful endorsement of the role of the independent news media sector in relation to sport. As news consumers, citizens and sport participants or observers, we are all in danger of overlooking the unique and important contribution independent news operations and journalism plays. Specialist sports journalist, photographers, news video reporters, editors and their newsrooms play a vital role in acting as the witnesses to events on the field of play and in revealing the truth of how sport is being administered, funded and sadly corrupted in some cases. Major news organisations, which support the work of the NMC, welcome the UNESCO Charter as part of the ongoing debate about how to ensure independent and viable news media operations can continue to provide value to the public, sport movement and sports commercial partners.”

Andrew Moger
Executive Director, News Media Coalition (NMC)

 

“The UNESCO charter offers a unique chance for all nations to make an all-encompassing approach to the growing challenges in modern sport. In fact, it is more than just a chance, it is an essential step for any country that wishes to restore the credibility of sport and secure the well-being of society by offering playful physical activities to all its citizens.”

Jens Sejer Andersen
International Director, Play the Game

 

“Special Olympics pledges its full support of the revised Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport presented to the UNESCO General Assembly. As the largest global movement dedicated to providing year-round sports training and competition to individuals with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is committed to ensuring that adapted, safe and high-quality sport is available to all individuals, of all ability levels, regardless of creed, religion or gender. We urge all global actors, and national and regional stakeholders, to adopt the revised Charter so that a more inclusive framework can govern such an important part of the global development community’s work, namely that of development – through-sport for all.”

Timothy Shriver
Chairman, Special Olympics International (SOI)

 

“…I welcome the inclusion of especially Article 11 in the revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport. I have no doubt that this Article will reinforce the potential of sport to serve as a valuable and cost effective tool for peace building, peace keeping, social cohesion and nation building… However, the Charter will have little impact if we and our partners do not ensure that the Articles of the Charter are translated into well-defined action plans. We all need to work hard to achieve the noble, but practical objectives of the Charter and by doing so contributing in building peaceful communities, countries and a better world.”

Gert Oosthuizen
Deputy Minister, Ministry of Sport and Recreation, South Africa

 

"TAFISA welcomes the adoption of the revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport. The Charter places grassroots sport and physical activity at the heart of the individual and social benefits that sport generates. While Charter acknowledges the diversity of physical play, recreation, dance, organized, casual, competitive, traditional and indigenous sports and games, it articulates a unified vision of sport and sets common quality and ethical standards that should be respected by all stakeholders. TAFISA is committed to help translate the principles set forth in the Charter into measurable action."

Ju-Ho Chang
President, The Association tor International Sport for All (TAFISA)

 

“Transparency International’s work to strengthen integrity in sport is founded on the principle of the widest participation, including international cooperation in protecting and promoting sport as a force for good. We believe that UNESCO’s revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport provides a roadmap to move towards public trust in sport.”

Cobus de Swardt
Managing Director, Transparency International

 

“UNICEF welcomes the revised Charter. It is an important framework that can help guide our joint work with governments and a wide range of partners, in particular as we look toward to sport-for-development and physical education as effective strategies for equitable inclusion of all groups of children, adolescents and youth, especially the most vulnerable, thus contributing to the achievement of several of the SDGs.”

Andro Shilakadze
Representative to Azerbaijan, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

 

“The revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport is a comprehensive reference for all stakeholders in the field of Sport for Development and Peace, perfectly aligned with the sustainable nature of the development goals we are pursuing and responsive to the social, economic and environmental challenges we are facing.

As an advocate for development and peace through sport, I strongly welcome the introduction of Article 11 which positions sport, physical activity and physical education as powerful tools for social transformation and post-conflict recovery.

I welcome the revised Charter as a well-rounded framework not only for guiding policy but also for promoting cooperation and action on the ground for all those of us who strive to put sport, physical activity and education to the best service of humankind.”

Wilfried Lemke
Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP)

 

“The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomes the revised International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport. The fact that anti-doping is specifically referenced in the context of protecting participants from the harmful effects of doping is commendable. And equally important, the inclusion and promotion of values-based prevention programmes is essential to protecting the integrity of sport. WADA was involved from the beginning with the revision work and we acknowledge the hard work, commitment and energy of all involved in bringing it to fruition.”

David Howman
Director General, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

 

“The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) congratulates UNESCO and in particular the driving forces behind the Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport (CIGEPS) and its Permanent Consultative Council (PCC) to have achieved a major milestone to increase global physical activity levels. The far-reaching revision of the International Charter gives the right signal and has the potential to create early positive experiences for kids and to propel physical activity levels in schools globally. The revised Charter is a great contribution towards our shared goal to create a world where sports and physical activity are not only highly valued, but an expected and enjoyable part of life. UNESCO as the lead agency for sport and physical education has now set a new standard for global policy makers. We wish to congratulate you on this great achievement and look forward to seeing this revised Charter implemented in Member States across the globe!”

Robbert de Kock
Secretary-General, World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI)

Contact

Philipp Müller-Wirth
Sport Section
Social and Human Sciences Sector - UNESCO
7 place de Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP FRANCE
p.muller-wirth@unesco.org