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One man’s belief that sports can promote peace and development

Kofi Annan introduced the idea of the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace in 2001, when he nominated a special advisor for this new initiative. This man was Adolf Ogi, the former President of the Swiss Confederation. Annan believed that sports was integral to a person’s health, and to tackling social issues like HIV/AIDs, education, and gender equality.

Establishing the UN Inter-Agency Task on Sport for Development and Peace

After introducing the idea of sports promoting peace and development, Annan started the UN Inter-Agency Task on Sport for Development and Peace to organize funds, resources, programs, and to work with other non-profit groups that use sports for social development. In 2002, the agency held its first meeting during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. At that meeting, the group aimed to find ways to coherently use sports in peace building programs, and how to inspire Governments and sport-related organizations to get involved in the sports for social change initiative.

The Report on Sports for Development and Peace

In 2003, Kofi Annan published the report by the UN Inter-Agency Task on how sports could help the UN achieve its Millennium Development Goals (click here to find out what the 8 goals are). The report concluded that sports at all levels was a effective and economical way for the United Nations to achieve its Millennium Development Goals.

International Year of Sport and Physical Education

In 2003, the United Nations through Resolution 58/5 declared 2005 to be the International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE 2005). The aim of the resolution was to allow people to learn about the power of sports for social change, and inspire them to share their knowledge with others. It also hoped to create more environments where projects and organizations could use sports for development and peace.

Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group (SDP IWG)

In 2004, the SDP IWG was established. The group aims to convince national governments to implement the recommendations by UNOSDP.

New Special Advisor

At the end of 2007, Adolf Ogi’s term as special advisor comes to an end. He was replaced by Wilfried Lemke.