Today marks the first ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP). While sports have long been recognized as a tremendous tool for growth (especially here at S4S!), this is the first time the UN has declared a day to demonstrate how sports foster development and peace. The event has been supported worldwide, with various organizations, celebrities, nations and sporting leagues, including FIFA, championing the cause of sports for development and peace.
In UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s brief statement on IDSDP, he acknowledged several aspects of sports that serve as the foundation for our Sports for Sharing program, “We at the United Nations know that sport is a universal language, uniting groups and nations across divides. Sport empowers youth, promotes good health and deepens UN values such as equality, mutual respect and fair play. Sport helps us in spreading messages of peace, driving social change and meeting the Millennium Development Goals.”
These sentiments have been echoed by governments and NGOs (non-government organizations) alike, including the Australian based Sport Matters, which plans to lead celebrations in Sydney for the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Jackie Lauff, chief executive of Sport Matters, recently gave a radio interview discussing the origins of the the inaugural IDSDP, how sports affect communities and how this commemorative day will highlight some of the great work being done across the globe demonstrating the power of sport to improve the lives of others.
Peace and Sport has developed an online platform for the event which any person or organization can register, advocate and share their cause as it relates to promoting peace and development through sport. Their objective statement sums it up well, “To bring together and promote all the initiatives being led worldwide to celebrate sport for peace and development on 6 April.”
If you are interested in participating, following along or supporting the event, check out the SportandDev.org website, the IDSP and sportanddev Twitter handles, as well as the #IDSDP/#IDSDP2014 trends. Click here for a list of information, research, and organizations celebrating IDSDP. This event is a call to action to promote sports to build communities and peace, let’s get active!