United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged everyone involved in the sport sector to help advance climate action, combat discrimination and prejudice, and ensure that global sporting events leave a positive legacy.
In a message commemorating International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, he highlighted the power of sport to bring people together, promote healthy lifestyles, and contribute to inclusive and sustainable development.
“Those involved in sport also have responsibilities: to reduce its environmental footprint; to meet international labour standards; to fight discrimination and prejudice of all kinds; to reject corruption; and to ensure that major global events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which bring the world together, leave a positive legacy”, Guterres said.
The UN chief also noted that while the COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges to the sector, sport can contribute to a “safe and sustainable recovery”.
“Workers, fans and athletes have felt the pain of absence, of lost revenue and of dreams deferred”, Guterres noted.
“But many competitions and leagues have found new ways to create opportunities for community and joy despite the crisis … as vaccines spread hope and spectators begin to return to arenas, the world of sport has crucial contributions to make in forging a safe and sustainable recovery”, he said.
The Secretary-General added that the UN looks forward to continuing to work with sportspeople and organizations around the world to advance climate action and to promote peace, human rights and sustainable development.
“We will play and cheer again when everyone is safe from the pandemic.”
The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, commemorated annually on 6 April, was established by the United Nations General Assembly in August 2013, to highlight the importance of sport for promoting peaceful societies and healthy lifestyles.
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Day was marked mainly through online and social media events, around the theme of recovery from the pandemic, and the need to build back better for a more resilient and equitable world.