United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace

02/24/2014 11:00

Sport is irrefutably one of the world’s most popular activities. It is often described as a universal language that can connect and unite groups and communities. Sport has the capacity to empower individuals, and bring one’s moral values to the forefront. In addition, sport has the power to draw large audiences. This enables sport to play a strategic role in transferring life skills and communicating useful and encouraging messages on important issues, thus driving social change.


For these reasons, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP). The adoption of the International Day was a special moment in my mandate as Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace. It has long been a priority of mine to promote awareness of the use of sport as a tool for development and peace. On this day, the General Assembly invites States, the United Nations system, relevant international organizations, international, regional and national sports organizations; civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector; and all other relevant stakeholders to collaborate, observe and raise awareness of the IDSDP.


This declaration acknowledges the potential for sport to contribute to the advancement of human rights and development, eradication of barriers, and promotion of solidarity around the world. It also highlights the importance of collaboration in the field of SDP.  Partnerships, small and big, at all levels, brought SDP to the global agenda and will continue to strengthen future work within the field. This new commemoration on the international calendar will further promote the value of sport as a catalyst for development and peace.


I am a strong believer in the quote: “Action speaks louder than words.” I sincerely believe that our activities should, at all times, be solution-oriented. During my career, I have been blessed with the opportunity to observe firsthand the strength sport has in uniting people, raising awareness and resources, and inspiring individuals, particularly youth. I have witnessed the impact of SDP projects and activities around the world. During my missions I see global progress made using sport to foster development, peace and conflict resolution. This first annual International Day will help to acknowledge and realize the enduring effects that sport can have on developing and/or divided communities and nations. I hope that these initiatives will not go unobserved, but will be celebrated through this Day and have a continued positive legacy within society.


I would like to thank ICSSPE and the contributing authors for putting together this special edition dedicated to the IDSDP, thus raising awareness, inspiring innovative ideas and, most importantly, inciting action.


Wilfried Lemke


Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace



Eric Dienes | dienesun.org