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International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
Sport as a Fundamental Right
The right of access to, and participation in, sport and play has long been recognised in a number of international conventions. In 1978, UNESCO described sport and physical education as a “fundamental right for all.” But until today, the right to play and sport has too often been ignored or disrespected.
Sport as a Powerful Tool
Sport has a unique power to attract, mobilize and inspire. Sport plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts. Sport is a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and networks, and to promote ideals of peace, fraternity, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice.
- Individual development.
- Health promotion and disease prevention.
- The promotion of gender equality.
- Social integration and the development of social capital.
- Peace building and conflict prevention/resolution.
- Post-disaster/trauma relief and normalisation of life.
- Economic development.
- Communication and social mobilisation.
Sport and Peace
Sport as a universal language can be a powerful tool to promote peace, tolerance and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions. Its intrinsic values such as teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent and the rules of the game are understood all over the world and can be harnessed in the advancement of solidarity, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.
Sport programmes permit encounters on neutral territory and in an environment where aggression can be controlled, regulated and transformed and hence facilitates rapprochement and reconciliation between opposing parties.
Although sport alone cannot stop or solve an acute conflict, it represents a flexible and cost-effective medium for post-conflict relief work and peace building as well as conflict prevention.