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2019 survey results: The broader sport and development sector

Copyrights: Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations

2019 survey results: The broader sport and development sector

This third article presenting the feedback from sportanddev's 2019 annual survey shares sportanddev users' views on the broader sport for development sector.

The International Platform on Sport and Development (sportanddev) has conducted its 2019 annual survey in order for us to better serve our users and provide insights into the state of sport and development. The results are illuminating across many areas - we produced an article with insights related to the role of sportanddev and a second article on recommendations for sportanddev.

This article contains insights related to broader aspects of sport and development, including how users view the future of this emerging field, what they believe constitutes ‘sport and development’ and the extent to which it can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sport and development – where are we going?

We asked respondents for their views on the future of sport and development. Over 91% of users felt very or mostly positive about the future of sport and development. However, again respondents urged caution in exaggerating the benefits of sport and stressed the importance of learning and collaboration with other development sectors. A clear theme that emerged was the need to professionalise the sector, both in terms of best practices and robust research and evaluation.

What is sport and development?

In addition, we asked respondents what they consider sport and development to be. The results showed that there are clear differences of opinion around what constitutes sport and development.

  • Over 6% of users consider sport and development to be a stand-alone sector
  • Over 22% of users consider sport and development to be a movement
  • Over 15% of users consider sport and development to be a methodology
  • Over 13% of users consider sport and development to be a set of practices
  • 38% of users consider sport and development as all of the above (4% said none of the above)

Certain respondents emphasised that it is not a stand-alone sector as it works towards development outcomes in other sectors, while some felt that it has established itself as a sector in its own right. Others argued that it is better seen as a sub-sector of international development and/or sport. Some respondents felt that it needs further work to become a fully-fledged movement, and there was feedback around the terminology of sport and development versus sport for development – and this is a topic that we will explore more, as there is a range of terms and concepts to describe this field.

How much can sport contribute to the SDGs?

We asked survey respondents to comment on the extent to which sport and development can contribute to the SDGs, which is pertinent given that these goals drive the global development agenda.

Over 79% of users felt that sport could contribute "a lot" to the SDGs, unsurprisingly reflecting positive views of the potential impact of sport. However, a number of respondents indicated the need to think critically about sport and recognise that it does not automatically contribute positively to the SDGs – while it may be a useful vehicle, this may be dependent upon factors outside sport.

We asked respondents to select the five SDGs that they thought sport could have the biggest impact in addressing. The percentage of respondents who chose each SDG is illustrated in the table below.

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere


Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture 


Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages


Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls


Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all


Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all


Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all


Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation


Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries


Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns


Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development


Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss


Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels


Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development


Table: Percentage of respondents who feel sport can contribute to specific SDGs (maximum 5)

It is clear that users feel sport can have the most impact related to specific SDGs with over 60% specifying SDGs 3, 4 and 5 and 30%-60% of users specifying SDGs 10, 11 and 16. All the other SDGs received user ratings of 0%-30%, reflecting the need for a targeted approach.

For greater detail on the responses, please see the full 2019 Survey Results document here.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. We are community driven and your feedback is important to us. While we are not able to promise to implement all suggestions made – some are dependent on financial resources – we take all suggestions seriously and will carry out as many as possible. To provide feedback and/or suggestions throughout the year, please email


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Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 13:09


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