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Closing UNOSDP is Guterres’ worst mistake

Copyrights: Roger Rondón

Closing UNOSDP is Guterres’ worst mistake

This article explores the diplomacy of sport and its role in nation-building.

Sport can be a generator of soft power in a world more dominated by hard power. The principles behind idealism can help forge a strong counter-position with sports for this global political awakening of realism and the fears that the collective suffering have brought to everyone. Directly and indirectly the Syrian war, the refugee crisis, the extreme radicals affect us all.

If sport has played a role in softening diplomatic relationships such as the famous ping-pong diplomacy between the United States and China, if it has been able to create social cohesion as when Mandela understood the importance of using rugby, then the timing couldn’t be better for institutions such as the United Nations to use sport as a tool for embracing the very best of humankind at all levels.

It’s time for stakeholders involved within sports – athletes, sport managers, leaders of sport organisations – to influence politicians and social leaders for the use of sport as never before to bring out its potential of unity, excellence, teamwork, respect and perseverance. And it needs to be done at the elite level all the way to the grassroots level.

The role of international sport organisations and the benefit of sport, development and peace

It is important for Guterres, leaders of international sport organisations and head of states to understand that sport has the ability to trickle down to the outer circles of exclusion where sport for development and peace does most of its work, with the most disenfranchised communities. Also, the use of non-sport activities is part of the strategy used in sport for development and peace to bring back excluded citizens, strengthening social capital.

Governments now have to think more creatively about sport development. Sport leaders have to know a great deal more than just the organisations they oversee because they face the same issues, challenges and threats that governments do. They can benefit by learning from the experience that makes it possible to enter circles that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible, but sport for development has opened those doors.

Using UNOSDP to create a world peace-building movement

Developed nations that are part of multilateral organisations, those who have suffered from attacks during their mega sporting events, should place the same sport policy importance to initiatives such as the ones offered by the UNOSDP that can truly become tools of soft power for the betterment of the international community. If sports became a pivotal actor in many instances for nation-building during the 20th century, it is time now that sport becomes a world peace -building movement for the remaining of the 21st century. For this to happen every stakeholder in the sector, beginning with Guterres, the international sport organisations and heads of state, should look beyond their personal agendas and egos, and think for the collective interest of all to learn what the field of sport for development and peace has achieved, and reinstate the UNOSDP.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 18:14