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International Youth Day and sport

Copyrights: Wikimedia Commons: Sgt. Catherine Threat

International Youth Day and sport

Sport and development programmes can play an important role in enabling young people to become leaders.

August 12 marks International Youth Day. The United Nations General Assembly declared the international day in 1999, and since then increasing attention has been brought to youth’s role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The theme this year will be “celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.”

The UN's World Programme of Action for Youth includes sport as one of the conditions of social progress for youth. It recognises the importance of “sports activities to improve the living standards of young people in both rural and urban areas”.

Sport can indeed play an important role in child development and health. It can also give youth the confidence and skills to become leaders. Learning these skills  can open doors and lead to further opportunities in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Organisations like ENGSO Youth bring attention to youth’s role in sport and development. Their General Assembly in June gathered young leaders in sport and focused on a vision for the future.

The UNESCO Youth Forum on 25 - 26 October will tackle a range of topics. Three important global objectives of its past forums have been:

  1. To strengthen knowledge-building and management on youth issues
  2. To foster the development of policies and frameworks to address youth issues
  3. To promote youth participation in decision-making, youth civic engagement and social inclusion

Sport has an important role to play in these objectives, notably in engaging young leaders. UNESCO also highlights sport as a driver toward SDG 4, which advocates for quality education.

Youth sport programmes can encourage involvement at the community level, promote active learning and build leadership skills. 

  • How are you celebrating International Youth Day? Let us know about your youth-based sport initiatives at


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Friday, August 11, 2017 - 16:34