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Sport and the post-2015 development agenda


Sport and the post-2015 development agenda

In response to the recent UN report, this article highlights the potential for sport to play a role in the ongoing discussions.

On 30 May 2013, the UN High-Level Panel published its current thoughts on the direction the conversation about the post-2015 development goals should take. It argues that the post-2015 agenda needs to be driven by “five big, transformative shifts”. While sport will never solve the world’s problems, it can – when accompanied by other factors – make a valuable contribution to this process.

1. Leave no one behind
Sport is a fantastic way to bring people together and promote inclusion. There are numerous examples of it being used, for example, to integrate migrants into societies where they feel marginalised, educate men about gender-based violence or improve the self esteem and standing in society of disabled people.

2. Put sustainable development at the core

The importance of environmental protection and sustainability can be emphasised through sport-based public education campaigns. On a local level, sport-based social mobilisation initiatives can enhance participation in community action to improve the local environment. The sports industry itself needs to move in the direction of environmental sustainability and a number of initiatives are acting towards this objective.

3. Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth

Many people involved in sport, including participants, volunteers and coaches, acquire transferrable skills which are useful for increasing employability. Jobs and skills development are created by sport programmes. Sport can help prevent illness that prevent people from working and impose health care costs on individuals already living in poverty.

4. Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all

At the grassroots or community level, sport can provide a useful way to create an environment in which people, often from opposing ‘sides’ of a conflict, come together to work towards the same goal, show respect for others and share space and equipment. It can help reconstruction by promoting a cohesive national unity when, for example, a national team competes in a football tournament.

5. Forge a new global partnership

Sport for development and peace efforts catalyse global partnerships and increase networking among governments, donors, NGOs and sport organisations worldwide. The Australian Government, for example, has forged many partnerships with NGOs and sport organisations, emphasising sport as a key part of its development strategy.


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Paul Hunt


Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 23:00