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IDSDP: What about economic development and disaster response?

IDSDP: What about economic development and disaster response?

sportanddev highlights two key themes missing in the build-up to the first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

The benefits from sport are plenty: sport bridges barriers, promotes health and gender equality and makes us move in so many ways. The United Nations Office on Sport for development and Peace highlights some of the capacities of sport for development to initiate change in their five key messages.

The reasons for leading change through sport and development are many. However, there are two additional messages to complement those highlighted by the UNOSDP, which are crucial in the S&D sector and worthy of equal consideration.

The power of sport to promote economic development
Economic development promoted through S&D initiatives is increasingly being considered as a means to reduce youth unemployment, reduce dependency and promote economic enfranchisement in developing countries, and is a growing and increasingly influential part of the sector.

Organisations like Bicycle Relief strike a balance between promoting sustainable healthy activities and promoting employment in the community. Kate Anderson from the Rock climbing Association for Development (RAD) explains, “RAD supports sport as a powerful tool for rural economic development because quality climbing routes attract tourists to zones beyond the usual holiday destinations such as our project in Lebanon. Climbers stay at hotels or campsites and go out for meals, improving locals’ livelihoods and presenting to youth a viable alternative to urban migration. Rest day activities can boost other areas of tourism such as sightseeing.”

Economic development should be an integral cornerstone of S&D.

The power of sports in post-disaster situations
Sport is being used to address the social and emotional needs of people in post-disaster situations. Sport increases the coping-capacities of those affected and can help heal a community. Various organisations use sport both in post-conflict and post-disaster situations.

The Swiss Academy for Development has led various initiatives in this context, using sport as a psychosocial intervention in Bam, Iran following the 2003 earthquake, and in post-conflict South Sudan, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. Sport can be an integral part of the long term approach promoting interaction and re-establish normalcy in the lives of those affected by disasters or conflict.

Looking beyond key messages
It is important to take key messages, such as those promoted by the UNOSDP, into consideration in advance of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. However, you should not feel limited or excluded if your interests are not represented. Simply asking yourself and organisation what does sport for development mean to you, can be a lead to discovering new areas of focus which are not highlighted but still make a meaningful difference. We invite you to make a contribution on what the day means to you, by sharing your initiatives here.


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Pia Grochowski


Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 09:00