Ban Ki-moon emphasises the importance of sport to the sustainable development agenda
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Secretary-General's remarks at high level event entitled "United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport".

Thank you for joining us to celebrate the Second International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

I am delighted to welcome the presidents of the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, Dr Thomas Bach and Sir Philip Craven. They are steadfast partners of the United Nations.

I also want to express my appreciation to my special adviser on sport for development and Peace, Mr Wilfried Lemke. Through his efforts, including the Youth Leadership Programme, he has enabled many young people to drive change. Thank you very much.

I would also like to pay tribute to the distinguished athletes Ms Billie Jean King and Dr Cheri Blauwet who are with us today. Your extraordinary successes and unique contributions to sport are an inspiration to us all.

As you know, in August 2013, the General Assembly established April 6 as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace to commemorate the first opening of the Olympic Games in 1896.

I also commend the enormous contribution of the many athletes and sports personalities who are working as UN goodwill ambassadors.

This year we are encouraging all sportsmen and women to throw their energy into advocating the new sustainable development agenda of the United Nations.

Sport plays an important role in society. It encourages individuals to take on challenges, build strong relationships and strive with others towards shared goals.

It can help keep kids in school, promote leadership skills and healthy lifestyles, and empower marginalised people.

And at times of conflict and unrest, sport can help provide victims with space to heal and grow.

I am grateful to the special envoy on Youth Refugees and Sport, Jacques Rogge – although he is not here - for the work that he is doing for the growing numbers of displaced young people. Sport has an important role to play in helping to restore some degree of normalcy to their lives.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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