Beyond Sport 2015 set to draw attention to sport’s role in addressing the refugee crisis
According to the UNHCR, there are now almost 60 million refugees worldwide – an all-time high. Most are fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Large numbers of people have been displaced by the war in Syria in particular, with four million leaving the country and seven million internally displaced. A large increase in the number of people trying to reach Europe in 2015 has led to the refugee crisis hitting global headlines.
Beyond Sport has announced that it is launching an initiative as part of the response. The initiative will gather major stakeholders in sport and development at their 2015 summit, taking place on 20-21 October in London, to discuss how sport can be better used to support refugees and displaced people globally.
Representatives from NGOs, intergovernmental agencies, businesses, sports clubs, governing bodies and grassroots organisations will discuss the the opportunities for sport and development to contribute to the international community’s efforts to act on the events of the ongoing refugee crisis. Recommendations on specific actions to take forward will be presented to the summit at the close of the event.
Beyond Sport’s announcement is the latest in a series of actions which has seen sport play a very public and important role in responding to the refugee crisis. Football fans have welcomed refugees at stadiums, clubs and federations, who have in turn, donated money and established new projects using sport with refugees to aid their integration into society.
For a long time, projects using sport to work with refugees have formed an important part of the sport and development sector, and sport’s versatility enables it to be used in a variety of contexts. Sport has been used for addressing trauma in refugee camps, for providing education, for promoting integration and for combatting racism.
Coordinated responses and the sharing of expertise are crucial in effectively addressing global crises. sportanddev.org is looking forward to being at the Beyond Sport Summit to hear what recommendations are put forward.
[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]