Leveraging sport for sustainable development at the United Nations
Sport remains a firm fixture on the UN agenda. In the past two years, UN entities and other intergovernmental stakeholders have taken bold actions to promote attention to sport as a platform and a catalyst for sustainable development. Just last year, Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, issued a report to the UN General Assembly that outlined the growing attention to sport for development across the UN system, sporting community, and among Member States.
UNDESA is excited to team up with international players charged to move forward on the agenda of sport for development and peace (SDP). As of 2017, DESA has been playing an integral role in supporting Member States to move the agenda forward. Our work has focused on drawing the attention of Member States to the various tracks of engagement on sport for development and peace and supporting the mainstreaming of these tracks into relevant intergovernmental discussions in the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and its advisory bodies, and in the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development.
Guiding the UN dialogue on sport for development, and the policies it engenders, are recently established frameworks of action aimed at exploring the benefits that sport has to offer for realising the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. At the forefront, are the Kazan Action Plan adopted at MINEPS VI in 2017
2, and the World Health Organization's Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (2018-2030) (GAPPA)
3. Central to these frameworks is the prioritisation of a range of SDGs and related targets to which sport and physical activity make – or have the potential to make – a significant contribution.
These two frameworks have gained much traction among stakeholders within and beyond governments. Realising their full potential requires coherent and collaborative action within and beyond the UN system. Recognising this, the UN Secretary-General last year put forward an update to the United Nations Action Plan on Sport for Development and Peace that proposes using the overarching policy commitments of the Kazan Action Plan as a basis to align work streams on sport policy, sport for development and peace and sport integrity across the UN system.
The General Assembly of the United Nations has endorsed and encouraged this approach.
In December 2018, the General Assembly adopted by consensus resolution A/73/24, "Sport as an enabler of sustainable development."
5The resolution welcomes the growing attention by the international community to exploring and leveraging the role of sport and physical activity to attain development objectives and the enjoyment of human rights. It calls upon Member States, with the support of the United Nations system, to explore ways and means to integrate sport into various development objectives and encourages stakeholders to draw on the Kazan Action Plan and GAPPA to advance the consolidation of sport in cross-cutting development and peace strategies.
The resolution also called upon the relevant entities of the UN system to strengthen and systemise interagency collaboration in line with the updated United Nations Action Plan on Sport, to maximise the potential of sport and physical activity to contribute to the achievement of international agreed development goals.
DESA is pleased to take on this challenge. We look forward to all the strides we will make, together with colleagues across the UN-System and the wider Sport for Development and Peace community to ensure that we use every opportunity to draw on sport’s contribution to sustainable development.
For more information:
Melissa Martin: [email protected]
Division for Inclusive Social Development
Department of Economic and Social Affairs | United Nations
1For further reading on expanding intergovernmental dialogue and growing convergence on policy and action on sport for development, see United Nations Document A/73/325 available here in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.
2The Kazan Action Plan is available here in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.
3More information on the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030 is available here in English, Portuguese and Russian.
4The updated United Nations Action Plan on Sport for Development and Peace is outlined in United Nations Document A/73/325 available here in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.
5United Nations General Assembly Resolution, A/73/24 is available here in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.