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Sports play important role in addressing societal challenges – UN envoy


By Sadiya Hamza
UNITED NATIONS – Mr Wilfried Lemke, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace,  on Monday stressed that sports play important role in addressing many challenges in the society.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that April 6, is the United Nations’ International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

It is a day set aside to recognise the power of sport in promoting peace and erasing cultural barriers worldwide.

Speaking on the second annual International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in New York, Lemke said, “sport has established itself as effective tool for development and peace building.

“As we are moving to a new set of sustainable development goals for the post-2015 development agenda, we have to make sure that sport keeps playing its beneficial role in it.”

Lemke works for the Secretary-General as an advocate, facilitator and representative of sport’s social impact in a development context.

He said the Day’s tagline is “United action towards sustainable development for all through sport.

“It has been through systematic cooperation that we have been able to make sport and physical activity accessible and inclusive to millions of people of all ages and abilities worldwide.

“Let us work together to make the most use of the great potential that sport has for advancing positive social change all over the world,” he said.

He encouraged stakeholders to join efforts to firmly place sport in policies and programmes relating to education, health, development and peace consolidation.


Lemke called for celebration of the International Day by hosting activities around the world that commemorate the accomplishments of sport in improving the lives of many people all over the world.

NAN reports that the Day was set aside to raise awareness of the ideal position sport has to contribute towards the United Nations’ objectives for development and peace.

The adoption of the Day signifies the increasing recognition by the United Nations of the positive influence sport can have on the advancement of human rights, social and economic development.

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace promotes healthy lifestyles and further emphasises the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) focus on giving as many people as possible access to sport.


It will be recalled that the IOC and UN have a long-standing commitment to using sport as a tool for social change, and have worked together on many projects over the years.

Both organisations have used sporting events such as the Olympic Games, to bridge cultural understanding and improve education, health, economic and social development.

On Aug.  23, 2013, the UN proclaimed that the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace should be celebrated on April 6 each year.
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The date also marks the opening of the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. (NAN)
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